Exercise is a key part of weight loss, but many people hesitate to join a gym due to high membership fees.  Yes, it’s true that some gyms or health clubs charge more and perhaps include more amenities, but there are less expensive alternatives for those who are just looking to get in some quality workout time, as covered in a recent New York Times article written by Walecia Konrad.

Some families are opting out of their pricey gym memberships and are instead signing up their families for the local Y.M.C.A.  Often times, a Y.M.C.A. Membership includes access to gym equipment, fitness classes, a pool and other great amenities.  As discussed in the New York Times article, the cost turned out to be the same for four family members to join the Y.M.C.A. as for just two adults to be members at the local health club.

Even purchasing home equipment can be a pricey investment, as high-quality treadmills often cost somewhere around $1,000 as compared with the average annual health club membership of $750.

“These days people realize you can burn the same number of calories for a lot less money,” said Beth Kobliner, personal finance expert and the author of “Get a Financial Life.” She added, “All kinds of programs have popped up postrecession that offer lower-cost ways to exercise.”

Besides the Y.M.C.A., other community organizations, like schools, neighborhood clubs, temples and churches offer workout facilities and sports activities for less money than a health club.  It’s always a great idea to find out what your community recreation center offers in terms of fitness classes.  They often are not very expensive, but are a great way to get a workout and meet new people.

Students or alumni living near a college can often get a very discounted rate to use the school gym facilities, which are often very high-quality.  The same generally applies to those living near a hotel or motel with a gym.  There are also gyms offering extremely low rates for their members, such as Planet Fitness which offers a membership for $10 a month.  However, you get what you pay for- there is not a wide variety of equipment available and fitness classes are not offered in most locations.

For many people, the preferred method of exercise is running outdoors, which of course costs nothing!  The Road Runners Club of America offers meet-up points for people who prefer to run with a group of people.

Many people view yoga as an expensive exercise option, but it is actually very cost-effective as there is essentially no equipment required except for a simple mat.  Some communities are beginning to offer yoga for as little as $5 or $6 per class.  Donation-based classes are becoming popular as well, where a donation price is suggested, but not required.

Another inexpensive, effective workout you can do in the privacy of your own home?  Workout DVDs and online exercise videos have become a sensation.  It’s a great way to get an efficient workout without having to pay dues or even leave the house!  Plus, there are a variety of workouts you can try just by using an instructional video.  You can enhance your workout with inexpensive equipment, such as hand weights, a jump rope or an exercise ball.

At Camp Shane weight loss camp for children and Shane Diet Resorts weight loss program for adults, we believe that any exercise is good for you.  So if you can pay less and still get a great workout, we are totally in support of that!  We recommend checking out all of your options locally to get the best variety for the lowest cost.  There are plenty of workouts that cost nothing or almost nothing!

How do you get your exercise?  Would you consider canceling your health club membership in favor of a less-expensive option?  If you belong to a health club, what are its benefits when compared to other exercise alternatives?