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Frugal Fitness in Cold Months

The temperatures have dropped, the sky is getting dark earlier and the ground is covered with ice and snow. It’s not exactly a recipe for tons of fitness options. But the winter doesn’t have to drag your workout routine down. Instead, you can find creative ways to exercise without blowing all your money on an expensive gym membership or ski pass. Here are some of the best ways to stay fit this winter while still being frugal.


Watch Videos Online

Working out doesn’t even have to involve leaving the house when you use free videos online. There are tons of great YouTube tutorials and free apps on devices like the iPad and the Roku where you can get excellent workout instruction. Whether you want to do yoga, kickboxing, Zumba or another type of workout, you can find tons of great tutorial videos on the Web. Test out a few videos to see which ones you like, and make sure yours is being led by an actual fitness instructor.

Find Cheap DVDs

Those infomercials for DVD workout programs may be tempting, but the exorbitant prices are sure to blow your budget. You can usually find the same thing at local thrift shops or on sites like Craigslist at a significantly discounted rate. It’s another way to enjoy a workout without leaving home but it offers the added benefit of being a more structured workout program.

Check Out Your Local Rec Center

Lots of neighborhoods, towns and cities offer their own recreation center. These aren’t just places for kids to go play – many also offer great resources for adults, including space to work out. You won’t get the same kind of equipment you’d find in a gym, but there might be a few treadmills you can use or a pool where you can swim laps. Most importantly, the costs are usually either free or just a few dollars a month, so you’ll be able to save while staying in shape.

Look for a Deal

Sites like Groupon and Living Social offer an excellent way to try out different types of workout classes. You can get amazing deals on everything from yoga and spinning to Barre and Pilates classes by searching on these sites. And if you want to think outside the box when it comes to fitness, don’t just limit your search to exercise classes. You can also get a great workout rock climbing or even playing laser tag.
Often, you’ll get an even better deal if you can get your friends to purchase the same offer through a referral code, so be sure to check for that extra discount before your click “Buy.”

Indoor Biking

You don’t have to get a fancy exercise bike to enjoy this activity during the winter. There are stands called “bike trainers” which actually allow you to set up your own bicycle indoors for a stationary winter workout. These devices allow you to adjust the resistant on your bike so you actually get a workout rather than just letting the wheels spin easily. These devices require an investment up front, but the cost will be significantly lower if you peruse local thrift shops, yard sales and used sporting goods stores throughout the year to find a deal.

Go Outside

If you’re willing to brave the chilly winter temperatures, consider a cheap outdoor winter sport. Some of the most fun winter exercises are incredibly fun and frugal, including:
Snowshoeing: All you need is a pair of snowshoes (check thrift stores and used sporting goods stores first) and you’ll be set to go. Great tutorials and tips can be found online before your first outing.

  • Cross-country skiing: Like snowshoeing, it requires minimal gear that can easily be found used. It’s also quite addictive once you’ve gotten the hang of it.
  • Ice skating: You use tons of muscle to propel yourself forward and keep your balance while ice skating. Skates can be cheap to purchase and you may even be able to find an indoor rink for those extra cold days.
  • Sledding: It’s true – the winter activity you loved the most as a child is actually an excellent workout. Go with your kids or even with a few friends. Sleds are incredibly cheap (some are even homemade!) and all those climbs up the hill will be an excellent cardio workout.
  • Chopping wood: You get stronger and get your heart going while you chop wood. Just be sure you take the right safety precautions. As an added benefit, all that wood you chop can be used to heat your home on the cheap or it can be sold for a little extra cash during the winter months.
  • Playing in the snow: Build a snowman. Have a snowball fight. Make a snow angel. Playing in the snow is a little like swimming; it takes more effort to move so everything you do has a greater physical impact. So bundle up and head outside on the days when you can tolerate the cold.

Instead of being bummed about the dreary weather, let the winter season give your exercise routine a much-needed shake-up. Use these ideas to have fun staying fit this winter.


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