Getting fit and staying that way doesn’t necessarily need to cost you a lot of money or even time, and while you may think that joining a gym will provide you with incentive to work out, it doesn’t often work that way. Incentive starts with you; all you need is a good plan and a variety of different activities to keep you motivated and challenged. The following seven tips will help you stay fit without ever setting foot inside a gym.

1. Explore your area

Chances are there are plenty of nature trails, bicycle paths, undisturbed meadows or boardwalks in your area that you never even knew about. Make a point of finding out about all the outdoor activities and nature spots in your area and then exploring a new area every week. You can choose how to explore them, walking, running, jogging, cycling or rollerblading are all excellent ways to keep moving and enjoy the outdoors.

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2. Invest in some fitness DVDs

For those days when it’s raining or just too cold to take your exercise outdoors, you can try a few fitness DVDs. While they may get boring if you do them too often, they can be perfect for spicing up your routine and trying a few different types of exercise. You can find fitness DVDs for every imaginable activity, from yoga and Pilates to boxing or even striptease workouts.

3. Get a bicycle

If you don’t already have one, you should seriously consider investing in a good bicycle. Owning a bicycle allows you to beat the traffic by cycling to work a few days a week or even make your run to the store for a forgotten item on the bicycle rather than in the car. This will keep you active even when you’re not consciously working out.

4. Go dancing

Rather than going to the movies on your night off, consider heading to a club for some dancing instead. Any type of dancing, from ballroom to salsa or hip-hop, will give your body an excellent work out and get your heart rate going. It’s also a fun and sociable way to get some exercise into your busy schedule.

5. Try speed workouts

Speed workouts, when done correctly, can actually be just as effective (if not more so) as work outs that take one or two hours. Do a 15 to 20 minute workout in the morning before you head to work, or when you get back. Just make sure you get your heart rate up. A fast sprint or series of jumping jacks and squats are examples of suitable speed workout activities.

6. Walk (or run) a dog

Dogs can be excellent motivators to get outside and get moving even when you don’t feel like it. Your dog won’t care whether it’s cold and wet warm and sunny, all it wants is to run. If you can’t or don’t want to get your own dog, you can volunteer to walk a friend’s dog once or twice a week.

7. Take up a new sport

Joining a sports club may cost a bit, but taking part in any sport, whether its volleyball, football or water polo, will give you the opportunity to socialize and interact with others while staying fit. You’ll also have the positive peer pressure of your team mates to keep you on the right track.

Ally is part of the team that manages Budgeting Spreadsheet and How To Save Money, which are personal-related sites based in Sydney, Australia. Before joining the BS & HTSM, she was a Media Planner in McCann Worldgroup Philippines, Inc., with award-winning executions, including the Levi’s 501 “Live Unbuttoned” global campaign.

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