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5 Cost-Effective Fitness Tips You Can Start Today

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From aerial fitness to Zumba, there are tons of fitness crazes out there—and just about all of them carry some kind of cost.

Gym memberships. Equipment. Workout videos. Dance classes that resemble Broadway rehearsals. There’s nothing wrong with paying for any of those things, but if you can’t spend too much money because your budget is as tight as Spandex, does that mean you can’t get your exercise on? No way!

Here are five cost-effective ideas to get your heart pumping on a slim budget.

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1. Do Outdoor Work.

Gardens and yards give you several opportunities to burn calories. You can cut your grass with a push mower, plant and maintain a garden, spread mulch, trim hedges, and more. The yard will look great, and so will your wallet, and so will you!

2. Go Dog Walking.

Since your four-legged friend is so excited to see you when you get home, put that no-cost energy to good use by taking Spot for a jog around the neighborhood. If you don’t have a dog, offer to walk your next-door neighbor’s pet. Either way, they will be thrilled to go outside, and that get-up-and-go enthusiasm can rub off on you!

3. Invest in Used Equipment.

Don’t drive to the store and buy a brand-new elliptical trainer. Instead, try looking for a small set of hand weights, a yoga mat, or a second-hand stationary bike on Craigslist. These small investments on the front end can be much cheaper than "renting" them at the gym for years.

4. Fidget at Work.

The little "fidgeting" habits you do while on the job can help your metabolism. Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic says "thin people tap their feet, jiggle their pencils, and shift in their seats about two and half hours more each day than obese people do." Every little bit of exercise counts. If you’re like most of us and have a sit-down job, try taking the stairs, stretching at your workstation, or walking to a coworker rather than calling or emailing.

5. Play With the Kids.

Whether it’s dancing with your toddler at a playdate or shooting hoops in the driveway with your high schooler, there are plenty of ways to burn calories with the kiddos at no cost. Plus, the quality time you get with them is not only free—it’s priceless.

This is a great mix-and-match list to keep your energy high even if your bank account is low. So try a few and see what happens. At the very least, you won’t have to buy bigger jeans.

Budgeting is just like counting calories—it helps you to stay on track to hit your money goals. For an easy way to "count dollars," check out EveryDollar, our free budget software.

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