Monday, October 20, 2008

Frugal Workouts

by Susan Crandell

FEELING the pinch of a sagging economy? Then you're probably taking a hard look at monthly expenses, such as gym fees. But you don't have to give up exercise completely. Fitness can be low-cost, even free.


Look for a no-frills gym
Planet Fitness ( has cardio and weight-training equipment but no classes. The fee: as little as $99 a year.

Ask for a discount-and keep asking
Most International Health, Racquet and Sports club Association (IHRSA) clubs offer price reductions several times each year. You may also be eligible for group discounts through your work, school, or association memberships, so be sure to ask.

Seek low-cost classes
Great sources for affordable exercise groups: the YMCA ( which has reduced rates for those who qualify; a community center or house of worship; or your public pool.


Repurpose your bicycle
For cut-rate cardio, put your bike's rear wheel on a training stand and create a stationary bike. Recently on eBay, a used stand went for $43.

Garden, rake, or mow the lawn
A handy activity calculator at gives the calorie burn for a number of everyday tasks. If you're raking or digging, remember to switch sides to get an even workout.

Barter for training sessions
Have a friend who's a personal trainer? Think about what you can offer in exchange for working out together: anything from building a bookcase to catering a meal to doing your trainer's taxes.

Get deals on equipment
Troll Craigslist or the classifieds for bargains. Elastic bands add resistance without subtracting dough: they're less than $15 new.

Form a workout club
Get together with two friends and work out to a DVD If you each buy one, you'll have three different workouts to rotate.

Scale some steps
Miss the StairMaster at your old gym? Make like Rocky and climb real steps-at a normal pace, you'll burn about 400 calories an hour.

Walk and talk
While you may not walk quite as fast with a friend as you would by yourself, you're likely to walk farther.

Catch a class on TV
Some popular, frequently broadcast exercise shows: Sit and Be Fit, Wai Lana Yoga, and Classical Stretch: The Esmonde Technique. See for schedules in your area.

Source: AARP Magazine - November-December 2008

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