Getting into fitness is lots of fun in the summer months. The sun is shining, the wind is warm, and the light stays bright till late in the night. Taking part in summer fitness is also super affordable. With warm summer days there’s no need to bundle up in expensive gyms or hibernate at home.

To get your motor running, muscles flexing, and calories burning, consider some of these affordable fitness activities. You don’t need a personal trainer to get some fun into your fitness. I’ve also included some fitness ideas help you get out the door and into the fresh summer air.


Here are 10 free ways to get into fitness this summer:

1. Walking

Don’t knock the walk! Going bipedal for 20 minutes a day is a sure fire way to get fit. Walking is an affordable and enjoyable way to burn calories, get some fresh air, and enjoy the summer months. Walking has been shown to burn anywhere from 280 to 600 calories per hour, depending on your intensity. Here’s how to fit some walking fitness into your busy day:

  • Commute. Walk to school or work. If your school or employer is too far away, try walking part-way then hopping on a bus! You’ll save money on gas and get fit to boot!
  • Lunch Bunch. Go for a lunch time walking break. Ask your colleagues to join you for a walking Lunch Bunch group. You may just feel refreshed for the rest of your afternoon!
  • Store Stroll. Need some milk? Leave your car at home and stroll on over to your local corner store for some exercise. If you’re more adventurous, bring a bag and walk to your grocery store! Toting your food home is wicked good exercise and prevents you from buying unnecessary stuff! (Who wants to carry lots of packaged food?)
  • Dog Walk. Got a doggie? Well take that pooch for a longer walk and get the benefits of a healthier heart and a happier dog.
  • Supper Shuffle. Settle your stomach after your nightly supper meal with a summer shuffle. Go for a turn around the block or just down the street. Not only will your digestion thank you, but you’ll feel fitter for it.

Warning: you may just fit into your skinny jeans!

2. Gardening

Planting, digging, mowing, weeding, or hoeing a garden all offer free summer fitness! I would not have believed this myself, but when I started my own garden this spring I couldn’t get over the energy expended just planting beans and tomatoes! By gardening, I found muscles I swear I didn’t know existed. Here are some ways to get fit for free by gardening:

  • Push Your Mower. Use a “push reel mower” to trim your grassy lawn. Push mowers help you to burn calories, use muscles, and get free exercise! No gym membership required! Not only will you tame your yard and get fitter, but you’ll save money on electricity or gas by not using a powered lawn mower. Push mowers only cost about $65-$200 bucks each, so they are cheaper then energy sucking power models. See 10 Ways to Grow Grass and Cut Lawn Care Costs for a few frugal mowing tips.
  • Hand Weed. Stop spraying harmful pesticides and chemicals on unwanted weeds. Get a spade and dig out the wonky weeds by hand. You’ll be kinder to the environment and build arm muscles to boot!
  • Plant some veggies. Planting tomatoes, potatoes, beans, and lettuce takes a little work but the outcome can be delicious (and nutritious). Getting a garden growing requires lots of physical movement too. Lots of standing, sitting, crouching, and bending. You may just build stronger legs and tighten your core muscles at the same time. Wash board abs anyone? Check out Getting Dirty with Square Foot Gardening to save some green on your garden.
  • Harvest the crop. Got a little orchard? Tomatoes have ripened on the vine? Well, bringing home the summer crop can blast the pounds away. It’s a good thing you’ll have delicious food to feed your hungry self when you’re done!

Indeed gardening encourages both fitness and food health. But the satisfaction of growing your own food is really the best part.

3. Volunteering

Looking for athletic inspiration? Want to see what certain sports are all about? Why not volunteer at a local event! Every town or city I’ve lived in hosts various running, biking, triathlon, or walking events for sport or fundraising. Local running races are an awesome way to watch everyday average people attain their goals of finishing a 5KM, 10KM, or a marathon race. Volunteers can hand out food and water, officiate, cheer, or line the course helping tired athletes to the finishing line. Not only is it fun to watch, but you’ll meet some awesome people too! Here’s how to find and volunteer for the local races in your area:

  • Running Shoe Store. Lace up your runners and head on out to your friendly neighborhood running shoe store. These stores always list running races for their customers. Chances are the store manager will have a cork board with every event’s pamphlet hanging and ready for you to take home. Since every event needs volunteers, just ask the store staff for contact information. Race organizers are always delighted to find friendly help.
  • Bike Store Interested in a local bike race? Then get your wheels spinning and sprint over to your local bike store. Race pamphlets will be ready for the taking. Just call the race director and offer to help!

I’ve volunteered at several sporting events over the years, and I’m always inspired after helping out! In fact, I felt so inspired after helping out at an Ironman Canada Triathlon that I actually signed-up and completed this race twice! So do try volunteering, you may just become one of those racing athletes one day!

4. Biking

If you have wheels, you will travel! Riding a bicycle is a simple and fun way to get some fitness into your life. Many cities and towns now boast bike lanes to help riders share the roads. If you’re not into city riding, why not hit the trails and commune with nature. Getting the family involved in a weekend pedaling expedition is a frugal and fun way to spend time with the kids and enjoy some summer fitness. Besides, getting the kiddies on a bike will ensure they rest well and sleep deep! Here are some ways to get some Tour de Biking in:

  • Commute. Try riding your bike to work or school a few times a week. Commuting to work is free exercise, saves gas dollars, and lets you pocket your bus fare. You may just build buns of steel while saving big bucks.
  • Weekend Warrior. Secure your helmet and go for a Saturday spin. There’s nothing like getting some fresh air and feeling the wind in your hair. Just be sure to wear your sunblock!
  • Join a Club. There are many riding clubs to be found in various cities and towns in your area. Lots of like-minded biking babes meet up for a regular Saturday or Sunday ride every weekend. You’ll probably need some decent bike handling skills to ride with this bunch, so don’t be shy and give your local bike shop a call to find out when the train leaves town. Club riding is also an awesome way to meet new people. Many rides tend to start and end at local coffee shops, so bring your latte dollars and enjoy some fresh brew after a refreshing ride.

5. Swimming

Sometimes you need to get soaked to get skinny. Swimming is a wonderful way to float to fitness. If you have painful joints or an injury of sorts, then why not get buoyant and take the pressure of your body. If you live near the ocean or by a local lake, then get your suit on and wade into some friendly water. If your area is landlocked, then head on over to your local pool for a refreshing summer dip. Public pools will only cost you a few bucks to take a dip. You won’t get soaked by the fitness fees. Here are some ways to take a dip this summer:

  • Local Lakes. If you’re lucky to live near water then why not do some laps in a local lake. It’s free and fun to swim with nature abound.
  • Beach Bum. Get some sand between your toes and walk along a beach. Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet.
  • Local Pool. Many regions provide residents with an outdoor pool. It’s fun to swim under the sun. The kiddies will love the fresh air too.
  • Master’s Swim Club. Can’t get enough water? Call up your local swimming hole and ask about joining a Master’s Swim Club! Most clubs cater to varying skill levels so don’t fear if you’re swimming is less than Olympic standard. Many clubs are fun, friendly, and provide a coach on deck to get your technique perfected! There is a fee but your health and fitness are priceless.

So strap your Speedo on and get dunked for some swimming this summer.

6. Take a Hike

Strap your hiking boots on and go take a hike! Hiking is a fabulous way to meet friendly folks and enjoy nature. Many regions have Outdoor Clubs which will meet up and carpool for weekend jaunts. Be sure to bring your bug spray, granola bars, and sunscreen. I am always amazed with how fit one can get by walking around nature.

7. Roller blading

Want to go for a spin? Get wheeled to summer fitness by blading-up for some serious roller blading fun. All you need is some decent pavement to roll into fitness. I’ve lived in many cities where major roads are shut down on a sunny Saturday or Sunday for families to wheel around town. Roller blading is fun and frugal once you have the gear. Be sure to rent some wheels first before committing to a kit though, as this sport is not for everyone. Are you a winter hockey player? Many hockey playing dudes would be wise to get fit for winter games by rolling into summer on wheeled blades.

8. Running

Walking not your thing? Then get a move on and run away this summer. Running is an exceptional form of cardiovascular fitness. Word of warning though, if you’re not used to pounding the pavement it’s really easy to get injured. Nothing sours the summer more than an ouchy sports injury. If you’re already fit from walking, then try joining a Learn To Run program at your local running shoe store. The experts there should carefully ease you into running using a mix of running and walking to strengthen your muscles and joints. Whether you’re running or walking, both forms of exercise will get you fitter and healthier this season!

9. Join a Team!

Sometimes the best way to get fit is make it a team event! Team sports are a wonderful way to socialize, meet like-minded people, and get fit as a fiddle! Some of the most popular team sports include: baseball, soccer, football, ultimate frisbee, beach volleyball, road racing, and softball. So ask your friends if they need a spare player and hit a home run for fitness.

10. Play with your Kids

Kids are naturally energetic. Just keeping up with the kiddies can burn more calories than a marathon runner. So harness that unstoppable energy and have some summer fun outdoors with your kids. Toss a ball, throw a Frisbee, play tag, or just get silly with a game of hide-and-go-seek. You heart rate will rise, your fitness will flourish, and you will be spending time with the most important ones in your life, your family.

Your Thoughts: What are your frugal summer fitness activities?