How to be Physically Fit Without a Gym Membership

Gym memberships are a big waste of money for most people, especially for cardiovascular workouts.  Why pay for a gym memberships when there so many cheap and free cardiovascular workout alternatives?  There are also several cheaper and effective strength training alternatives to gym membership, but maybe I’ll discuss those in another article.

For cardio workouts, there’s no need for treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical trainers, and other fancy gym machines. These machines are extremely wasteful on multiple levels.  For starters, they waste massive amounts of electricity.  Many gyms require users of these machines to wipe them clean after each use.  This is good for hygiene but terrible for the environment, as most people use paper towels (a huge waste of paper) and toxic spray cleaners that emit fumes into the air for everyone to breathe while they’re working out.  In addition to the negative environmental impacts that these machines have, they’re a big waste of money given the multitude of free and inexpensive alternatives that require no fitness center membership fees.

Elliptical trainer alternatives

Who needs an elliptical trainer when you can briskly walk up and down an actual set of stairs several times.  It’s a simple yet very effective cardio workout that will really wear out even a very physically fit person.  An article written on Miss T’s Prairie Eco Thrifter blog suggests hiking.  As the article states, it’s an excellent cardiovascular workout, and you can tailor it to fit your needs.  If you’re a beginner, you can hike flatter trails.  If you want more of a challenge, there are tougher trails that will provide a much more intense workout.  Hiking can be a great social activity if you hike with a few friends.  Just go to google and you can probably find some good hiking trails near where you live.

Stationary bike alternatives

How’s this for a revolutionary idea.  Instead of exercising on a stationary bike, try riding a real bicycle for a few miles.  If you don’t own a bicycle, it’s probably not to hard to find a find a decent used bike for a cheap price.  Biking is a terrific way to get both a good cardiovascular workout and a nice leg workout at the same time.  Unlike the stationary bike which is about as much fun as watching grass grow, riding a real bike is actually a lot of fun.

Treadmill alternatives

Treadmills are great fun for hamsters, but they’re about as boring as you can get for most humans.  Watching paint dry is more fun than spending 20 minutes on a treadmill.  I can’t imagine why anyone would want to use a treadmill when there are so many ridiculously easy alternatives that will give you a far superior cardiovascular workout.  Swimming, jogging, or even walking are all simple and superior alternatives to using a treadmill.  You can walk or jog just about anywhere.  Swimming is the ultimate cardiovascular exercise.  It’s a great full body workout.

More gym alternatives

Community Centers:  They often have amenities such as tennis courts, basketball courts, and other exercise facilities.  If you’re paying a homeowner’s assessment, this may include access to these centers.

City Recreational Centers:  Many cities have city centers which include gyms, swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, and other exercise options.  Make sure to take advantage of these free and low-cost options in your area.  These facilities sometimes offer waivers for low-income residents to use the facilities free of charge.

Apartment Gyms:  Some apartments have small gyms that provide many good exercise options.  Take advantage of these exercise options if possible.  If you don’t have this option available to you, make friends with someone who does.

If you want to save money and be physically fit, try some of these alternatives.  You’ll probably find them to be much more enjoyable and at least as effective as working out at the gym, and you’ll save a little dough in the process.

Sources for this article include:


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About Donny @ Extreme Money Saving

Donny is a software developer, a pool shark, a skilled chef, and a blogger.
He is the founder of this blog, which is dedicated to spending less money and frugal living. If you'd like to reach him, you can shoot him an email at

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  1. I agree that a gym membership is a waste of money. For us it definitely was. We make it there about once a month and at $68 per month that is one expensive gym trip!

    Sadly, I rarely exercise at the gym and choose to sit in the sauna or jacuzzi. I would rather just walk around my neighborhood at home!

  2. I think that it’s not important to join gym if you want to lose weight. We can go for the other options like swimming, running, and cycling. I really liked your post. And thanks for providing some more information to us.

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