Excercise For Free – Tips For Inexpensive Workouts

by The Happy Rock on February 6, 2008

Below is a guest post from Brooke. Brooke is a PF blogger over at Dollarfrugal.com, a site for people looking for innovative ideas and encouragement for living frugally. If you like this article, consider checking out her RSS.

Physical health is extremely important and cutting costs shouldn’t be a factor when deciding whether or not to exercise. It’s very simple to break down the ways to exercise, as there are two types of exercise: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic is anything involving cardio or an activity that raises the heart rate for a sustained period of time. Anaerobic is weight-bearing activity. Here are some kid-friendly ideas to get you started without costs:


  1. Go for a fast-paced walk or jog. Increase your distance gradually and work in speed drills every couple of days (“I’ll keep up this faster distance for two more light poles”). Once you get fast enough, your kids can probably ride their bikes at a slow enough pace to stay with you.
  2. Jump rope.workout-steps-outside.jpg
  3. Jumping jacks (if you don’t have a rope).
  4. Arrange a pickup game of football with some friends – the more competitive your friends, the better!
  5. Go for a hike at a local state park.
  6. Ride bikes with your kids on a local trail.
  7. Challenge your kids to a run at a local track. I love to challenge my son (10 years) to a 2-lap race. I run regularly, but he doesn’t understand pacing himself. He is pooped by the second lap! ½ mile! Or try teaching them about baton handoffs and see if they can accomplish a good handoff (bring a paper towel tube to practice).
  8. Do your own yardwork/housework. I never did understand how some people pay a gym membership, then pay someone to do their yardwork and housework.
  9. Stairs if you have them in your house. Try just running up and down them twice every time you would normally run up them once. Extra calories! Bleachers work well for this if you have a high school stadium nearby.
  10. Here comes the hard one – go to the mall for a walk and only window shopping. The old people must be doing it for a reason!


  1. One of the things they can’t take away from you is your body weight! Use it! Do pushups, sit ups, chin-ups on the monkey bars, squats. Be creative!
  2. Check-out a yoga video from your local library. If they don’t have videos, study yoga books (it’s just harder to study yoga books and try to pose while reading!). This suggestion is for the guys too. I’ve never felt so relaxed and strong as after a yoga session.
  3. Repetitive motions while you’re doing other things. If you’re standing at the stove, preparing food, do leg lifts. Holding a glass of water isn’t hard – until you hold it for 10 minutes. Then it’s heavy!
  4. Lift up your kids and carry them around with you. My son is small for his age, but I’m always lifting him up, just to prove to myself that I still can! It’s fun to do curls (bicep curls) holding on to him – he just giggles!
  5. Do pushups or situps every time you enter the house/leave the house or a certain room. Start with ten and build up from there. Your kids will love it!
  6. Do the same as above, but do it every hour on the hour at work. Get up from behind your desk to break the monotony.
  7. Climb a tree with your kids. If you don’t have kids, just climb a tree. Quickest way for me to feel like a kid again!
  8. Do planks, wall-sits and other isometric exercises. Isometric exercises are exercises where you are not moving, but you’re again using your body weight to stress the muscle.
  9. If you know someone that owns a construction or landscaping business, ask if they need a laborer on Saturday mornings. Money + calorie-burning = good!
  10. Do sprints at your local track or on your bike. This article has some good ideas for sprints.

As always, consult your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Tina Anderson February 14, 2008 at 4:29 pm

I already do some of these exercises, because I cannot afford to be going to the gym everyday. It is too much money and I waste too much time working out there. I am going to try and incorporate a lot more of these tips into my routine. Thanks for the suggestions!


Ben June 12, 2008 at 1:53 pm

cool article – thanks. for those of you that want a bigger challenge on the legs, try hindu squats and 1 leg squats. both are amazing at increasing muscular endurance, perfect for those cyclists out there.


Pete June 17, 2008 at 10:53 am

Great list! I’m back on a health kick starting this week, and this list will come in handy.

I played basketball last night for the first time in months, and man was I out of shape. Huffing and puffing like nobody’s business.

Here we go!


Green Fitness August 29, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Awesome list I think you really hit the nail on the head with this one. Jumping rope has now become something I love to do. I take my jump rope in the care with me ever where I go. When you get good people actually like to watch to preform this exercise.


Sarah December 23, 2008 at 5:07 pm

To add to Anaerobic #2 there are also lots of great video for yoga on youtube. If you don’t have time to go to the library this is a great alternative. It’s what I do.


Chris Altesino December 30, 2008 at 12:58 am

Good list but the other part that is even more important is motivation. It’s easy to think of a workout. It’s a question of motivation.


FRS Healthy Energy March 31, 2009 at 12:19 am

Seriously, is the barrier to exercising really the cost of it? Not to take anything away, your post is a great list of stuff you can do, but I would find it hard to believe someone is saying, “Man, walking down the sidewalk is just too expensive.”

It’s all about wanting to get your blood moving, by walking, running, swimming, playing basketball, whatever. It’s not really that much of a challenge to get outside.


Chris July 5, 2009 at 4:07 am

Very good ideas for exercising without expensive equiptment or joining a gym. The outdoor exercises are especially good.


Jared B July 9, 2009 at 5:54 pm

You are so right when you say that cutting costs shouldn’t be a factor when deciding whether or not to exercise.

This is some great FREE info that you have provided. Thanks you, you truely are helping to enrich peoples lives.


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