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In theory, staying fit without having to shell out for a pricey gym membership is entirely possible. But actually finding free ways to work out can be a daunting task. To make getting your sweat on a little easier and a lot cheaper, we’ve rounded up the best ways to work out without spending a dime. Your wallet and well-toned butt will thank you.
1. GET SOME FRESH AIR
The easiest way to get a gratis sweat session is by using your body’s natural ability to run or walk. Go for a jog around your neighborhood or hit your local track for an anywhere, anytime workout. If you’re not already a runner, download a free couch-to-5K plan, and let the training begin.
2. BECOME A STAIR MASTER
If pounding the pavement isn’t your thing, you can still get in some free cardio. Look for staircases in public parks or, if you live in a city, use the stairs in your apartment or office building to get in some Rocky-worthy training — running stairs for 30 minutes will torch over 400 calories.
3. HIT THE TRAILS
Once you get used to working out in the great outdoors, up the ante by checking out local hiking trails. Not only will you burn some serious calories, spending time in nature can also be beneficial to your overall health and wellness. Find all the best parks and insider spots in your area at AllTrails.com.
4. DIVE IN
In the sweltering summer months, take advantage of public pools and beaches — some municipal areas offer free access so you can cool off and tone up in the lap pool. A novice to swimming for exercise? Find a whole library of free swim workouts from Swimming World magazine to inspire your inner Michael Phelps.
5. TURN YOUR HOME INTO A GYM
Little-known fact: Everyday items make great gym equipment. So if you’re looking for free ways to strength train, look no further than your own home. Grab a couple of one-liter wine or water bottles to serve as a set of dumbbells, hold on to a kitchen chair to do tricep dips or squats and use the wall to do some quad-blasting wall sits.
6. GO DIGITAL
The internet is full of free workout content. Start with YouTube, which offers hundreds of channels of free fitness content including yoga, Pilates, HIIT and more. You can also find free fitness guides from celeb trainers, or get workout ideas from the MyFitnessPal and MapMyRun blogs. Consider the web your complimentary personal trainer.
7. GET APP-SAVVY
Just like the web, there are tons of mobile apps specifically geared toward free fitness routines. If you’re in search of a good cardio motivator, try Spotify Running to hit your stride. If Pilates is your thing, download Cassey Ho’s Blogilates. And if you’re constantly on the go, try Fitnet, which offers a variety of mini workouts you can do on the run.
8. MAKE THE MOST OF FREE TRIALS
If you prefer an in-person experience, become a gym sampler. Most gyms offer free trials for potential new members that range from a day pass to a week of free membership or class access. Shop around the gyms in your area, and you can rack up a solid calendar of free workout days — just make sure to cancel any free trials before the charges kick in.
Written by Macaela Mackenzie, a writer based in New York City with a passion for all things active. To see Macaela’s latest work, visit macaelamackenzie.com.