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6 tips for frugal home workouts

By Paula Pant ·
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Posted: 2 pm ET

There are plenty of great reasons to belong to a gym or a fitness club. Some people say they feel more motivated to exercise at a gym than at home.

But what if your budget is tight and a gym membership just isn't in the cards right now? Here are six tips that can fuel your at-home (or in-neighborhood) workouts.

1. Have a great playlist

You're going to save $20 to $40 or more per month by forsaking a gym membership. Use some of that cash to amass a great playlist on your iPod or MP3 player. An energetic playlist can motivate you to exercise.

Alternately, if you have a smartphone, listen to Internet-streaming music from free apps such as Pandora or Songza.

2. Vary your routine

Doing the same exercise each morning can cause you to get bored, and your body to plateau. Vary your routine. For example, try jogging one morning, and jumping rope the next.

3. Use household objects

A set of dumbbells is fairly cheap, but if you prefer a no-cost option, use household items for weight resistance. Gallons of milk can be used as light kettlebells, while canned food can be used as very light weights.

If you need heavier weights, you might have to spend a few bucks.

4. Join a neighborhood group

You are more likely to stick with exercise if you do it in a group. Check the Meetup website for neighborhood groups that work out at local parks and other free facilities. You will make some friends and increase your motivation.

5. Reward yourself

One of the big appeals of fitness centers is their "reward" rooms. After a hard workout, you can unwind in the sauna or steam room.

You can't necessarily build a sauna in your own home, but you can find other ways to reward your body after a tough workout. Take a hot shower, or soak in the bathtub with some Epsom salt.

6. Don't skimp on shoes

You have cut every budgetary corner by saying "no" to the gym and "yes" to lifting gallons of milk. But there is one area where you absolutely should not cut corners: your shoes.

Sturdy athletic shoes are key to preventing strains and other injuries. Those injuries will be expensive to treat in the future. So remember, $100 in prevention is worth thousands of dollars in cure.

Paula Pant blogs at about creating wealth and living life on your own terms. She's traveled to nearly 30 countries, owns 5 rental units and works for herself. Follow Paula on Twitter @AffordAnything.

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May 02, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Buy exercise videos one at a time as the budget allows. Same thing for dumbbells, steps and other equipment - check garage sales! I used to go to the gym every day for many years but switched over to exercising at home or walking outdoors about 6 years ago. Exercising at home with good videos is SO easy to fit in and you don't have to worry about how you look (for the ladies). Videos are available for all levels of fitness and many are easily adaptable to working out at a higher or lower level depending on how you feel, illness or injury. I have purchased videos at big box stores on sale but usually rely on Collage Video. You can read lots of reviews and watch a preview of the workouts.

May 01, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Hi Paula,

These are cost-effective workouts. Budget-conscious individuals can adopt said guidelines. There's nothing wrong in trying to be thrifty.