I look at the gym like I look at diets: I hate them both. They’re good to do if you need it (and I do), but I would much rather live an active lifestyle. Exercise doesn’t have to mean spending $50 a month at the gym or half of your day on the treadmill. For most of us that live a busy, sedentary life, any movement at ALL is better than sitting in our cube, car, or bed (which probably takes up most of our lives). The important thing to remember is just to keep moving, no matter what that looks like.
Here are some ways to get off the couch or chair without breaking the bank.
1. TV exercise shows
You know you like it.
2. Couch crunches
Don’t just sit there, look like a goofball.
3. Floor exercises
Movies & TV is a great distraction while doing miserable crunches.
4. Floor stretches
Stretching is good for you. See?
5. Dance Dance Revolution
Or Wii Fit or In the Groove or Pump it Up or whatever floats your boat.
Get down with ya’ bad self. It’s good for you.
7. Hand weights
Get online instructions if you don’t know where to start. And look for them at yard sales too.
8. Fitness ball
Get instructions online, bounce around like a fool, or use it at your desk.
9. Go outside and run
Like Phoebe, if you so choose.
10. Community service
Here are some ideas. Help build a house or dig a ditch or something.
11. Local farm or Crop Mob
“What the crap is a crop mob?”, you ask? This. There are lots of local farms & co-ops to get involved in too.
12. Local park
I used to LOVE those work-out tour things at the park. Just go jump on stuff.
13. Part time job doing physical labor
Work in a cube like me? Consider getting a part time job doing something physical.
14. Drop and give me 50
No, really. Anytime you get a burst of energy, drop and do 50 crunches or whatever you prefer.
15. Walking lunges
Why walk to the kitchen like a normal person when you can look like an idiot? (and burn calories)
16. High school pools
Believe it or not, some high schools allow the general public to swim in their pools.
17. Corporate gyms
If you work at a place with a free gym, USE IT. If you’ve got a friend at a corporate gym, USE THEM. jk. sorta.
18. Apartment complex pools. Shhh…
If you live at a complex with a free pool, use that sucker. And you didn’t hear this from me, but I’ve totally swam in apartment complex pools before (and I didn’t live there. Shhhh.)
19. Friends pools
Buddy up with your friends who have pools!
20. Get a dog
Dogs are a great excuse to get outside. Just don’t forget your mom jeans.
21. Milk jug/water jug
Yep. There are even instructions.
22. Clean your house really fast
Look skinny AND have a clean house!
23. Wash your car really fast
Hey, I’m totally serious. You can really work up a sweat.
24. Strech band
You can get a fancy one, or just get some stretchy fabric from Goodwill. Instructions? Oh, yes.
25. Free tennis courts
I can just about guarantee that you have free tennis courts within a few miles of you.
26. Group jogging, or yogging
Might be a soft J. Apparently you just run for an extended period of time. But with a group! See, it’s different.
28. Video exercise libraries
There’s tons o’ good stuff in there.
29. Youtube Workouts
There are probably millions of YouTube workout videos. Here’s one, for example.
Them kids will wear you OUT…AND ya get paid.
Go make your lawn look awesome. Or, better yet, help out an old person around you.
32. Buy a treadmill
Well that doesn’t sound cheap at all! It isn’t…but with all the YMCA payments I’ve made in the past 2 years (ya know, the one I never go to because I hate driving there), I could have bought a killer treadmill. Just sayin’….
33. Chairs workouts
34. Lift heavy stuff
Ok, maybe not a car. But seriously. You don’t need a weight bench or dumbell set to “lift weights”.
Who says you need to BUY a jump rope? Use any old rope. Or better yet, don’t use a rope at all, like this chic.
36. Yard sale equipment
Most people give up on lifting weights. I bet ya’ you’ll find some good stuff in driveways on Saturday mornings.
37. Netflix workout videos
What would we do without Netflix? There’s tons o’ workout videos there.
No, really. If you’re a youngin’ like me, you might not see the benefits. But the older we get, the more challenging it gets (apparently). I balance on one leg or on hand weights all day in my cube.
39. Door jam or tree branch pull-up
Maybe not chainsaws or cats, but it gets my heartbeat pumping when I get into it.
41. Workout buddy
You don’t have to pay cash for a personal trainer. Find a workout buddy, or someone you could trade skills with. Trade training for babysitting, cooking, whatever.
42. Drink free water
Unless you live in a craphole like Florida where the tap water is literally dangerous, don’t make a habit out of drinking bottled water. Seriously, stop being a weenie. Tap water is fine.
43. Cartwheels & jump n’ jacks
You’re never too old.
44. YMCA scholarship
If you really love gyms and really can’t afford it, ask about their scholarships. It’s cheap.
45. Photo exploring
My personal favorite. Just take your camera and start walking.
46. Urban Hiking
Another personal favorite. Put some water and snacks in your backpack and just walk around a downtown all day. I did that in Europe a lot.
47. House stairs
Find excuses to go up and down the stairs, or just go up and down, and up and down.
Most high schools are happy to let folks in to run up and down the steps.
49. Join a sports team
Adult leagues are everywhere.
50. Coach a team
You may not be into playing it, but coaching is an awesome way to give back and be active.
51. Hotel gym
You didn’t hear this from me, but it may, or may not be possible to sneak in a hotel gym. OR if you’re traveling and actually staying AT the gym… yeah, that works too.
52. Play games with friends
Community and fitness all rolled up into one. Love it.
53. Take the stairs
At work or in public, say, at the mall, get in the habit of always taking the stairs. Eventually, it’ll be second nature and not a hassle.
54. Go to the mall
You don’t have to be a total mall walker geek–just go there and walk briskly. No one will know you’re broke.
Meetup with people around the city for just about any kind of activity. Check out the site.
Maybe practice in your driveway first.
57. Bike riding
A personal fond memory of mine. Take your kids bike-riding, parents!
Oh yeah, that is SO FUN.
59. Ask to borrow P90x
I may not have the cash to buy P90X but I sure do have the guts to ask to borrow it.
60. Negotiate gym rate
If you really do love the gym (I hate it), then negotiate the price- especially if you’re a student.
61. University strolls
College campuses are usually beautiful. Try something new! Walk around campus for a while.
62. Marathons/Couch to 5k
You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to run a marathon. Couch to 5k just might be your style.
63. Walk to grocery store
I had to do this all the time in Europe. Especially if you don’t need much, try taking a backpack and walking instead of driving.
64. Rearrange your room
Sounds crazy, but it’s true. Get your feng shui on and move those couches!
65. Climbing gym
Day passes are usually cheap, and it’s a ton of fun.
66. Clean out garage/attic
I’d be willing to bet that 99% of you reading this have a cluttered garage or attic. Clean that puppy out.
67. Yard sale
And after you’re done cleaning out the attic or garage, sell that junk you don’t need! I don’t care who ya’ are, I’ve been sore the day after my yard sales from all the moving.
68. Standing desk
I’m a big standing desk fan. I stand all day at work, and although it’s hard some days, it’s awesome and you burn more calories standing. Article to come soon.
69. Baby Yoga
Ok, I’m not talking about that crazy baby-swinging stuff. Just simple stretches & stuff, like this.
70. Doga (Dog yoga)
Hey, whatever floats your boat. What the crap is doga?
Coga (Cat Yoga)
Just kidding. Couldn’t resist.
71. Real yoga
I can do that.
72. Climb a tree
You’re never too old. Well…ok, 70 is the cut off.
73. Walk or stand on your tiptoes
No kidding. I do this at work. Here’s more.
No, really. It’s good for ya. And feels awesome. I jump several times a day in my cube.
75. Cubicle stretches
Don’t just sit there… streeeeetch.
76. Jump on the bed
You’re never too old. Look me in the eye and tell me you didn’t have a blast the last time you did it.
77. Walk to a restaurant
I miss this about Europe…we had to walk just about everywhere we went. By the time we walked back from the restaurant, we didn’t have that “OMG I had a food baby” feeling.
78. Transformational breathing
You may not lose weight doing this, per se, but trust me, it’s kind of amazing and SO GOOD for your body.
Won’t lose the weight for you, but try having a contest with your friends. Who can get the most steps in a week?
Bend, squat, move, stretch–all while growing your own food. I like it.
81. Fundraising walking
Burn calories and walk for a cause.
82. RUN errands (fast)
Like Supermarket Sweep, try running your errands as fast as you can. (Don’t drive fast, though).
83. Park at the back of the parking lot
You spend more time sitting in your car waiting for the slowpoke to back up. Just park in the back.
What the crap is Geo-caching? It’s like an outdoor treasure hunt. You AND your kids will love it.
85. Get off at the wrong bus stop
Do it intentionally and force yourself to walk a bit more.
87. Dance class
If you can’t dance (ahem, white people), consider being awesome and taking a dance class.
88. Batting range/golf range
Another personal favorite. It’s cheap too.
89. Clench muscles
Yep. Like Nacho Libre, just do it. Oh, and it’s also apparently kinda good for ya.
90. Gym trial memberships
If you’re interested in going to the gym but not sure if you’ll like it, try some trial memberships around town. Or… just do it for the fun of it. You didn’t hear that from me.
91. Playing catch
Another personal favorite. If you have no one to play catch with, find a kid. 99% of them are just waiting for someone to ask them.
92. Free clubs
I used to make fun of club-hoppers, but honestly, it’s kinda fun and you totally work up a sweat. Just don’t take drinks from strangers, ladies.
93. Gold Panning
Don’t judge me, but I’ve done this recently. Nice for bending, squatting, and getting out there to enjoy nature (and maybe find a nugget).
94. Chop wood
Come on, be a man. Winter’s approaching and there are plenty of old people and single people like me just wishing someone would drop off a pile of wood for our fire pit. ::hint, hint::
Most parks with lakes have canoes or kayaks for rent. I used to own one. So fun.
96. School track
Most middle and high schools have tracks around the football field and welcome visitors to use it. An interesting change of scenery, for sure.
97. Crab walk around the house
Your kids will think you’re the coolest. Or, your roommates will finally understand why you’re still single.
While you’re sitting there at the microwave or stove or TV, just do a few squats.
100. Ankle weights
My boss used to wear ankle weights to the corporate office. Awesome. Wear them all day or just during your exercises and it makes a huge difference in calorie-burning