Wait! Don’t Join the Gym Just Yet

8295204_sResolving to get in shape in the new year is a resolution millions make every year.  Unfortunately, the majority of those millions, in their excitement and resolve to become lean and fit, drop a lot of money to achieve this goal, including the often expensive act of joining a gym.

Joining the gym can be a smart move for some people, but for the majority of us, doing so is just like giving our money away.  Most people join a gym in January, attend several times a week or even daily during January, and then, bit by bit, they stop going.  That’s why most gyms are packed in January but are much emptier come March and April.

The main problem is that most gyms charge an expensive joining fee and then make you sign a contract for 6 to 12 months.  They also like to conveniently set you up with recurring payments to your credit card, for your convenience, of course.

But getting out of the gym contract can be tough as the television show Friends demonstrated when Chandler tried to get out of one.  Chandler asks Ross to go with him for moral support, but by the end of the visit, not only has Chandler not quit, but Ross became a member, too.

You can save yourself the headache by finding more frugal alternatives to joining the gym to get in shape in 2014.

Consider some of these alternatives:

24078411_s1.   Use exercise DVDs.  Of course, you can buy some.  (Many will be discounted this time of year as everyone looks to get in shape.)  You could also rent some from your local library, or you could even join a site like Netflix to get a wide variety of DVDs.

2.  Buy some exercise equipment.  Let’s say a gym membership costs $30 a month.  In one year, you’ll be paying $360 plus the sign up costs.  If you don’t think you’ll be a regular at the gym, why not buy a piece of exercise equipment that you like and use it from the comfort of your own home?

To save money, buy one used.  Even better, wait a few months before you purchase.  Other people will buy the equipment new right about the new year, and after a few months, when they realize they won’t use it, they’ll sell it, and you can get a bargain.

3.  Walk or run.  Get out every day and go for a walk or a run.  Besides the cost of proper shoes, this exercise is free, and you’ll benefit from exposure to the sun, especially in the winter months.

4.  Take a class at your local rec center or hospital.  Many city rec centers and hospitals offer low cost exercise classes.  You may be able to sign up for a 10 week yoga course, for example, for $50.  Not only is this low cost, but you’re only making a short-term committment.

5.  Dance with your kids.  If you have young children, you know how energetic they can be.  Turn on some music and dance around the room with them.  In 10 or 20 minutes, you’ll both get an excellent cardio workout.

Congratulations if you’ve resolved to get in shape this year.  Just remember that resolving to exercise doesn’t mean you have to buy an expensive gym membership.  There are many other options that will help you keep your hard-earned money while you get fit.

What is your favorite low-cost exercise?

Posted in: Fitness and Exercise

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