I am starting a new life long goal of living on less food and more exercise. Of course in order to keep with my other goal to live on less money I have needed to find ways to get that exercise without spending money if I can. The first thing I did was to look around for ways to exercise that are close to me.
Working out near work and home
EMPLOYER FITNESS: I spend 45 hours a week at work and I've always felt my 1 hour lunch was way to long, even when I tried to eat slowly I still had 40 minutes left and I didn't want to go back to my desk. Instead I now grab my gym bag and head down to the little workout room downstairs and plow through a 30 min elliptical workout and 10 minutes of nonstop weightlifting.
Not all employers I've been with have this option, one company had a wonderful deal with the nearby fitness center that was 25-50% off a month. But I have found that if I workout in the company fitness room, I am rarely joined by others, so it is a nice get away from the stress of work.
HOME FITNESS: A nice benefit to many of the apartment buildings I have lived in have been the fitness rooms that they offered. Most all have a treadmill and bike and some circuit weights, all worthwhile items to get me in shape. However, even when I didn't have access to fitness rooms or gyms there are many ways to do exercises at home for free just using our own body weight. Some of the hardest, yet simplest exercises are sit-ups, push-ups and squats that work the entire body.
TV FITNESS: I already pay for a cable box that automatically comes with a channel FitTV, however I don't like the commercials but I do have Video on Demand and I can do a fitness routine without commercials when I want to. I did a yoga core 20 min exercise that looked like a good starter episode (20min) and I was huffing and puffing by the end, but I was determined to keep up.
There are other ways I stayed in shape that have helped save me money and they rarely fail to produce the results I need.
Finding Other Resources
BOOKS and VIDEOS: I walk into the library and one thing I have found that never gets touched are the workout videos. They have stacks and stacks of them. It is very rare to be on a list for a fitness video unless it is the latest craze (currently Biggest Loser videos). And I have found the books are handy when I'm tired of doing the same bodyweight exercises and need a few new ideas. Yard sales are also handy place for picking up an exercise video or book.
EQUIPMENT: Finding equipment for cheap can be done, but it takes time and may need some tinkering but you can find some occasionally on Craigslist and eBay or Freecycle. For people on Craigslist you could always contact them and offer them a much smaller amount or to take it off their hands if they don't have any takers for the price they are asking. Sometimes you can find pre-owned equipment at places like Play It Again Sports.
If you do decide to buy new there are some small pieces of equipment that are versatile and don't cost a whole lot: Exercise ball (I like the 55cm size for my height), Dumbbells, Jump Rope and Resistance bands all take very little room and a small budget.
HOME-MADE EQUIPMENT: If you refuse to buy any equipment you can make your own weights and exercise equipment using a weight scale for measuring the exact weight you are lifting for milk jugs, basketball medicine balls, chin bar and more. Don't forget steps around your house and making your own jump rope are good ways to add aerobic exercise, besides walking and running.
ELEMENTARY MY DEAR: Kids have the basics down in elementary school as to how to stay fit. They run, walk and jump around on furniture with no equipment necessary. They are the original Parkour kids (vid) before it became cool. If finding time is hard and you still want to exercise there are ways to build it into your everyday life.
Sure you can pay for the membership dues at a gym and have want of nothing when it comes to fitness workouts or you can get creative, save money and see the reward in your wallet and not just in the mirror.