Frugal & Fit

by Beth · 12 comments

in Living Frugally

Exercise and I are not in a steady relationship.  We flirt from time to time, even enjoy the occasional fling that lasts for a few weeks.  Then we’re back to seeing other people (he, more loyal partners;  me, the couch and a good book).   I know how important it is to make exercise a part of my life, but I can’t seem to remain faithful.

Depending on your situation, being fit can also be an important part of being frugal.  Let’s face it-a lot of people are in the position of being dependent on good health to stay financially afloat.  Taking care of yourself is a good investment, and part of that is getting enough exercise.

But exercise can be expensive, too.  I don’t know about you, but I always seem to stick with a fitness routine longer when I have a gym to go to, a place where I’m accountable to myself and where I know I’m paying for the privilege.   At the moment I attend a weekly class at our local gym, and while the fee is very reasonable, it does make me feel guilty if I miss a week or two.  And particularly in the winter months when it’s just too darn cold to stay outside, it’s a lot easier to stay motivated when the activity is indoors.

As warmer days are starting to settle into my corner of the world, I can’t help but think that I should be more disciplined-both about being fit and being frugal.  I know there are many options out there to stay in shape at little or no cost, if I could only find something and stick with it.  I live in the mountains, so there are beautiful hiking spots all around.  There’s a park across the street for me to walk or jog in, and I could do yoga at home.  But I need to find my motivation, to set a plan and make it a part of my regular routine.

How important to you is being in good physical shape?  Do you have a frugal exercise routine?  How do you keep yourself motivated?


1 Emily May 5, 2010

Beth, AWESOME topic and post! When you think about how health and frugality go hand-in-hand, this should be a no-brainer. Except in the US, where unhealthy foods are cheaper and exercise equipment so darn expensive! We’re completely backwards here. I keep wondering if nationalized healthcare will flip us back in the right direction or not…

My motivation is easy – I have some medical issues that would probably be alleviated by losing weight. When it’s time for that walk or session with the Wii Fit, that’s what is in my mind. One way I keep on track is my mp3 player and podcasts, audiobooks, or just some plain funky music – listening to something enjoyable really takes the sting out of a long walk.

2 Nancy May 5, 2010

I'm a walker. I have a neighbor that is too so we walk together and that keeps us accountable. I don't dare back out of an already made plan. I notice a difference between exercising/not exercising…when I'm active I sleep better, I feel better both physically and mentally and I have more energy for other activities.
.-= Nancy´s last blog ..little man, big imagination =-.

3 anne May 5, 2010

I get some sort of exercise every day. It helps to have a plan and write it down (I still use a planner). That way my day is already schedule around it. This time of year it's so refreshing to get outside and walk. Even twenty minutes is better than nothing!

4 May 5, 2010

I'm a big fan of exercise, and I pay a hefty monthly gym membership fee. However, there's a lot you can do to exercise on the cheap (especially now that summer's around the corner!).

– Jogging

– Stairs

– Body weight exercises (yoga, Pilates, etc.)

Doing some quick searches for, say, "body weight exercises," will lead you to a variety of workout options. Head to a park nearby to enjoy the sunshine while you're at (don't forget your water!).

If you want to go the DVD route, you don't need to get the latest Jillian Michaels DVD to get in peak shape. Head to your local video store or shop online. You can find good DVDs for clearance prices, which don't reflect the quality of the workouts at all.

Lastly, it's sort of a reverse frugal tip, but put some money on the line. A bunch of us at the office started a fitness challenge. Those who don't make their goal will have to donate $50 to charity. While the cause is worthy, most of us are working our butts off to hold onto our cash. 🙂

– Shayna from

5 Molly May 5, 2010

Oh, I’ve tried several times to avoid paying for a gym membership. I run outside, I use DVD’s, I’m fine for a week, and then I stop. I’ve learned that unless I have a gym membership, I just don’t work out. So while it may not be the cheapest option, it is by far the most frugal option for me – as I actually work out. 🙂

6 May 5, 2010

I totally hear you, Molly. 🙂 I’m not much of a DVD person myself (the couch looks much more appealing), but some of my friends are hooked and swap DVDs with each other to mix things up.

A gym membership is worthwhile — if you use it. When I signed up in January, I got three free months to give to a friend. It was nice to have the company and get familiar with the gym with a friend around. Her membership just expired yesterday, but three months has me plenty motivated enough to keep going. My goal is three times a week. 🙂

– Shayna from

7 Frances May 6, 2010

Hubby and I decided to join the local rec center. First of all, I totally recommend joining together! We really motivate each other. Second, the monthly rate for a couple is $30! We can cancel our contract at any time for any reason. And they have a pool. Turns out, that’s my favorite form of excercise…especially at 6:30 in the morning when I’m too tired to do anything else. If it weren’t for our morning workout before work (we shower there and head on our way), neither of us would find the time, motivation, or circumstance convenient to workout. Free exercise is great too, for those that can motivate themselves and enjoy it. I always wanted to be one of those people but being honest with myself and joining the gym has been worth every penny.
Just a side note: I was looking into buying a used treadmill or elliptical. Now that I’ve worked out on both at the gym and discovered one hurts my knees and the other hurts my shins…I’m glad I have more options.

8 jade May 6, 2010

On a scale of 1-10, I’d give being physically fit a 10.
I’m up at 4am, run about 10-15 miles,
crunches, pull-ups, dips, and push-ups,
jumping jacks, etc.
I run with weights strapped to my body, it adds on lots of pounds 🙂
I also swim at the YMCA and cycle when training for events, this took some getting used to.
I’m 30, a student, mother, an analyst, realtor, tax specialist, when I so desired. Im fornunate enough to be retired.
now if i could just figure out how i can retire from being a parent, lol. Not really 🙂

9 Kris May 6, 2010

Your post finally convinced me to get around to writing my own post on my fitness habits. Thanks for the kick in the butt! 😉

I DO like the gym but right now, my budget doesn’t allow for a gym membership. I’ve turned to running, fitness DVDs and free yoga classes in order to keep myself in relatively decent shape (although recently, hoisting my suitcase into an overhead bin was tricky so I’ve obviously still not recovered all the upper body strength I lost when I stopped flying 6 months ago). I’ve started to prefer doing my own thing to working out in a gym…if someone was to offer me a free membership, I’d accept, but the longer I use my current “program” and continue to see results, the less inclined I am to put a gym membership on my list of things to spend money on.
.-= Kris´s last blog ..On Airsickness and Being a Flight Attendant =-.

10 PathAcross May 6, 2010

Exercise! Excellent topic.
I have 3 yoga DVDs that I rotate. I try to do yoga every day… it is an excellent exercise for the mind and body and it’s very frugal. Once you learn about it, all you need is Yourself, and probably a mat. You can do it at home. For me yoga is motivating because I can always work toward a more difficult pose and center myself.

It all depends on your exercise style and what keeps you motivated. Personally I do not like being in gyms. I don’t like paying for them, the mindless entertainment magazine reading/CNN watching, etc. But for a lot of people it’s a good way to relax after a stressful day. I used to attend gyms when I had more stress in my life and it was great to zone out. It can be worth the money because you’re right, being healthy is going to cut down on health problems both now and later.

There are so many things you can do to exercise frugally: running/jogging/walking, riding the bike, hand weights. I believe exercise shouldn’t be a chore or something you hate doing, but it does take some trial/error to see what you can stick with. Either way, it’s a good investment as long as you’re exercising on a regular basis!

11 Hilde May 6, 2010

I have to confess that I never have been to a gym! Instead, I walk a lot, also to and from public transport, sometimes carrying my shopping, and I work out by gardening. I use a lawnmower without a motor, I don´t have any power tools for the garden. Instead, i enjoy the silence until my dear neighbours start working with their motorized toys. I really cannot imagine being inside a building doing the same movement over and over or walking without getting one step forward.

12 Beth May 6, 2010


I have to say that I agree with you–exercise should be incorporated into our everyday activities. That tends to make the whole “motivation” issue kind of beside the point, because these are things that you’re doing anyway. My problem is that I just don’t get enough that way. I do lots of stairs (we live on the third floor of a building with no elevator, and I work on the third floor of a building where I not allowed to USE the elevator), and I spend a lot of time outside with the girls in the warm weather. But i need to make a more conscious effort about getting exercise every day.

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