How to Get a Cheap Home Workout

How to Get a Cheap Home Workout

Having a gym membership can provide you with a lot of different ways to exercise, but that's far from the only way to get in your daily workout. If you prefer to work out closer to home, take advantage of exercise videos, used strength training equipment and even your local parks and outdoor facilities to develop an effective -- and cheap -- exercise routine.

Videos and Online Options
If you're the type who needs a guided workout, you'll have no shortage of very cheap or free options. Sites such as YouTube offer a wealth of exercise videos covering yoga, Pilates, dance, aerobics and many other forms of exercise. Some instructors also offer free online challenges on their websites, encouraging you to follow their programs to reach benchmarks, such as doing 100 pushups a day. Exercise DVDs and even videotapes abound at thrift stores, often costing $1 or less. Some of the instructors' fashions may be a little out of date, but the workouts will still be sound.

Cheap Strength-Training Equipment
Plenty of people have made big plans for getting in shape, only to leave those plans behind after the initial excitement wore off. Much of the equipment they bought can be found discarded at thrift stores. Also check yard sales or online classifieds for equipment people might be selling. You often can find dumbbells, barbells, resistance bands, exercise balls and jump ropes for a very cheap price. Before you buy, look the equipment over carefully to ensure there are no cracks in the plastic parts of the barbells or dumbbells, that the resistance bands don't have any nicks, and that there is no other damage that could cause injury. When in doubt, skip it.

Get Outdoors
Thrift stores also can be great places to find used basketballs, volleyballs and bicycles -- all things that can help you get in an active workout while you bond with friends or family. Even with no equipment, your local parks and the great outdoors offer plenty of opportunities for exercise. Look for parks with exercise stations, such as pullup bars, complete with instructional placards to teach you how to do each exercise safely. Also, don't overlook taking a long walk in the park, a jog through the woods, cycling to go get your groceries, or going for a swim in the local lakes.

Creating Your Workouts
Adults need about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as two days of strength training using the arms, legs, back and abdomen. As a beginner, work up to that amount slowly. Use your dumbbells or barbell to do bicep curls, tricep extensions and bench presses, as well as squats and lunges. For alternatives to weights, use large soup cans, fill 1- or 2-liter bottles with water or heavy books. Situps or crunches will serve as abdominal work; add weight by holding any "weights" you have near your chest. Without any weights, do pullups using a sturdy overhead beam, pushups -- spreading your hands wide or keeping them narrow for variation -- or lunges with your front leg straight ahead, or placed a few inches to the left or right for variation. Do two sets of about 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise. For help learning strength training exercises, find a personal trainer who offers a low-cost or free introductory session, or use online videos.