Bye Bye Jelly Roll, Hello Hottie – 12 Free Exercise Ideas

free exercise ideas

I can say jelly roll cause I got one, let's just get that cleared up right away;) Today Lynn Grieger who is a certified Wellcoach, personal trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine will be sharing some of her favorite free exercise tips. Lynn is also an  Everyday Health Calorie Counter contributor.

Does the price of a gym membership or the latest exercise class send you straight to the couch with a box of cookies?

You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to enjoy the benefits of exercise.  In fact, you can get all of the benefits of working out with a pricey personal trainer, attending a packed spin class or joining the hottest gym in town without spending a single cent!

How? There are 3 basic methods to getting a great workouts for free:

  • Utilize free exercise opportunities in your community
  • Use your own body weight
  • Put technology to work for you

12 Free, Fun Exercise Ideas…

1. Run bleachers

Skip the gym and take exercise outdoors. Many communities provide a parcourse or fitness trail  in a park with built-in strength training stations for push-ups, chin-ups, and triceps dips.  Run up and down the bleachers at the local high school stadium or use its track for wind sprints, adding quick bursts of intensity to the workout.

2. Do a playground challenge

Instead of spending money to participate in a playground challenge event, invite friends to join you at a local school playground. Go hand over hand on the monkey bars, strengthen your arms on the swing, or climb the ropes.

3. Dust off that old equipment

Everyone has fitness equipment gathering dust in a closet, basement or attic. Shoot baskets, play wiffle ball in the backyard, toss a football, get friends together to play frisbee, jump rope, or let loose your inner child with a hula hoop.

4. Use the park

Utilize your community park facilities. Even my community of less than 3,000 people has a park with basketball and tennis courts, a walking path, and a skateboard park.

5. Borrow exercise DVDs from the library

Each week you can follow a different exercise program led by a top-notch instructor without spending one dime.

6. Take advantage of exercise programs at work

Many companies provide free yoga or Pilates classes and some even have an on-site gym. If you're not sure just talk to your HR contact.

7. Use your body weight to your advantage

Instead of fancy exercise machines, use your body weight. Push-ups strengthen your upper body, squats build strong leg muscles and planks work your core muscles. Build your arms with triceps dips on a chair or bench.

8. Re-purpose milk jugs

Instead of buying expensive weights or joining the gym, strength train with plastic milk or orange juice jugs filled with sand or water.

9. Get creative with what you consider “workout equipment”

Follow the latest and most intense functional exercise programs by using ‘weights’ you have in your home. Pick up the spare tires stacked in the corner of the garage and carry them down the driveway and back. Stack wood for the fireplace. Fill a backpack with books or a 10 pound bag of flour and go for a hike.

10. Take your exercise online

There are so many free websites that include a variety of exercises. provides hundreds of exercise ideas, and free yoga workouts with videos are available at and

11. Turn on Cable TV stations

It's not just Sit and Be Fit style shows. Cable TV usually has several exercise channels with professional instructors who lead Pilates, yoga, or other types of classes.

12. Put your smartphone to work

With dozens of free apps that offer everything from strength training to high-energy exercise classes. Get motivated with Jillian Michaels, trainer for the Biggest Loser, in your head with her free app or download Workout Trainer (designed for Android phones), to get hundreds of exercises – all for free.


How do you stay fit for cheap and what are your favorite free exercises? 

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