All the cool kids go to the gym or so it sometimes seems. People are forking out hundreds of dollars per year for a membership that may be used rarely, if at all. Sure, the gym is great and all but what do you do if you can't afford the fees? Better yet, what if you've done the whole gym thing but it just bores you to tears? For the millions of people that choose to not go the typical gym route, there are actually hundreds of available options for working out in someplace other than your living room and many of these options are absolutely free. There are few things that fire up a mood like a free deal, so check out some of these ideas and let the enthusiasm take you right out your front door and into a fitness world that won't cost you a dime!
Put your tax dollars to work.
Paying taxes can be a fairly depressing business, especially since you can't be sure of ever seeing that money again. The good news is that you can get a return on your local dues by checking out the recreation facilities offered by your county or municipality. The majority of tax-levying counties across the country actually do put some of that money into services for citizens. Call your local Department of Sports and Recreation to find out about the kind of resources offered in your area. At the very least you should expect to find tennis courts and a swimming pool. Put in an hour of laps a few times during the week and you've got yourself a nice body-shaping tool. Tennis courts frequently double as basketball courts, so find a friend to play a set or a game of horse. Larger counties may offer more sophisticated services that include weight rooms, fitness centers, walking tracks, and more, so it's important to find out exactly what's available for your needs. Nearly all county recreation services are free but if there is a fee, it will be minimal. After all, that's what all those taxes are for!
Surf the Internet, not the ocean.
When your routine needs some variety, surf the Internet to find a free one-day pass to a local gym or fitness studio. Plenty of chain gyms do this to entice potential customers into signing on with them, but even smaller mom-and-pop centers are offering passes. Do a fast Internet search to find printable passes for most gyms. While you can't make a regular habit out of using free passes, it can be a nice way to mix things up and surprise your body.
Pretend to be a kid again.
You probably have your old bike stowed away somewhere around your house, so why not pull it out, dust it off, and take a ride? Bicycling is a fantastic way to burn calories and shape up the lower half of your body, especially if you ride in hilly areas that can surprise the muscles. If your bike needs some fixing up, try to do it yourself or ask a friend. For those of you who gave away the bike along with the bong, go to a couple of yard sales to find one secondhand. You can typically tell right away if a bike is in good condition or not, plus at a yard sale you can bargain with the seller to get a better price. While this might call for a small initial investment, biking on public streets is totally free and gives you a great workout. Remember to take safety precautions by always wearing a helmet and attaching reflective safety tape to your body if you ride at night.
Go to the dogs.
This can be a cool double play if you handle your cards right. Look up dog groomers and dog boarders in your phone book, and then make some calls to find out if anyone needs a part-time or contract dog-walker. When you find a job, you'll be getting fit and getting paid at the same time. Not only is that wildly cool but it's actually paying you to exercise. What could be sweeter?
Check out the library.
If you haven't been your local public library in a while, it's not the same place you remember from childhood. Modern library science has caught up with the rest of the world and introduced compact discs, videotapes and even DVDs to the bookshelves. Many libraries now offer exercise videos and DVDs for checkout, so cruise over to your own local place and have a chat with the friendly librarian. Checkout periods can vary from as few as three days to as much as three weeks, so it's important to use whatever tapes and DVDs you check out as soon as possible. Having to return an exercise tape you didn't even look at can be discouraging, so make a point to work out with your temporary tape as soon as possible
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