I am a big wimp when it comes to working out outside. As much as I love both the outdoors and the benefits of a good workout, trying to battle the elements in Seattle, where its usually chilly and rainy, is not my cup of tea. Is budget workout real?

Reality

I love the gym and I’m a sucker for a good barre or Pilates class, but, having a gym membership doesn’t realistically fit into my budget.

If you have the extra cash and go to the gym religiously, having a gym membership can be a wonderful thing.  However, the truth is that most gym memberships are bad investments, unless you’re dedicated (and have the time!) to use it religiously. The average gym membership cost is $39 a month, but in bigger cities like New York or Seattle that figure is closer to $65. Trendy workout classes cost even more like Core Power Yoga ($99/mo.) and Soul Cycle, which starts at $28 a class!

So, I’ve had to get creative about staying active–without venturing out into the rain too much!

How Do I Stay Healthy?

It’s important to invest in your physical and mental health just like it’s important to invest in your financial health. But you shouldn’t have to sacrifice one for the other. I own nav.it.

Here are some tips that I’ve learned for staying in shape and staying within my budget!

Walk everywhere.

This is much easier if you live in a walk-able city with great public transit like New York. When I lived in Washington D.C., I didn’t have a car, so I walked to do all my chores and I walked to and from work every day.

I’ll admit that I relished the luxury of having a car and being able to drive to the grocery store when I first moved to Seattle, but recently I’ve started to walk (weather permitting) to the store again for my weekend groceries. It’s an extra good workout because I live at the bottom of a very long, steep hill, and my grocery store is at the top of the hill. In fact, I think my neighborhood mini-mountain has saved me a few dollars in extra grocery store runs as I must be really motivated to tackle the climb.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to walk to work, you automatically have a daily workout routine and you save some serious cash on gas. The average person spends around $100 on gas every month

Check out your employee benefits.

Many hip companies these days provide discounts to local gyms or will reimburse you up to a couple hundred dollars a year for wellness activities.  Some of these activities include joining a gym, taking yoga classes, or playing in a softball league—pretty cool! My company provides employees access to a corporate gym in our building, so I’m lucky to have a treadmill and free weights to use. 

Find a public recreation center.

Many cities have parks and recreation centers that are free or are a much lower cost to the public than your average private gym. I discovered a public pool in my neighborhood that costs $5 per swim. It’s much cheaper than a $15-30 spinning or Pilates class and an equally great workout!

Take a hike!

I know I said I didn’t like working out in nature, but getting outside on a nice day is a great way to stay active and save money. I promise that you will spend less money on a national park pass for the day on a Sunday than you will for brunch!

Conclusion

Adopting these habits has helped me to keep an active lifestyle while saving money—and staying (mostly) dry! Your city and environment may be different, so let us know how you nav. on budget workout!