New Year's weight-loss crowd looks for budget-friendly options


As the New Year's Resolution crowd looks to lose weight once again, many people are combining it with another recession-inspired resolution: managing money better.

WalletPOP's Geoff Williams has been chronicling his efforts to lose weight while saving money, and I recently looked at how exercise videos can offer an affordable alternative to the gym for fitness newcomers. Today, The Wall Street Journalreports on (subscription required) a few other possibilities: walking around the mall in groups, participating in free or ultra low-cost yoga classes, and bike paths.

Time Magazine covered the rise of mall-walking way back in 1985, and recommends checking with the information desk at your local mall to find out about mall walking programs. Alternatively, you could just go to the mall and walk around on your own without the structure and motivation of companions there to talk you out of ducking into the Godiva store for refreshments.

You could also go vintage and buy this Suzanne Somers Thighmaster on eBay -- complete with the instructional VHS! Or you could go really vintage -- as in practically antique -- and work out with Jack Lalanne, who has uploaded some of his vintage exercise programs onto his website so you can watch them on your laptop while you work out. He's 95 years old, and he's in better shape than most 20-year-olds. So clearly he knows of what he speaks.

The bottom line is that lack of money is never an excuse for not getting in shape. There are tons of alternatives to gym memberships that cost little or nothing.