How to Get in Shape on a Budget

Think being fit means having an expensive gym membership, pricey exercise equipment and costly groceries from the natural-foods section of the store? Well, think again. Here are five tips to help you reach your fitness goals, without putting a huge dent in your budget.

Budget Fitness Tip No. 1: The Best Things in Life Are Free

There are lots of great exercises that don't cost a single penny. Walking and jogging are completely free, and competitive sports like basketball and soccer require only a place to play (usually public parks) and a single ball (which can usually be bought used at a discounted price).

Even playing on a golf course, which can get pricey, doesn't have to break the bank. Many courses offer Frisbee golf, and beyond the cost of the Frisbee, it can be a really fun, thrifty way to burn some calories. And if you're lucky enough to live near an ocean or a lake, you can swim as long as you want without paying any of those hefty membership fees.

More: Playground Fitness: 6 Cross-Training Games

Budget Fitness Tip No. 2: Leave the Car at Home

If you want to save some serious money, and get the blood pumping at the same time, one way is to look for alternative forms of transportation when getting around. The bus or subway is often cheaper than driving your car and you'll get some exercise out of it—you do have to walk to the bus stop or subway station, after all. Best of all, if you live close enough to commute to work on your bicycle, not only will you save money on gas costs, but you'll get in great shape in no time.

If you have to drive: Instead of fighting for a close parking space, take a space off the beaten path and add a few extra steps to your routine. Your body will thank you for it.

More: 14 Benefits of Walking

Budget Fitness Tip No. 3: Eat Healthy, Save Money

Fitness isn't just about exercise—your diet is a crucial part of being healthy too. But there continues to be a perception that healthy eating has to be expensive. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The produce section of the grocery store is where you should be spending most of your shopping time. Most other parts of the grocery store not only contain expensive items but they tend to hold most of the artificial food that isn't great for you.

By sticking to the produce section, you can pick up tasty fruits like apples, bananas and pears as cheap snack alternatives. And with items like beans, carrots, broccoli and lettuce often under $1 per pound. You can fill up your pantry without taking out a line of credit at the bank.

More: Eat Healthy On a Budget

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