Ways To Exercise For Cheap

by Millie Kay G. on April 8, 2009

Want to get fit and trim? We’ve got some weight loss tips and a few suggestions on exercising for cheap!

When it comes to exercise, I’m a bit of an underachiever. Between a busy schedule and family life, it can be hard to find the time and the willpower to feel the burn. Like a lot of people, I felt Oprah’s pain when she admitted she didn’t enjoy exercise. However, I need more exercise to stay healthy, so now’s the time to start looking for exercise equipment, clothes, and ideas that won’t make my bank account break into a sweat. Actually, most of us could use a bit more exercise, don’t you think?

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Image by Mike Pope

In my opinion, it’s a waste of time to buy equipment I’ll only use twice before shoving it into the utility room. So to save a bit of money, I plan to list the sports and activities I enjoy and forget about the things that make me grit my teeth. This would narrow down my choices to walking, biking, and weight training; I’ll skip yoga, Pilates, and golf, at least for now. Also, I shouldn’t forget to consult the doctor before starting a new exercise routine. Here are a few options I will consider to try to keep fit.


Walking is an activity we can do everyday — an activity which we can perform in a variety of ways. For instance, if you wanted to go the treadmill route, you could read user reviews before settling on one from an online retailer or local store. Also, chances are good that your network of family, friends, and neighbors has one gathering dust somewhere. So why not put out the word that you’re interested in a used treadmill and see what kind of price range you can get it for?

If your personal network can’t bring you the equipment you want, you can hit up eBay, the Sunday paper’s classifieds, or you may want to place a Want to Buy ad in the Craigslist section for sporting goods.

You could also walk at local parks with different people. Instead of meeting your friends for lunch, you could encourage them to walk with you instead. You could even pencil in regular walking times for an informal club. If the weather’s too chilly, you could walk at a mall or local shopping area (as long as you don’t stop to say hello to all the chocolate goodies along your route).

At any rate, you should clip on a pedometer to track your progress. Watch out though, as the cheap ones tend to break quickly. An Omron pedometer might be sturdy enough to survive at least a week with you.


I haven’t taken a bike anywhere in a long time, so I need a bicycle buying guide like the one from Overstock.com. If you have the same idea, and you’re shopping for a bike, then you should take another look at what WebMD has to say about them, too. You could lose weight more effectively and save money if you pick the right bike for your needs that’s also comfortable for regular use.

A trip to a sporting goods store or website like Sports Authority might give you a better notion of what kind of bikes you’d enjoy. For instance, you probably don’t need a mountain bike if you’re just tooling around town, and it’s likely that you won’t be interested in an exercise bike that takes up a lot of room.

Don’t forget that If you get an outdoor bike, you’ll need to add in the expense of a helmet and other safety gear, too.

Weight Training

Although I already have a serviceable set of dumbbells and a list of exercises, I wouldn’t mind owning another set so that family members could exercise with me. A set of adjustable dumbbells would be perfect.

One person I know prefers to do his weight training at the gym. He likes to take his headphones and watch the gym’s huge TV while he works out. A membership to the YMCA of Greater Tulsa offers amenities like exercise classes, childcare, and access to team sports, too.

Although gym membership costs tend to be discounted as people begin their New Year’s resolutions, I’d rather get a day pass to start. A day pass would give anyone the chance to try out the facilities — and enforce a commitment to continue going to the gym. But don’t sign a contract unless you know for sure that you’ll be back often.

The Exercise Wardrobe

Cheap T-shirts aren’t hard to track down, but for more exercise-related fashion ideas, I like to scan the bargains at Old Navy and REI, which seems to have a lot of bike clothing. As for keeping my feet in style, I don’t need $300 athletic shoes, so I’m glad I found Bargain Outfitters, which has shoes at reasonable prices.

So what about your favorite ways to stay fit? Share your strategies with us!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 U.S. Common Sense April 11, 2009 at 4:18 pm

There is a lot to be said for “old style” exercising. While fancy machines might make exercising more enticing, crunches and push-ups are just as effective.

2 Prune Danish May 5, 2009 at 10:39 am

Thanks for sharing these tips. I think I’m going to implement 2 of them: put a buy notice on craigslist, and also invite some friends for ‘walk dates’.

3 Travis October 5, 2009 at 10:06 am

I actually get a great sense of enjoyment from exercising, but for those who find it difficult to get the motivation, I recommend swimming in biking. Anything that puts you in a nice, outdoor setting is much likely to feel less like “exercise” as opposed to standing on a treadmill, staring at the wall in some crowded gym.

4 Ryan January 26, 2010 at 10:35 am

Great idea about going for walks with your friends instead of going for lunch. I walk my dog. My dog used to walk me. I used to walk my dog until she did her “business” and then walk home. A change in attitude resulted in me walking for at least an hour each morning. I walk for me now! And my dog is getting fitter now too! Bike riding is next – when the weather gets better. All this exercise is addicting!

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