Someone told me recently that he doesn’t pay for his morning cup of coffee because he fills his travel mug for free at the gym each day before heading to the office. “Oh,” I thought, “You’re pinching on your coffee so you can pay for your gym membership.”
My son says the gym membership keeps him accountable. “Since I’m spending all that money, Mom, I’m gonna go.”
“Maybe,” I thought, “But can’t your wife keep you accountable? You don’t have to pay her every month.”
So what does the average gym membership run, anyway? According to StatisticBrain.com the national average is $55 per month. That’s over $600 per year, people. Sounds like just another thing to waste money on. So I want to know, isn’t there a cheaper way?
1. Walking and running.
If you’re paying $600 a year on running shoes, something’s wrong. You can purchase a good pair of shoes that will last at least six months, for around $100. Put them babies on your feet and you’re good to go around the block, over trails, or along the beach. Bad weather in the forecast? Go to the mall or high school. That’s where walkers hang out these days. Climate-controlled walking is all the rage. Just call ahead to make sure they host a walking program and to ask what hours you may come.
2. Riding a bicycle.
If speed’s your thing, or maybe you just need to save the wear and tear on your vertebrae, ride a bicycle. A good bike, well taken care of, can last you the rest of your life. Okay, so you might need to spend that $600 to get one, but that’s only the first year for a lifetime investment. Can’t ride a bike in the winter? Get an exercise bike for indoors. You don’t have to get a Schwinn Airdyne that takes up an entire room. My exercise bike (purchased for $10 at a thrift store) fits just fine behind the easy chair in our family room.
3. Lifting weights.
You can buy a weight bench for under $100. You can get the bench and a 100-pound bar set for $99 at Walmart. Obviously, you can purchase more expensive equipment, set it up in your basement, spare bedroom, or garage, and workout to your heart’s content in the modesty of your own home. Even if you splurge on a Bowflex home gym or an elliptical machine, the investment will be paid for in that year.
If you live in a condominium or apartment complex, or own your own pool, you can swim for free. Swimming is one form of exercise that provides an aerobic workout and stretches muscles at the same time. Differing your strokes can work different muscle groups, too. Even if you have to pay to go to a public pool, swimming twice a week won’t add up to $55 a month.
At the roller rink near my house, adults pay no general admission. That means if I own my own skates, I can skate all I want for free. The next closest rink charges $2 during the week, and $5 or $6 on the weekend, depending which night you want to go. The average gym member visits the gym twice a week. If you own your own skates, and go twice a week, there is no way you will spend $55 per month. I’ve gotta warn you, though. Skating is a lot of fun and you just might find yourself wanting to go more often.
6. Working Out to a DVD.
For a mere $7 you can purchase a workout DVD to use in the comfort of your own living room. Workout DVD’s come in all shapes and sizes, too. From the “extreme home fitness” to “cardio max” to “banish fat, boost metabolism,” a workout video exists to fit your needs.
Bonus Tip: Mix it up!
Everyone knows how important it is to vary your workout so that you work different parts of your body. What better way than to mix up your exercise routine? Ride your bike on Monday, run on Tuesday, visit the roller rink on Wednesday, etc. This type of routine gives you the flexibility you might find at the gym so that you don’t get bored with your workout.
Looking for more ways to save money? Check out 20 Best Ways To Save Money By NOT Being Normal!
What am I missing? Any other options you participate in for exercise? Or are you going to tell me that the gym membership is worth the expense? Meet me in the comments.