Recession sends gym rats back home to work out

The economy has contributed to sagging memberships at gyms around the country, but thankfully Americans aren't trading in their gym memberships for a spot on the couch. According to the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), many former gym members are turning to free and cheap home exercise options to stay fit.

While the economy is what's causing more people to work out at home, it's the outstanding selection of workout material available for free or bundled with other services that makes getting in shape in your living room a real possibility.

The Journal profiled one couple who found fitness hidden in their Netflix queue, where a wealth of fitness videos awaited them. Netflix subscribers can also stream more than 50 workout videos directly to their computer or TV. Workouts ranging from Yoga and cardio workouts to fat burning and strength-building programs are all included in the monthly fee that many of us are already paying. Another popular source has been the on-demand fitness channels available from many cable operators, which have seen their viewership rise by 1 million viewers per month.

Another great resource for learning a new workout (or to get a better idea of how to do a workout) is Youtube. While there are a lot of promotional videos on Youtube, it is an obvious place to learn better exercise techniques and find the proper way to do a workout for maximum benefit. As a bonus, you can also find cool workout ideas like the prison workout that Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame recently shared. This workout of Burpees can be done in even the smallest of spaces and doesn't require any equipment or investment other than your time.

However you decide to work out, it's clear that cheap and free is the way to be. All it takes is a little bit of ingenuity and maybe even a little bargain hunting. Working out is a great investment to make in yourself and an excellent means of avoiding the general funk that the current economy can put you into. Perhaps the best part about working out in your living room is that you don't have to go anywhere, removing another excuse for not working out -- which should make it easier to follow through.

See also: WalletPop's five mostly free ways to get healthy this spring and Cutting your gym membership? Consider your community center instead.
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