Get fit without breaking the bank

The rising cost of food, gas and other necessities may make a gym workout and expensive workout clothes seem like a luxury, but that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your health to protect your wallet.

There are many ways to find inexpensive exercise equipment or create free exercise routines when you're watching your budget.

Here are some of the best ways to exercise and stay fit while on a budget:

  1. JUMP ROPE: Inexpensive, small, great cardio exercise

  2. DUMBBELLS: Small handheld weights are relatively inexpensive and provide a variety of resistance training routines

  3. IMPROVISE: If you'd rather not spend a cent on exercise equipment, use ordinary household items for various upper and lower body exercises:
    >> Canned Goods: Many canned goods can serve double duty as hand weights

    >> Milk or Water Jugs: Fill empty milk or water jugs with water or sand and secure tops with duct tape. To adjust the weights as your fitness level changes, add more water or sand. If you wonder how much weight you're lifting, weigh the jug on your household scale.

    >> Stepstool: A low, sturdy stepstool can become exercise equipment. You can use for step training.

    >> Stairs: If you have stairs in your home go up and down a number of times, a great cardio exercise.

  4. RESISTANCE TUBING: These stretchy tubes are used for resistance exercises. Can use tubes to build strength in upper and lower body. Choose from varying degrees of resistance depending on fitness level. Tubing costs as little as $2.00 per tube, a workout for $6.00.

  5. EXERCISE DVDs: A fairly low investment can get a trainer in your own living room. Pick strength training, cardio, dance, yoga, boot camp etc. All available at, a good resource, as they screen all workouts to make sure they are safe, professional and balanced. Joanie's DVDs are at

  6. BODY WEIGHT ROUTINES: Body weight routines are a combination of simple calisthenics that if done on a regular basis produce great results, moving from one exercise to another quickly. Example: pushups, squats, lunges, jumping jacks, plank, crunches, wall sit, jump lunges, etc.

  7. WALKING: Take a brisk walk every day, whether a path through your neighborhood, local park, walking trails, high school track, etc. for 20-30 minutes.

  8. MALL WALKING: Shopping malls often have time set aside, usually early morning, for individual walkers and walking groups. Sometimes a mall will even sponsor and help organize walking clubs. Shopping Malls are popular walking venues as most are enclosed, offering you protection from cold or rainy weather. Malls also provide a level walking surface that is free of obstacles such as curbs, cracks, potholes, etc. There are a number of malls in the East Bay, North Bay, Marin, Peninsula, etc. that are available for Mall Walking.


    >> Check out local recreation department: Many rec centers offer discounted fitness classes to local residents as do some local fitness clubs. If you live near a high school or college with a fitness center, ask if the facility is open to community members.

    >> Used Equipment: Check out sports equipment section of your local Craig's List or Play it Again Sports (store that specializes in used equipment). You may also find great deals on used equipment online, just make sure the cost of shipping won't put the item out of your budget.

  10. SHARE COSTS WITH A FRIEND: Trade Exercise Videos or DVDs with a friend so that neither of you gets bored doing the same workout over and over again. Find a personal trainer who'll let you share the cost of a session with a friend or two.

  11. KNOW WHAT TO AVOID: Some Fitness Products aren't worth buying, no matter how low the price. Don't buy herbal supplements or other products that claim fitness benefits overnight or promise to melt away pounds without diet and exercise! Also avoid exercise products that focus on one body part only; there's no such thing as spot reducing.
Exercise has so many health benefits including elevating your mood - but it won't if you focus more on the "trappings" than on the actual physical activity. Don't get caught up in the memberships or purchases you CAN'T AFFORD. Concentrate on your Exercise and Fitness goals--and how to achieve them without BREAKING YOUR BUDGET.

About Joanie Greggains
Joanie Greggains is one of America's favorite health and exercise personalities. Her long-running TV Exercise Show, Morning Stretch, and her popular #1 Talk-Radio show, The Joanie Greggains Show averaging 250,000 listeners each Saturday on KGO Radio 810 AM in San Francisco, CA (the #1 Talk Radio Station in the country) have made her a familiar, popular, and respected authority in the Health and Fitness Field. Joanie has written three books: Total Body Shape Up, Fit Happens and the Fat Flush Fitness Plan. Joanie has produced choreographed and starred in 15 Exercise Videos which have resulted in sales of over $16 million, earning her 9 Gold and 6 Platinum Videocassette Awards. She also earned 2 Gold Records for sales of over one million audio Exercise Workouts.

Joanie is a popular guest speaker who participates in many health events throughout the year. As a former secondary school teacher, Joanie believes in the value of education. Her mission is to provide her audience with the tools and resources they need to improve their health and vitality with well-informed choices.

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