5 Free and Easy Ways to Work Exercise Into Your Day

Older man in white shirt on a hiking trail smiling while exercising.

If you’ve watched TV lately or scrolled on your phone it seems like endless ads for gym memberships or pricey exercise equipment pop up all the time but who needs to spend a cent when you can exercise for free?

Sometimes, we think we’ll work out when we have the money to join a gym or save for that fancy bike. Why bother? Some of the most effective exercise doesn’t cost a penny.


Read on!

[Note: It’s always best to check with your doctor or healthcare provider before starting any exercise program to prevent injury and to address your specific health needs.]

  1. Climb stairs. Sounds almost too simple, right? Climbing stairs is an excellent form of exercise and better yet it’s free! According to research, going up and down stairs will get your heart pumping and uses your own body weight to work your leg and ab muscles. It can build muscle and bone density and help you lose weight. The stairs can be in your home or apartment complex or out in public but make sure they are safe and have a secure railing and start slowly at first and build up your stamina.
  2. Walk. Think you need something fancy? Think again. It may be basic but walking has many health and fitness benefits and requires zero equipment, just a good pair of sneakers or comfortable shoes. Best yet, you can do it anywhere, up and down a hallway or out your front door to the street, a local track or even the mall. There’s even a website listing the best malls to walk and why and a mall finder for good mall walking locations near you. Just make sure you walk in a safe area that’s well lit and has sidewalks.
  1. Old-fashioned calisthenics. Ah, the word calisthenics. Remember when you were in school your gym teacher would have you do jumping jacks, pushups, squats, lunges, etc.? Well, you can do the exact same thing at home, in your yard, in a park or any place at any time and it’s a great workout for your entire body. Start slowly and don’t overdo it and build from there. You can Google routines or talk to your doctor about which exercises to start and which ones to avoid based on your level of fitness.
  2. Hiking. According to the National Park Service, hiking is a full-body workout with many fitness benefits including:
    • Building stronger muscles and bones
    • Improving your sense of balance
    • Improving your heart health
    • Decreasing the risk of certain respiratory problems
  3. Click here to find one of the 21,000 trails where you can hike or check out your local town or city webpage for additional hiking areas or check out a site like AllTrails which can lead you to a local hiking location.
  4. Gardening. Here’s a great way to burn some calories and get moving while getting outside and improving your property. Simple gardening or yard work can burn 200-300 calories including mowing the lawn with a push mower, raking and pruning.  

Curious about how the outdoors can improve your mental health? Check out How the Outdoors and Mental Health Relate in Retirement.

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