Who Needs the Gym? These 9 Workouts are Inexpensive (and Also Pretty Fun)

Ways to exercise
Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

The benefits of working out are obvious: staying healthy, losing weight, gaining muscle, possibly making new friends who also enjoy that particular brand of torture.

However, for me, the actual process of going to a gym to lift things and get yelled at by a muscular sweaty person is not exactly appealing.

And the only thing worse than working out is paying to work out.

Hate the Gym? Try These 9 Budget-Friendly Ways to Exercise

Instead of spending your hard-earned dollar bills, try these nine workouts that don’t cost much at all.

1. For Those Who Want to Fly…

Running, the bane of a clumsy person’s existence, is a great, free way to work out.

TPH Editor Caitlin Constantine runs in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

It’s an aerobic workout, which means it works your cardiovascular and respiratory systems (aka it gets your blood pumping and your lungs working). It also helps tone your muscles and reduce that extra stuffing on your body from winter hibernation.

Required materials: One pair of good running shoes, some lightweight clothes and a lot of motivation

2. For Those Who Enjoy the View…

Walking is a great workout because the workout only lasts as long as you like and burns a fair amount of calories.

It can be done in the heat without causing you to melt or in the cold with a pullover. You can even do it with your dog, cat or any other “leashable” animal. (Please don’t put leashes on your kids or significant others.)

Required materials: One pair of comfy shoes, a scenic area and a great playlist

3. For Those Who Need Control…

Pilates is a workout that combines yoga and strength training. You will need good mind and body control to maintain your pose and not lose your balance.

It can be done alone in your home on a mat or towel, with only the company of a free YouTube instructor.

Be patient or you may end up throwing your computer when you can’t get that bicycle move down.

Required materials: One Pilates workout video, a quiet area and some stretchy pants

4. For Those Who are Ballerinas at Heart…

Although I took ballet classes as a child, I now have the balance and grace of a hippo. However, if you’re set and determined to embrace your inner grace, barre is the workout for you.

Barre involves a series of ballet moves to build muscles and balance. You will need a barre (hence the name), but you can also use a chair, couch or any other tall, sturdy object to hold on to while you perform the moves.

If you need some guidance, you’ll find tons of free YouTube tutorials.

Required materials: A tall, sturdy object, some awesome leggings and one childhood dream

5. For Those Who Need an Escape…

Yoga is not just sleeping on a mat in corpse pose or bending yourself into pretzel shapes; it’s an awesome exercise for those who are looking to become more flexible and gain more peace of mind.

TPH Editor Caitlin Constantine practices yoga in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Yoga is typically taught by an instructor with a calming voice, telling you to think about the sound of waves while stretching yourself up to the sun, so yoga is great for those looking to get out of their heads and take a mini mind vacation to the tropics.

We also have a guide to becoming a yogi — for free.

Required materials: YouTube yoga instructor, a clear mind and an (optional) nature soundtrack

6. For Those Who Want to Be the Hulk…

Hulk has the ability to lift over 100 tons. The average human may never be able to achieve that feat, but it doesn’t hurt to dream.

If you want to build more muscle, tone what you have or are just feeling the urge to lift heavy things, you should try weights.

Although you could go straight to your community gym or build your own gym, you could also try household objects that give you the same satisfaction as weights — with none of the cost. Examples include gallon water jugs, a stack of old textbooks or even your child (as long as you don’t drop them).

You’re going to want to make sure you don’t hurt yourself with this one, so use some YouTube guidance.

Required materials: Heavy objects, a towel to mop up sweat and a mirror to check your form

7. For Those Who Feel the Rhythm…

Zumba is a fast and fun workout if you love moving and grooving to the beat. Instructors often pair these moves with the top hits so you can sing along — if you can manage to catch your breath.

If you’re looking for a more difficult dance workout, you can always add weights to amp up the difficulty. If you are looking for other dance workouts, check out hip-hop, ballroom and swing to get your heart pumping. The important part is that you move and have fun.

Required materials: A rowdy YouTube instructor, cool sneaks and a dash of self confidence

8. For Those Who Want to Be Mermaids (or Mermen)…

Swimming is the best option to get your fill of H20. You can do it in a lake, you can do it in a pool, you can do it in the sea, you can do it to stay cool.

TPH Editor Caitlin Constantine swims at North Shore Aquatic Complex in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Swimming is a great exercise because you use all your muscles to move yourself from one end of the pool to the other end.

If you live in a colder climate, it may only be a seasonal workout unless you have an indoor or heated pool nearby.

Required materials: Swimsuit, goggles, some water and your best pal Flounder

9. For Those Who are with the Resistance…

By resistance, I mean resistance in muscles and pressure — not Star Wars (sorry, Leia).

Resistance training is any type of physical activity where you use your muscles against resistance. This workout includes activities such as crunches, pull-ups, push-ups, curl-ups and squats.

Working out targeted muscles is great if your goal is to build strength, flexibility and endurance. You are going to need that endurance if you want to stand against Darth Vader and the forces of evil.

Required materials: Focus, commitment and your own body weight (lightsaber optional)

Haley Gonzalez is an editorial intern at the Penny Hoarder. She hates working out more than Luke Skywalker hates his father.