Frugality Wise

Tips, ideas, and resources for living frugally

Fun Frugal Fitness

on April 12, 2014
Image courtesy of stockimages /

Image courtesy of stockimages /

Years ago I joined a gym. I can count on one hand how many times I actually went to the gym after joining. It was a waste of money. Fast-forward to today, and while admittedly I have an amazing fitness benefit through my employer ($500 per calendar year, which allows me to get reimbursement for gym membership fees, exercise DVDs, workout equipment, and workout clothes and accessories) I have no desire to join a gym. I guess I am not a gym person. You don’t need to spend money on an expensive gym membership to get in a good workout and stay fit. All you need is a little space, not much, to workout at home; or you can workout in the great outdoors. I exercise in my living room, and specifically bought a coffee table on wheels so it would be easy to push out of the way to give me more space to move when I do my exercises. So rather than paying for a gym membership and exercise classes, here are some frugal alternatives to staying fit.

Workout to exercise DVDs.

There are a variety of genres of exercise DVDs from step aerobics, to pilates, to yoga, to cardio dance, and pretty much any style under the sun. You will find something that suits your interest and fitness level. Personally, I love my cardio dance DVDs because it’s a fun workout without feeling like a chore, since I love to dance. I particularly enjoy the Pussycat Dolls workout, the Cardio Striptease workout, and my hip-hop dance workout, in addition to my beloved yoga. On the Amazon website, you can find good exercise DVDs for $10. In my opinion, it’s unnecessary to spend over $15 for an effective workout DVD.

Go for a brisk walk or a jog.

If it’s a nice day, put on your running shoes and go outdoors for a brisk walk or jog around your neighbourhood. The sights and sounds will keep your interest more than a treadmill. Bring an MP3 player and listen to your workout playlist to get you going. If you like company, bring a walking/jogging buddy with you – your spouse, a friend, or even your dog.

Lift some weights.

If you want to do some weight-training exercises and tone your deltoids, biceps, and triceps, you can buy a set of inexpensive weights. I bought mine at my beloved Honest Ed’s, a huge landmark discount store in Toronto. I bought 2 lbs weights there for about $5 for a pair. I also bought 5 lbs weights at Walmart for about $10 for a pair. Dumbbells are an easy way to get in some weight training and toning without using state-of-the-art resistance machines at an expensive gym.

Use gym facilities in your residential building.

If you are fortunate enough to have complimentary gym facilities in your residential building that is available for use to all tenants, then please do take advantage of this perk. While the equipment may not be state-of-the-art or plentiful, you will find exactly what you need in order to have an effective workout.

Go old-school with sit-ups, push-ups, lunges, and jumping jacks.

Remember the fitness activities you used to do in gym class growing up? Why not revisit some of these activities? Without any equipment whatsoever you can get in some strength and core training, as well as some cardio. Since you don’t require equipment or much space, you can do these exercises anywhere.

Play casual sports.

All you need is a soccer ball or a football, and a few friends or family members, in order to divide into teams and get a game going. If you keep it casual, playing sports is a good activity for any skill level. I’m not a competitive person when it comes to sports, so if you’re like me and want to keep the activity fun, you may want to avoid playing with people who have a hardcore competitive streak. Although, if you’re one of those hardcore competitors, then you should play with similarly competitive people and fight to the finish!

Find workout videos on YouTube.

YouTube is a good free source for exercise videos online that you can workout to. If you have a laptop you can exercise in any location in your house or apartment that is convenient and practical. Put the video on fullscreen on your monitor, or if you have the appropriate cables, connect your laptop to your television so you can have a bigger image.

Walk up the stairs.

Instead of using the elevator, give your legs a good workout by walking (or running) up the stairs. If you live in a multi-level house, set aside some dedicated time and go up and down the stairs repeatedly until your leg muscles feel the burn! You can also do a good targeted exercise for your calves by using just one of the stair steps. Hold on securely to the stair rail and stand on the lowest step with the balls of your feet at the edge of the step and the rest of your feet hanging over the edge of the step. Raise your heels up (like you’re wearing a pair of high heels), hold in this position for a few seconds, then lower your heels down so that they’re at a slightly lower level than the step and hold for a few seconds. Repeat, and do as many reps as desired.

Buy a Wii console and the Wii Fit, or other gaming console and exercise software. 

While this may be the most expensive option out of the tips listed here, sometimes living a frugal life involves making an initial upfront investment in order to obtain a savings benefit in the long-run. Once you own the gaming console, it will always be yours with no further payments, whereas you would be paying year after year for a gym membership. I know a few people who love working out with the Wii Fit software. I personally have the EA Sports Active software for my Wii, which has very effective exercises.  If you don’t want to spend money on a console, however, it doesn’t hurt to put out some hints to family members that you’d like it as a gift for your birthday or Christmas. Mine was a Christmas gift from my ex. (Guys may come and go, but a Wii is forever…or for a guaranteed 12 months anyway, according to the warranty!)

Additional Resources

The Simple, No-Equipment Workout You Can Do at Home

Top 25 At-Home Exercises


5 responses to “Fun Frugal Fitness

  1. Valerie says:

    I love exercise dvds, playing Wii Fit, and YouTube is AWESOME!! 😀 Great post.

    • Saundra says:

      I just recently discovered the exercise videos on YouTube, so I’m glad I have some new workout routines to try. I like variety in my exercises so I don’t get bored! Thanks so much for liking my post! 🙂

  2. I love the youtube to, you can find the same videos that they sale for high dollar for free. This is a great post…. keep them coming. I am back to walking and getting in shape.

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