July 18, 2018

How to get in shape on a budget

With warmer weather finally here, it’s the perfect time to shake the winter doldrums and commit to becoming more active. Thankfully, you don’t need an expensive gym membership to exercise. Below are some steps you can take to help you get in shape without breaking the bank.

Experts recommend adults get about two and a half hours of moderate exercise per week to achieve health benefits. This includes activities like bike riding and brisk walking.

How to stay active without a gym membership

Don’t get us wrong: A gym can be a great place to exercise. Whether it’s cardiovascular or strength training, the combination of fitness equipment, classes and expert advice from trainers can be a great resource on the road to a healthier lifestyle.

But gym fees can be pricey and there are plenty of home and outdoor exercise options that can help you reach your fitness goals.

Exercises you can do at home

Bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups and even pullups can be used for strength training. Whether you perform them in your basement or in a hotel room, these workouts are great for those too busy to make it to the gym on a regular basis.

Alternatively, you can often purchase used weights and other equipment online or at garage sales and assemble your own gym at home.

Running outside

Jogging is an excellent way to help get fit. There are plenty of online resources for beginners who want to develop a regular running routine. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and take advantage of Canada’s warm weather months.

Summer (or winter) sports leagues

When it comes to team sports, the options are numerous for those living in Canadian cities, no matter the season. While sports like softball and ultimate frisbee dominate this scene during the summer months, there are other options, including soccer, volleyball and cricket. During the winter months, you can sign up to play floor hockey, curling or dodgeball, among others.

If team sports aren’t your thing, there are numerous amateur competitions in individual sports like tennis, golf and squash.

Coupon classes

Web sites that offer coupons, tend to have limited-time offers on fitness classes, including boot camp full-body workouts, martial arts and weight lifting. There are also some less intense options, like yoga and meditation.

You can take advantage of special deals to become better acquainted with these activities without committing to paying more expensive annual membership dues.


This is Canada: You don’t need a ton of expensive gear and several vacation days to take advantage of some great hiking trails near the country’s largest cities. Hiking is a fantastic way to connect with the great outdoors while taking in some beautiful scenery. There are plenty of online resources to help get you started. Grab a sturdy pair of shoes and head out with some friends to explore the best of what our natural urban environments have to offer.


Swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise for most people. Many Canadian cities maintain outdoor pools during the warmer summer months. While you may not be swimming laps at these facilities, it can be a great way to cool off with friends and family while getting active.

Many municipalities operate swimming lessons at local community centres for both adults and children year-round. Check online listings in your area for more information.

Household chores/gardening

Sometimes it can feel like work around the home is never-ending. The good news is that when it comes to your physical health, many household chores are may be beneficial. Even tasks like sweeping, dusting and vacuuming count as physical activity.

And for more outdoor-minded types, gardening can be not only a great source of moderate physical activity, but a way to help improve your mental health as well.

Talk to an expert

Not feeling confident in your finances? You can talk to one of our financial security advisors who will work with you to craft a financial plan tailored to your needs.

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