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I've been spending a lot of my free time getting into better shape. Sometimes I hit up cardio machines at the gym, but when I don't have time, there's always the option to work out at home. As a college kid, I don't have the money or the space to put a huge elliptical machine or exercise bike in my dorm room, so wanted to find a way to affordably create a home gym that's just as effective.
Sure, there are hundreds of ways to get your daily workout fix for free, all depending on your body type and what types of activities you most enjoy. If you love to dance, for instance, find a dance-related fitness class On Demand or streaming through Amazon and rock out in your living room. If you're more traditional in your workout choices, try a power walk or run in your neighborhood. (I always zone out to my iPod so I can enjoy my workout and my playlist at the same time!)
To tone your body in different ways without breaking the bank, build a home gym with these 5 Thrifty Things — totaling just $67!
Reebok Neoprene Dumbells ($13.99, Amazon.com)
Dumbells are a perfect way to tone all the muscles in your arms while still being affordable. I use these 10 pound weights that I bought at Amazon for only $13.99 (a small price to pay for the proven effectiveness and versatility of simple hand weights).
2. Everlast Chin-Up and Sit-Up Bar ($15, Amazon.com)
This chin-up bar from Everlast is easy to use, portable, and cheap. At just under $15, it's the perfect way to professionalize your home gym. If you're looking to tone your arms using your own body weight (which doesn't cost a thing!) there's really nothing better than repetitions on a chin-up bar.
3. Yoga Ball Body Therapy and System Kit ($20, Gaiam.com)
This yoga mat and massage ball set is an amazing value. The kit comes with two different size exercise balls to assist with leg and core exercises, and even includes a 30-minute workout DVD to show you how to properly use your new gear to get the best results. (There are also plenty of great free yoga workouts On Demand, YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, and thousands of fitness websites and blogs.)
4. Xertube Resistance Bands ($10.50, Amazon.com)
In order to avoid having to buy different size weights as you progress, pick up these resistance bands. They come with a door attachment to provide different levels of resistance in your exercises, allowing you to adjust the resistance for your own level. Use the exercise chart to learn and customize your workout for the best results.
5. GoFit Classic Jump Rope ($7, Amazon.com)
"Skipping" is back in style at gyms across the country, and a jump rope is a must-have for anyone looking to work out at home. Plus, you can pretty much always find a jump rope less than $10! Use this one 20 to 30 minutes a day for fun cardio and weight-loss exercises that will make your heart, abs, legs, and arms stronger while bringing you back to the playground days of your childhood.
Story: Copyright 2010, Shoestring LLC. Photo: Shutterstock.com.