- Take Advantage of Membership Specials. A lot of gyms are offering specials right now. I know at Washington Sports Club (where I go), it’s $0 to join, and last I heard it was $59/month to join. I believe all of the other gyms around town are offering specials too. Also, you can get better deals at gyms if you join at the end of the month when the sales people are trying to meet their quota.
- Do Trial Memberships. Many places offer a first class free or a one or two-week free trial. If you are interested in trying a new hobby such as yoga, boxing or boot camp, the first class is usually free. If you have time on your hands and don’t mind traveling around town, you can keep trying out free offerings until you settle on something you like and start paying.
- Go Running. Running is probably the cheapest sport you can do. All you need is a pair of running shoes and some athletic wear. When it is winter, make sure you layer your clothes, and if you are running at night, go with a friend. If you are alone and running at night, it’s best to skip the Ipod, or if you do use it, only wear one ear bud so you can be aware of your surroundings. Continues after the jump.
- Go For a Walk. Walking is even cheaper than running, although it does not provide the same benefit. Even if you start walking to work or getting off the Metro one stop early and do extra walking everyday, there is a benefit.
- Play Sports. Round up some friends and go play a sport. There are a ton of basketball courts, tennis courts and soccer fields around town that are free to use. All you need to bring is your own gear.
- DC Recreation Facilities are Free. The city has a lot of great recreation facilities that are free to use if you are a resident. Either bring your license or a proof of residence, such as a piece of mail or a bill. One of my favorite places is the Takoma Recreation Center, located at 300 Van Buren St. It has a great pool. There is a gym there as well, which has all the basic equipment, but is not as nice as a private gym.
- Go Biking. After your purchase your bike, helmet and lock, there are no more fees associated with biking. It is a great workout and a good way to see the city or to travel around.
- Workout at Home. If you are motivated enough, you can get a decent workout at your house. You don’t even need equipment. You can do jumping jacks, run in place, do sit-ups, push-ups, etc. You can also buy free weights, a medicine ball or a jump rope for an added boost. I took my little brother’s reject medicine ball and free weights from when he was in middle school (now he plays basketball in college and lifts serious weights) and I use them at home sometimes when I don’t feel like going to the gym or I want a quick fitness break.