We know, we know: You want to get more exercise, but you just don't have the time. Between working, sleeping, eating, socializing, goat-shaving, competitive belching, and those four hours of required television viewing, you just have too much to do during the day to actually worry about getting some exercise. And besides, you're not really too keen on forking over a couple hundred bucks for a health club membership.

Good news for you: there are many ways to get a proper workout without having to spend major amounts of money or blow 3 hours of your day away. Just do it at home! As long as you have a carpet or mat-like floor surface, a few household items, a neon spandex leotard, and a body, you can construct a top-notch exercise routine.

Some things to keep in mind:

  1. We're here to help you plan an exercise routine that's easy on the wallet, but not necessarily easy on the heart rate. So just because you're doing it cheap and quick doesn't mean that you're not gonna sweat.

  2. As you should do before undertaking any new physical hobby, you should let your doctor know about your new exercise plan.

  3. While we'll teach you how to get a cheap home workout, it won't necessarily be free. You may have to buy something such as a ball or a jump rope. What, you thought it would be completely free? Who do we look like, Santa Claus?! At least you won't have to pay eight easy installments of $39.95 for a Thigh Master.


Before you even lift a finger (much less a heavy object), you need to figure out why you want to exercise. There are different goals (and combinations thereof) that you may have, and your goals will affect what your routine will look like. So which is your primary reason for working out?

  1. You want to lose weight. Surprise, surprise. This, along with reason number 2 (see below) is the most common reason for wanting to get some exercise. If this is the case, you should take a gander at our article "So You Wanna Lose Weight?"

    If you want to lose weight, your exercise routine will consist mainly of cardiovascular exercises (we'll show you some in Step 3). You should also consider that for any cardiovascular exercise to be of any benefit to you, you must do it for at least 25 minutes.

  2. You want to tone or strengthen your entire body (or a specific part of your body). Are you sporting more of a one-pack than a six-pack? Whether you want to be sleeker and firmer, or huge and muscle-y, there are tons of things you can do at home without spending any money.

    For toning and strengthening, you are going to concentrate on lifting heavy objects (for toning, you do more lifting with a lighter weight; for strengthening, you do less lifting with a heavier weight). Again, we list plenty of suggestions in Step 3.

  3. You just want to feel better in an all-around kind of way. Beta-endorphins are your brain's "feel good" drug (it's kinda like legal crack), and any form of exercise gets those endorphins pumping through your body, making you feel better both physically and mentally. This is especially true if you exercise in the morning; studies show that substantial exercise in the mornings keeps your endorphin levels elevated throughout the day.

  4. You need an activity to help you relax and relieve stress. Ah, the "catharsis" argument. Some people feel that if they kick along with a Tae Bo tape, then it helps them to unleash frustration and anger, relieving stress in general.

Ideally, a proper exercise routine will help you accomplish all of the above. Exercising on a regular basis is bound to help you lose weight (as long as you're not scarfing down cheeseburgers 24/7), tone up, and feel better about yourself, and relax.