25 Ways to Exercise Without Breaking the Bank

If you made health and exercise goals for 2019, you may find yourself frustrated at how much a gym membership costs. Do not lose heart, though! You can be a frugalista and still get your daily workout in.

I am an avid exerciser. I do something every single day, and all of it is on a very strict budget. Over time, I’ve found a variety of ways to get my daily workout in without paying a pretty penny.

1. RUN
I know, I know. Not everyone is a runner. I beg you to give it a try, though. If someone told me 5 years ago that I would be an avid runner one day, I would have laughed out loud in disbelief. Yet here I am, thriving on my weekly runs. I can’t imagine a life without running. It’s a mental release for me. I get to soak up the sunshine, take a break from life, let my mind wander, listen to music, and clear my head. Start with the FREE C25K app on your smart phone. It’s incredible (and a completely FREE workout)!

2. Buy a workout streaming subscription
Find a workout you love on DVD, make the initial financial investment, and commit to doing it. Working out at home is so much easier than going to a gym, plus it’s cheaper in the long run without the gym membership fees. I have used 21 Day Fix in the past, and I currently am doing LIIFt4. It was a bit more expensive than I would normally pay for a workout, but I can use it for as long as I’d like! I also feel the strongest and healthiest I’ve ever been in my life.

3. Go outside and have fun.
Just get out! Do something. Enjoy nature, have fun, and feel free. Exercise doesn’t always have to be so rigorous. It can be spending a day climbing a mountain, walking the beach, running through the sprinkler with your children, going shopping with friends, and much more.

4. Garden.
I used to think gardening was a really ridiculous form of exercise. I would see it on exercise lists and think to myself, “Yeah right. Like that does anything for you.” Boy, was I ever wrong! Have you ever spent an hour weeding a vegetable garden? It is exhausting! Plant some vegetables or flowers, get a workout each week tending to your garden, develop a green thumb, and reap the benefits! Bonus: you have something edible and/or beautiful to enjoy.

5. Wear a pedometer. Challenge yourself.
Get a pedometer. It doesn’t matter what kind. Just buy one and wear it. You will find yourself becoming competitive and trying to beat your own walking goals each day! “Only 4,000 steps? How is that possible?! I need to walk around the block before I make dinner.” 😉

6. Take the stairs and park far away at work.
If you work a desk job, it’s important to find ways to boost your metabolism in small doses. Purposely parking far away each day or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can both be great ways to ensure you get some sort of exercise each day, even if it’s just something small.

7. Get up and take physical work breaks.
To go along with the previous suggestion, be sure to get up and take breaks from work. Move around a little bit, or even use the stairs to get a drink or take a bathroom break. I once knew someone who would walk 5 flights of stairs down to the first floor when she had to go to the restroom, and then she would walk back up afterwards. That’s a great little workout a couple times each day.

8. Dance!
Confession: I love dancing. If you are at a wedding with me, you’ll know where to find me — in the middle of the dance floor. Dancing is so much fun, and it burns so many calories! There are many options for dancing. Many cities offer free community dance events, such as ballroom or swing dancing. You could even sign up for classes, if you’re really serious about learning a specific type of dance. Personally, I love to put on some great music at home and dance while I cook or clean! You can involve your kids in this one, too.

9. Participate in monthly Instagram challenges.
There are many fitness bloggers and experts who run monthly fitness challenges on Instagram. You can follow along as they post a new challenge each day. You participate in the challenge, post a photo, and even have the chance to win fun prizes! I personally love participating in the yoga challenges. I sometimes end up spending an hour each night trying to get the yoga pose correct and snap a great photo. It’s a serious workout! You could probably just use the search feature to find a specific type of fitness challenge you’re looking for.

10. YouTube Channels.
If you can’t afford to buy a full workout DVD, turn to YouTube! You can find all kinds of great workout videos on YouTube. Here’s a Top 10 List of YouTube workout videos.

11. HIIT Workouts.
Going along with the YouTube suggestion, HIIT workouts have changed my life. HIIT = High Intensity Interval Training. There are tons of YouTube videos for HIIT workouts. You can search by the equipment that you have, or type in “bodyweight” for workouts with no equipment. Body Rock TV and Melissa Bender Fitness also have tons of resources you can use.

12. Join an intramural sports team.
This is a great way to get a workout in, meet new people, and have fun all at the same time! If you are not a member of a church, school, or community group that offers sports, definitely be sure to check out the MeetUp website to find groups in your city with similar interests!

13. Go swimming.
If you live in a neighborhood with a pool, this is a great way to get your daily exercise in during the warmer months. It’s also great for low impact cardio, if you have any joint problems.

14. Do push-ups, sit-ups, or pull-ups while watching television.
If you spend quite a bit of time in front of the TV each week, this is a great way to get your exercise in. Just do these while you watch (or during commercials). For pull-ups, you’ll need a pull-up bar and maybe a pull-up assist band (a lifesaver for me).

15. Yard games with friends.
If you don’t like the idea of joining a random intramural sports team, just have friends over for a day of yard games! Set up a volleyball net. Kick a ball around. Play horse shoes or corn hole. There are so many options!

16. Play with your kids.
Engage in active play with your children, and I promise you will be out of breath. 😉 Bonus: Your children get more of your time and it’s a rewarding experience for you as a parent.

17. Do Pinterest workouts.
Search for any kind of workout you’re looking for on Pinterest, and you’re sure to find all kinds of at-home exercise ideas! I like to use Pinterest to discover new ways to work on target problem areas (like my back or abs). One of my favorites I did recently was this monthly ab challenge. Boy was it difficult, but I loved the results!

18. Go rock climbing!
If you have an indoor rock climbing facility in your town, I highly recommend going as a family or with friends. I did this a couple weeks ago with a group of friends. It was such a fun time, and the next day I was more sore than I’ve ever been in my entire life!

19. At-home workouts from magazines.
If you receive magazines in the mail, be on the lookout for those workout ideas. Tear them out and give them a go!

20. Try a stairs workout.
Google, YouTube, Instagram, or Pinterest the “stairs challenge” or “stairs workout” and you will see a huge variety of fun challenges! All you need are the stairs in your own home. I’ve tried a couple of these, and WOW. You are hurting afterwards! It’s an amazing workout.

21. Take an evening walk with a loved one.
Make it a priority to take a 30 minute walk with your significant other or family each evening at a designated time. It’s a great way to reconnect with the people you love, catch up on the day’s events, and get some exercise in at the same time.

22. Get a bike.
There are so many fun things you can do if you own a bike. Ride to the farmer’s market, take a bike ride on the beach or riverside, bike with your kids around the neighborhood, or go on a bike ride through nature trails. Buying a bike is such a great investment, and they last for such a long time!

23. Roller skating or ice skating.
Take your kids out for a fun night of roller skating or ice skating! Instead of sitting on the sidelines, join in! It’s such an awesome cardio workout and it’s a blast. If you really enjoy it, you could always buy a pair of roller blades to exercise in your neighborhood with.

24. Wii or Xbox Workouts.
If you own a Wii or Xbox 360, you have a great exercising resource at your fingertips. Both of these systems have some amazing workout DVDs. (And even some of the “games” provide an excellent workout!) The dancing games are some of my favorites.

25. Take a hike. Enjoy nature.
Hiking is so peaceful. If you enjoy being outside, find a local park or preserve to hike at regularly. It’s a great way to get a workout in and escape the day to day grind.

What about you? How do you exercise without breaking the bank? We’d love to hear in the comments! 🙂

Disclaimer: This information is not professional healthcare advice. Please always consult your doctor before engaging in physical activity, especially if you have any medical concerns.

Written by contributing author Meg, who is a total book worm, animal lover, neat freak, vegetarian foodie, and wannabe world traveler. She is passionate about hiking, writing, exceptional coffee, yoga, and good music. She is also a self-labeled nerd and thoroughly enjoys all things Star Trek and Harry Potter.


  1. I look up UTUBE yoga workout videos. I have found a 30 day yoga program I really enjoy called Yoga with Adriene. She is fun but not weird. Also I found a kids yoga that is really fun called Cosmic Kids. My kids love to do this because the host tells a story and you act out moves to go with it. They ask to do it every night and my 6 year old boy can do it very well. My 3 year old girl likes to do it but has trouble keeping up. She tells me “Namaste!” all the time now.


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