We all know that exercise can help control your weight, fight stress, help you get a good night’s sleep, and boost your immunity—but the recession has many of us putting our health and fitness on the back burner. A quarter of Americans polled recently by the American Heart Association said they’d cut their gym memberships within the previous six months due to economic strain.
If you’re juggling your finances and your fitness goals, here are some ways you can still hit the gym on the cheap:
Tone down the extras. We’d all like a health club with aromatherapy oils in the bathrooms and a spa massage pool, but membership fees for boutique gyms can cause sticker shock. Instead, choose a gym that offers the amenities, equipment, and classes you need, and a membership fee that fits your budget, but skip the boutique touches like fancy towels.
Jump on summer deals. Many gyms are reducing monthly rates and waiving enrollment fees just in time for summer. The YMCA health club in my neighborhood is offering a summer membership at a flat-rate of $200—and for an extra $75, you can enroll your children.
Haggle. A recent Consumer Reports poll found that more than 66 percent of Americans have tried to haggle their way into a better deal in the past six months, and most consumers who asked for a discount were successful, so give it a try for a gym membership discount. And ask about short-term memberships, such as a 6-month, instead of a 1- or 2-year so that you’re not locked into a long-term payment schedule.
Don’t sweat it. If you know you’re not going to use your gym membership at least 3 times a week, you’d be pennywise to let it go and try a fitness regimen that suits your lifestyle. Try bike riding, a water workout, yoga, exergaming, or even your own home gym for under $100 (right).
Image: Abdullah Al-Naser