Exercising On A Budget

Exercising On A Budget

Written By Carrie S, Exercise Physiologist (Duke Health Systems)

Joining a gym can be a big investment for you and your family. Once you have joined a gym, you may decide you don’t enjoy using it or you simply can’t find the time. Here are a few tips that can help turn what you have in your own home into your personal gym, so you can exercise when it best fits your schedule.  


Bodyweight exercises:  There are TONS of bodyweight exercises out there that require nothing but YOU.  Some examples of bodyweight exercises are: push ups, squats, lunges, ab crunches, calf raises… the list could go on and on.

Use technology to your advantage:  Most of us have a smart phone, tablet, computer or all of the above. There are full workout videos online that you can stream and do in your own home. You can also find exercise routines on different apps that can help keep your workout fresh.

Use the furniture you have in your home:   The furniture in your home can be come multi-purpose for assisting in your exercise routine! Use a sturdy chair to do squats. A sturdy coffee table can be used for tricep dips.  You can purchase plyometric boxes online to do step ups, box jumps, etc.  Use soup cans to do bicep curls. Use your couch to assist you with stretching (yes, there is a stretch called the couch stretch). Your kitchen counter can be used as support for push ups, squats, and dips. The possibilities are endless.

Get the most out of your cardio routine:  You can do cardio exercises anywhere, anytime! You can jog in place, do jumping jacks, burpees, and cardio routines in your living room. Make sure you have enough room to do what you need to do. You can also use furniture to help modify certain exercises.

Turn the music on!: Fire up your favorite music and get moving! You can play your favorite music, use the music stations on your  TV, or use apps to get you motivated.  You can simply dance to the music or use the music to motivate you during your bodyweight routine. Get your family involved too!

Find a Fitness Buddy:  A neighbor or family member can serve as a workout partner. On days where your motivation is low, text your workout partner to get you going. Have them come over and do a quick workout in the living room or in your garage!

When all else fails, hire a professional:  You can enlist the help of a personal trainer to help you find ways to use what you have in your home (or suggest inexpensive equipment you can purchase to use at home). Using a personal trainer doesn’t have to be an expensive venture. You can just have one session to discuss what questions you may have about form, certain exercises, etc.

Remember that fitness doesn’t only happen in the gym. We can do things throughout the day to keep ourselves in shape. You can break exercise up into 10 minute bouts throughout the day! Remember to aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. Keep your goals realistic and enlist the help of friends and family. 

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Comments (7)

  1. Munkyman

    With regard to body weight workouts, the Chuck Norris “Total Gym” is an amazingly good piece of equipment for a home gym. My favorite exercise equipment is a bike or if you’re really over weight or have bad balance a trike. I rode a trike when I decided to get back into cycling, I rode it for about a year while deciding on exactly what bike I’d get.

    May 12, 2016
    1. knights68

      I was actually considering getting a trike to help me get into biking, but I know me and it just wont be of use long term (and to pay over $200 for one doesn’t seem worthwhile). I was thisclose to getting a bike, then a trike, but lastly I opted not. Not only the use but my balance/equilibrium makes for the case not to go that route for me.

      May 12, 2016
      1. Munkyman

        You can find a trike on Craig’s List if you look. You can also buy from a bike shop that takes trade backs. You use the trike until you get to where you want a bike & trade it in. Then there’s also the serious trikes…

        They now make them that camber into turns which for me is a must.

        May 12, 2016
  2. gramm

    Originally, a stay at home Mom. And still a stay at home grandmother. I have always had to be creative with fitness. When the kids were little I used them as weights because God forbid they would let you lay in the floor and have 5 minutes of alone time to work out. I also went through 5 stationery bicycles so far. I need anther right now. Fitness does not have to be fancy. The Bodyweight exercises as you describe are very efficient. You don’t need the equipment. I find that a one minute plank is one of the best exercises in the world. As for the gym. It has it’s pitfalls for sure. People don’t "wipe off " the machines, someone is always hacking up a hair ball next to you, Someone is constantly talking and gossiping, and the worst, the macho type who stand in the mirror flexing their muscles they wish they had and lifting way too big of weights then dropping them on the floor with a grunt worthy of the hugest dump in the world. I opt for my loft. Have a great day!

    May 13, 2016
  3. marrcena

    I highly suggest home gym equipment. No costly membership fee and sweaty guys. It will be very effective to work out at home.

    July 05, 2016
  4. ellaily

    I think it’s good enough to follow what’s being mentioned in the post.

    July 22, 2016
  5. agrad1955

    A man should manage his life to run under the budged to live a perfect and happy life as this author depicts the same formula of happy life. I was in search of online assignment writing service but I got this article and I found it very interesting.

    February 21, 2017