It's two a.m. Work, family or personal issues kept me from catching ZZZZZs, so I turn on the TV and I'm welcomed to infomercial purgatory. Kitchen gadgets. Hair removal. Exercise? You bet. Buy a Beachbody Insanity fitness program for $119.85. Choose from Peak Fitness and RushFit at $89.95. Pick a pricey Biggest Loser program. Ouch. My wallet could get skinny given all these options. That's when I went on a personal mission to find free workout programs.
1) Show up at the library. I never found a clump of people sweating to the oldies while librarians implored them to keep the noise down, but I did find a section in my library dedicated to contemporary workout programs. Follow my lead: visit your library's website and search for exercise and workout videos. See nothing that's compelling? No worries. I conducted an "inter-library loan" search to check multiple libraries in my community's system and came up with some of the same titles I saw on those 2 a.m. infomercials. Your library represents your tax dollars at work, by the way, so avail yourself of everything it has to offer.
2) Visit thrift shops. Recycling is alive and well - especially in large resale shops, charity boutiques and second hand stores where stuff consumers no longer want finds homes. According to the Aureus Medical Group, statistics prove that New Year's resolutions like "get on an exercise program" only last about six weeks. Given this reality, I checked out the shelves of thrift shops and found plenty of choice - especially after March -- with $1 price tags attached to barely-used videos. I cut a deal with resale shop management to buy an entire series for a couple of bucks. You won't know if you can follow suit if you don't ask.
3) Turn to PBS. The Public Broadcasting System does more than keep audience minds engaged: there are all sorts of free workout programs available via affiliate stations throughout the country and you can pick and choose from them without spending a dime. There's plenty of variety so I was able to sample T'ai chi, yoga and Zumba via my local PBS station and realized I was more a traditional floor exercise person without spending a cent. If you like dynamic workouts, your job is to TIVO the series of your choice while you're at work and then replay the day's broadcast when you get home.
4) Power up your computer. Sure, friends plague you with inane YouTube videos throughout the day, but did you know that there are seriously slammin' workouts that rival pricey DVDs available via YouTube and they don't cost a cent? Long or short, there's a program for everyone from kids to seniors. By the way, if you really hate to exercise alone and have pals in need of opportunity and motivation, you can broadcast YouTube video exercise classes on your basement TV and invite friends to join you. Use the money you save on media and/or classes on anything you like to celebrate both your budgetary acumen and fitness successes.
*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.
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