Podcasts and video streaming provide low-cost access to world class fitness training.

Frugal Fitness Tips: How to Work Out More for Less

Looking for fitness options that won’t drain your wallet? No need to shell out big bucks to get in shape. You can pump up your fitness for free – or very little – with these low-cost resources, which are available to anyone, anywhere. So here’s how to move more and spend less.

Try Some Backyard Fun

Kids call it playing, adults call it fitness. But either way, many old-fashioned games are great forms of exercise. Take hula hoop, now considered a staple of core-slimming workouts. In a recent study, six weeks of participation in a hula hooping program led to measurable deductions in waist and hip circumference.  And jumping rope is such good exercise that Olympic athletes include it in their training.
In fact, you don’t even need a rope – skipping down the sidewalk is good exercise, too. Use your arms to drive the movement, and vary your stride, alternately aiming for height and length.

Stream Classes

Search online to find fitness videos featuring everything from dance to yoga; you’ll be surprised at the wealth of offerings that are absolutely free. If you want something steady, celebrity trainers and virtual gyms also offer subscriptions for around $10 a month. Don’t forget podcasts – you can pop in your headphones and have your very own personal trainer ready at a moment’s notice. For safety, verify the instructor is a certified fitness professional. And here’s an added benefit: You’ll never be late again to your favorite Pilates, barre, or kickboxing class.

Discover Discount Programs

When looking for local fitness studios and classes, check for special introductory rates and look to see whether discounts are available from warehouse shopping clubs like Groupon. Community based on-demand programs like FitMob can also save you money, allowing you to take as many classes as you want from a variety of studios for one fixed rate. If you’re already in a fitness club, ask about a referral plan that rewards you for introducing new members.

Rev Up with Real-Life Challenges

Why not use the world around you as a gym, training while you take care of everyday life? Walk five flights of stair and forget the stairmaster. Use a park bench or railing and do some push-ups and planks for an upper-body workout. Close your office door and do a five-minute “deskercise” workstation workout. And next time you’re giving your child a piggyback ride, add a few squats.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.