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Exercising on a Budget

Exercise doesn't have to be intimidating or expensive. You don't need a gym membership to go on a light jog or a walk with a friend. As long as you get up and do something, your body will thank you for it.

The Mayo Clinic's "Fitness for Less" suggests some of the following tips as low-cost ways to shape up.

Take advantage of everyday opportunities

You don't necessarily need special equipment for an aerobic workout. Take a brisk walk every day, whether it is a path through your neighborhood or laps in a local mall. Make a workout of household chores by mowing the lawn, weeding the garden, raking leaves or vacuuming and scrubbing, all which count as a workout if you increase your heart rate.

Consider modest investments

Some inexpensive products to consider include dumbbells, resistance tubing, balance balls, jump ropes and exercise videos or DVDs-some may even be available for free from your local library. If you are able to consider a larger investment, some video games, including the Wii Fit, are designed to get you moving in the privacy of your own home.


Ordinary household items can be used for various upper- and lower-body exercises. Canned goods can serve double duty as hand weights, milk or water jugs can be filled with water or sand as weights and a common step stool can become exercise equipment if you use it for step training. Pushups, sit-ups and other callisthenic exercises require no specialized equipment and are extremely effective.

Be a savvy shopper

Shopping around for gym membership deals, including reduced-cost membership fees for people on tight budgets, or discount equipment can pay off. Check out your local recreational department or check into the fitness center of a local college or church for bargain access. Online classifieds or used exercise equipment stores often have deals on equipment. Sharing the costs with a friend can both help defray costs as well as provide motivation and support for a new fitness routine.

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