Free Places to Workout – 50 Cheap Ways to Get Healthy and Stay Healthy

3 people sitting together with white gymshoes on their feet.

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There are free places to workout all around us if you just know where to look. We looked to our Facebook friends and learned about dozens more that we’d never hear of.

If you’re looking for “free exercise near me,” we’ve got lots of ideas.

It’s time to get more exercise for less.

Get Healthy Stay Healthy for Less this Year!

We all know that to get healthy and to stay healthy, a regular exercise routine is a must. Our doctors recommend it and our friends encourage it. Of course, thousands of health clubs, gyms, and exercise equipment sellers promote the benefits of exercise.

Exercising to stay healthy is not only good for us, but it is a HUGE part of our economy. The amount we spend at gyms and health clubs in the US is close to $22 billion per year. However, only about 10% of the people actually use their memberships.

And that total doesn’t include the money spent on home gym equipment – about $13 billion each year. Unfortunately, much of that equipment gathers dust and is sold each year at garage sales. The good thing is that you can pick up bargains on used workout equipment.

In years past, Steve paid for a gym membership to play racquetball twice each week. He negotiated a good deal and it cost about $200 each year.

But as time went on and age crept up on his shoulders and knees he relinquished his gym membership. Now we work out together in a backyard gym of a friend. Our goal to stay healthy, fight back the pounds and keep our body parts from falling off.

How can we get healthy through exercising without spending a fortune doing it?

We brainstormed several ideas and posed this question to our Facebook fans. They expanded our list of ways to stay trim with a trimmed down price tag. Some are free places to workout, others have a small price tag.

A few “get healthy stay healthy” tips before we start our list.

  1. Remember to hydrate-we always bring a water bottle with us when we work out.
  2. Monitor your heart rate. Just be careful not to overexert we want you around for a long time.
  • We follow a Weight Watchers guide for physical activity:
    • Low: talk and sing while you do it
    • Medium: talk but can’t sing
    • High: it’s just enough to breathe

3. Do what is sustainable – we want to establish a workout habit, don’t just be a one-day wonder. Start slowly and be consistent. Over time increase your time, distance or weights as you get stronger.

Walking – Pretty much free exercise

Skip the gym membership—walking is free, and if you can walk in your neighborhood, really the only “equipment” you need is a decent pair of sneakers. Linette Winsor Stevens

1.     Walk with your toddler in a stroller in your neighborhood if it’s safe.

2.     Walk to the neighborhood park — we do this and fill bag holders with recycled grocery bags for picking up doogie doo.

3.     Walk at the local zoo or botanical garden

4.     Walk at a mall indoors – great for cold winters or hot summers.

5.     Walk at your kids’ sports activities – while they practice – we did this during our son Joe’s baseball practices . . . and found lots of “lost” baseballs too.

6.     Walk and chat with a friend.

7.     Hiking city parks – lots of opportunities.

8.     I splurged on an mp3 player to keep me company while I walk.  Susan Howell

9.     Walk a dog at your local animal shelter. I appreciate the dog walkers at my shelter as it provides stimulation for the dogs as well. Vivian Hemme

10.   Leslie Sanson’s Walking DVDs are inexpensive on Amazon but are also available for free at the library or on YouTube. Kathy Thompson

11.   I recommend walking 35 minutes a day. Rebecca Sharp

Walk, Run and Climb – Free Places to Workout

12. High school Track & Bleachers Many high schools (and Community Colleges) allow the public to access to their track for jogging or running, and running up and down any bleachers is a great training routine and another great way to get healthy! Ruth Ohlemeyer

Use a Fitbit

We absolutely love our Fitbits! They are motivating us to walk more than we ever have! And if you have friends that also use them, you can add them to a friend list. Everyone becomes more motivated to exercise! One fee upfront for the device, and years of better fitness. This company has great customer service as well!

Chores – pretty much free exercise too

13. Work in the garden planting, weeding and snacking on what you’ve grown. Your backyard can be a source of free places to workout.

14. Yard work—Trimming trees, raking or shoveling snow.
If you doubt it, read this article on TheSpruce.com

15. Cleaning windows, doing yard work such as pulling weeds. Rosi Rosi

Video Workouts – inexpensive to free

16. Youtube videos have been wonderful for me when I need some inspiration and a free place to work out. Sheri McDonald Hepworth, Moe Bruns, Linnie Montgomery Cunningham, Sarah Philibert

17. Youtube has Richard Simmons videos that I love. Amanda Barrett

18. Blogilates is on Youtube. Cassey Ho’s workouts are Totally Free. She has more than 4 million followers on YouTube.

Her workouts require almost no equipment. She also has a huge variety of videos so you can find workouts that work for you. The beginner’s videos are terrific. All free. But having a mat helps and you can find those for $10 or so. Nicole McCall

19. Netflix and Hulu both have workout shows. JimnLori Payer

20. I use workout DVD’s purchased online. Colleen Van Houten Serrada

21. Amazon PRIME!! You can pick from dozens of videos to try on yoga, Pilates, meditation, walking, Zumba . . . and lots of other different techniques. Fatima Ellis

22. Many libraries lend DVDs-they are a great way to try different things at home. De Keimach

23. Borrow DVD videos from a friend. Many times people get bored with the same routine so they might be kind enough to say “keep it”. Cassandra De Leon-Lopez

24. I have gotten DVDs for a quarter at the church thrift shop. Judy Pariser Scharf

25. Videofitness.com: the consumer guide to exercise videos is a website where you can swap DVDs and some people give away DVDs they no longer want. You only pay postage. I do pay for my yoga classes because we always learn something new and the instructor comes around to check your form. Judy Pariser Scharf

Editors’ Note: We’ve reviewed this site and it is more of a referral site than a site to watch exercise videos for free. They do have a list of exercise videos that are available on Netflix. Other than that, you won’t be able to watch any videos for free on this site. It’s also very hard to navigate.

26. Morning stretching exercises. There are several good videos & books. YouTube is a wonderful source for exercise ideas. I have a set of small weights I have had for years, that are good for indoor exercises. Glynis Buschmann.

27. Classical Stretch workouts that are broadcast on PBS stations. You can also watch her workouts for free on YouTube. Julie Franco

28. Jump rope at home. Jumping jacks. Squatting. Planking during commercials is all great ways to “get healthy stay healthy.” Rosi Rosi

29. I just bought 2 Yoga DVDs at an estate sale for $2 each. Beth Nonnymouse

30. There are oodles of workout routines and get “healthy stay healthy” tips on Pinterest. Most pins lead to actual blogs/websites geared toward healthy living and exercise. This is a great resource for free places to workout. Jen Lowman

Group Activities – usually moderate to inexpensive

31. Join recreational sports league – softball, volleyball or soccer.

32. Go dancing – Irish cultural center, swing dancing, western dancing, ballroom dancing – host your own dance nights

33. YMCA Silver Sneakers program – discounted membership for seniors.

34. Community centers / Senior centers for inexpensive yoga, dance, and aerobics.

35. Many Churches have exercise classes / Pilates, yoga, aerobics classes – inexpensive.

36. Your local Parks and Rec is inexpensive and you make friends to exercise together with. Sue Micetic

37. For military folks, your local base is a great resource- free or almost to use the gym, workout classes, and military personnel are so very willing to help or give pointers.  Ruth Ohlemeyer

38. I canceled cable so the only way I can watch the shows I like when they air live is to go to a gym and watch it there – while on the treadmill. I can go to a nearby military base gym for free. There are many options for free places to workout.

39. Here in Australia, there are community outdoor gyms in most of the parks, they’re free to use. There are also lovely local walking/running tracks about as well. Stacey Harrington

40. Workout with a Friend – Buddy up with someone who wants the same. You can encourage & inspire each other!! Mary Hallett

41. Barter: I fell in love with CrossFit but couldn’t afford a membership. The owners of a local CrossFit gym were awesome and let me barter membership for cleaning the gym three times a week. It sounds crazy but…I really enjoy CrossFit! Juliann Mortensen Davidson

Fitness Equipment – Inexpensive to Free

42.  Get a fitness tracker to monitor your heart rate and calories burned. Steve likes his FitBit Charge 2 and wears it all the time.

43. Pedometer or a phone app  (ILoveFreeSoftware.com rates 5 fitness apps for your phone)

44. A stepper. Only cost around forty bucks, or less at a garage sale, and step while watching a show or movie.  Rosi Rosi

45. We Subscribe to Facebook online yard sales. I got a nearly new treadmill for $100. DB Woodcrafters  Read about it here: http://dailysavings.allyou.com/2014/07/09/facebook-online-yard-sale/

46. Look for used fitness equipment through Craigslist. Joseph Chang

47. I listen to Pandora (Ad-free) & use some dumbbells at home! Virginia Morgan Hanson

48. I workout on my back patio – I have a stationary bicycle and some Kettlebells. Most days, I only need one Kettlebell. All I need is about 4 circuits of 5 to 7 minutes each. Kettlebell workout ideas are on Pinterest. I listen to podcasts as I workout. 30 minutes and I’m done. The Classical Unschooler

49. Buy exercise equipment used from CraigsList or Play It Again Sports – don’t pay retail. Use it for a while and then resell it. Steve once bought an inversion table for $60 on CraigsList and used it for several months. Once his back condition improved, he sold it for $100 right before Christmas! Steve & Annette

50. Use canned food as free weights for your arms. Sterling Maia

We are so impressed with the creativity and the discipline of our frugal friends.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to get healthy, and staying healthy doesn’t have to take you far from home either.

If you want to exercise for less this year start looking around you. You’ll be surprised at all of the free places to workout that you can find. 

If you think of other inexpensive or free places to workout that we didn’t include in this article (like riding your bike instead of driving a car for short errands), please share your ideas below – we love learning from you all!

For other great money saving tips around the home, visit our money saving tips page!

50 Ways to Get an Awesome Workout/ Free Places To Workout

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