Cheap ways to get fit

Get buff on a budget

You might think you need to spend lots on fancy gym clothes and memberships but there are many free or inexpensive ways to get fit.

Free ways to work out

Smart tip

To help you stay motivated try taking a friend with you when you exercise. It will make the time pass quicker and you'll have someone to share the pain and the gain with. 

Here are some great ways to exercise which are absolutely free.

Laps around your local oval

Walking or jogging around your local sports oval is an easy way to add some cardio to your exercise routine. Use a stop watch to help track your progress and beat your personal best. 

Walk your dog

Give yourself and your dog some exercise by taking a walk around the neighbourhood. To keep things exciting, try taking your dog to a new location each week. Only take your dog to animal friendly areas.

Enjoy a bushwalk

Bushwalks are a fun and different way to exercise and walking on an incline is a great way to increase your fitness level. The paths are usually free and easy to access.

Swim laps at your local beach

With each stroke you will engage most of the muscles in your body. It's a refreshing way to work out outdoors. Only swim in areas which are patrolled by lifeguards.

Fitness apps and videos

There are lots of free apps you can download using your smartphone which explain a range of exercises you can do at home, often without equipment. You can also watch YouTube to physically see how to complete each exercise in practice.

Exercise with the kids

It's a great idea to set kids a regular exercise routine. To keep things fun, grab a ball and kick it around in the backyard with the children after school. Or consider walking to the local shops instead of driving. Think about the area where you live and ways to engage your kids in simple physical activities.

Getting the best gym deals

Some gyms can be expensive but if you like the environment and go often enough they can be cost effective. It will take some shopping around to find a gym that suits you. Start by deciding what services you want from a gym.

Gym features to check

  • Services - Child minding, showers or group exercise classes?
  • Opening hours - Are they convenient or would you prefer a 24 hour gym?
  • Gender specific - Is it important that it is a women's only gym?
  • Contract length - How long is the contract period and are you locked in?
  • Equipment - Is the equipment what you use and is it usually available? 

How to get the best price for gym memberships

When you are shopping around for a gym don't get pressured to sign up on the spot. Visit each gym to get an understanding of the services they offer and if their environment is right for you. When searching for a cost effective gym you should look out for:

  • New gym opening offers
  • Cheaper rates if you pay cash upfront or each time you visit rather than direct debit
  • No joining fee, or introductory offers such as getting the first month free
  • Student/senior discounts

Once you decide which gym to join always take the time to read the contract carefully before you sign it. There are often cancellation fees if you decide to end your membership early. You should also always check if there is a cooling off period.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­Saving money on gym clothes and accessories

Gym clothes and accessories such as running shoes can be expensive. Here are a few tips to help you save:

  • Look for generic clothes and accessories rather than brand names
  • If you are after a brand name, wait until the end of each season as prices usually drop
  • Search for deals online or in-store sales

Group exercise can be cost effective

Exercising in a group environment can increase motivation. You may feel inclined to exercise harder because of the supportive vibe.

Outdoor boot camps or group personal training

You can train with friends and family to make it more enjoyable and the times and prices are often flexible. Generally you are not locked into a contract and are able to pay per session.

Sporting teams

Joining a sporting team can make exercise fun and players feel valued. Most local indoor sports centres and sport clubs are keen to get new members. Participation costs are often paid outright at the beginning of the season and can be much cheaper than a 6 month gym membership.

Case study: Taylah starts a netball teamRunning Group

Taylah works full time and has to commute 3 hours a day to get to and from
work. By the time she arrives home she is too tired to go to a gym.

When Taylah saw an advertisement asking for teams to join the local netball competition she phoned her friends to try to form a team. They all agreed and
now play each Saturday and are enjoying a healthier, fitter lifestyle.

Cheap fitness tips

We asked our Facebook community for their tips on how to stay fit on a budget. Here are some of their tips:

  • Instead of meeting friends for drinks, meet at the local park for a game of soccer
  • Leave the car at home and walk or ride a bike to work
  • Watch YouTube videos of group fitness classes instead of going to the gym
  • Buy a decent pair of running shoes as an investment in yourself
  • When catching the bus, get off a stop earlier
  • If you're joining a gym pick one that offers equipment, classes and access to pools, etc in the weekly fee to get a wide range of activities and the best value for your money

Getting fit need not cost you a fortune. Finding a free or cheap exercise option will mean a win for you as well as your wallet.


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Last updated: 07 Aug 2016