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25 ways to exercise on the cheap
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5. "For Christmas last year I asked for exercise equipment. I received an exercise band and a fitness ball, together with instructions and sample workout. I picked up a weight bench for 50 cents at a garage sale, and my mom gave me her unused hand weights.

"Together with a treadmill I purchased on sale and workout videos picked up at garage sales, I now have a home gym that provides a full body workout. More workout routines can be obtained from the library any time I get bored."

6. "Run a want ad in a local Sunday newspaper for your preference in used exercise equipment. I'm sure you will find an enormous selection of near-new equipment of nearly any type.

"Oftentimes you can find really good stuff for less than the cost of a couple of months of a health-club membership."

Don't be a stranger to familiar places
What's in your neighborhood? If you live close to a park, school campus, community center, resort or farm, you might have some untapped exercise resources. Here's how our readers made use of their surroundings.

7. "Go to your local community center. Diabetes and heart disease are in the news so much they are putting together initiatives to help us keep them manageable and in check. As a result, they are offering lots of programs involving nutritional planning and exercise for free.

"Also check out your medical coverage. Blue Cross Blue Shield has an 'Eat Well for Life' program I am taking part in as an employee of Pittsburgh Public School. The nutritional planning and cooking classes are free."

8. "Exercise DVDs are available for rental, for a week, at my local library. There are all types from Tae Bo to tai chi. I can experience a different workout every week for free."

9. "We join water-aerobics classes at the local high school pool. That way, we don't need to join an expensive gym and we save on fuel consumption since the classes are very close to home."

10. "I moved to a farm and now I don't need to go to a gym. There is so much work to do and it gives you a feeling of accomplishment while you exercise. Maybe people could find a farm to volunteer at and they may even get paid with produce."

11. "Local park district programs offer some outstanding classes for the wintertime. The cost is between $5 and $9 per session. The programs offered near my home are aerobics, Pilates and yoga.

"When the weather is better, nothing beats taking your two-wheel bike out for a 30-minutes-to-an-hour ride. Walking is also great -- in inclement weather there is always an inside mall."

Next: "Don't despair: You already live in a potential gym."
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