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10 Cheap Ways to Stay Fit

Staying in shape has become very popular nowadays. For instance, in my company, my coworkers are always discussing and comparing their physical abilities. They discuss what their times were in the latest marathon, or who can back squat more weight in their crossfit class. When all is said and done, joining these type of activities can be pricey; however, if you believe staying in shape is important, then finding cost effective solutions can keep more money in your pocket while still reaping the same health benefits!

1) When to Join a Gym

When joining a gym, one should always look for the best possible deal;  this includes the best possible time to join a gym. Gyms usually offer discounts for incoming members in the summer. The reason for this is most people like to exercise outside in the summer and do not enjoy exercising  indoors. Because gyms are required to bring on-board certain quotas every month, and summer months tend to be weak, gyms usually offer greater discounts  to on-board prospects in the summer. My gym for instance, offers a higher activation fee cost but discounts the entire summer for free.

2) Check with Your Company

Your company wants you to stay healthy for many reasons. First, if you’re healthy, they can rely on you to come to work every day and perform your assigned tasks. Second, if you’re healthy and your company offers you health insurance, they pay a lower premium if you remain in good health. Finally, exercise usually keeps employees motivated and boosts morale. With these three points, it’s important to check to see if your company offers a “Healthy Living Rebate” or some sort of annual stipend to assist with discounts to gym memberships.

3) Sign up For Free Exercise Groups

In most major cities, people form different types of groups that focus on various areas of exercise. Usually you can find these groups through Facebook, or googling across the web. These groups include anywhere from hiking, boating and fishing to running, recreational sports (football/basketball) , and walking. There are so many opportunities to work out for free and all it takes is a few clicks and the willingness to socialize with complete strangers but the same common goal.

4) Running on Your Own

Running is basically the easiest way to stay in shape. It costs a bit to buy reliable running shoes, but if you already own a pair, all it takes is some will power and a nice path. In DC, there are beautiful paths all along the Potomac River, and Rock Creek Parkway that are beautiful places to run and do not charge admission. This is a very easy way to stay in shape without  incurring any expenses. You can also use this as an opportunity to train for short and long distance races and monitor your time through many applications.

5) Gym Partnerships

Another easy way to save money by staying in shape, is by checking if your apartment complex or condo unit is affiliated with any gyms in the area. If your building or complex does not have a gym built inside, it usually partners with a nearby gym and the gym grants all of its residents a discount on joining. Recently, I heard from a friend who lives nearby and whose building does not contain a gym, that his building partnered with a Bally’s across the street and he was paying $11.55 a month. This is something very easy to check that can save a lot down the road.

6) Borrowing/Renting Workout Videos

Have any of your friends told you how they tried P90x or Insanity? If so, ask them if you can join them one night and do a class with them. The classes are 45 minutes and are great workouts. I know from personal experience because I did Insanity for 2-3 months and loved it. For people looking for 45 minute workouts that are fun and social and can be done from your own living room, I’d give the workout videos a shot.

This also includes using video game workout videos like the Nintendo Wii or Xbox Kine-ct where the video game console monitors your body on screen. Again this is a cheap way to stay in shape.

7) Health Insurance Deductions

Not only does your company want you to stay fit, but your insurance company wants you to stay healthy as well. In fact, some health insurance companies have partnered up with most major gym franchises. What this means is if your insurance company agrees to rebate you $20 a month for using the gym, they may require you to go at least 10 times. Because the insurance companies partners with the gym, they can monitor your usage and rebate you accordingly. Unfortunately, health savings accounts dont allow for this kind of deduction.

8) University Gyms

If you live nearby a university, you can sometimes get permission to use the gym near your apartment even if you are not a student. A friend of mine in DC, tutors students at a nearby university and is paid by the university for his part time work. He negotiated with the school and was able to convince the university to give him access to the gym for free. If you live near a school and can offer students with tutoring help, you can also try and negotiate for the same perks!

9) Groupon/Living Social

The powerhouse deal making companies are always offering coupons for gym memberships, dance classes, yoga studios, and other forms of entertainment/exercise. It’s a good idea to always check these sites before making purchases that are year long binding because they can sometimes offer great deals for services that can be terminated at any point.

10)  Commuting to Work via Exercise

One way I stay in shape is I bike to work every day in the summer. This happens to be very convenient for me because I only live 8 miles away from work, however, for most people this is not the case and they need to drive to work. For those that can though, I recommend trying to commute by exercise. It’s very convenient and keeps you on your toes. Literally.