For a while, I shelled out $80 a month for a fancy New York City gym that had it all: rows of top-of-the-line equipment, a sauna, steam room and every fitness class imaginable. It even offered a saltwater pool.
It took a long time, about 18 months, but I came to realize that I wasn't getting my money's worth. When I went to the gym, I found myself only using one machine: the treadmill. I didn't once pick up the shiny weights, nor did I set foot in the sleek spin studio. I still don't know the difference between a sauna and a steam room.
I could have downgraded to a cheaper, less luxurious gym and stuck to my treadmill routine, but I decided to eliminate the cost all together. It's been 18 months since I gave it up and I've already saved $1,440. And it hasn't come at the expense of my health.
I've found that, while a gym can provide extra incentive to work out, I don't necessarily need one to stay in shape. Here are my favorite free and equally healthy alternatives.