In these times of financial uncertainty, lots of us are tightening our financial belts. But that doesn't have to lead to a loosening of our actual belts. People are trying to save money wherever they can, and that can include gym memberships or private training. But the need for staying fit stays the same.
So I'd like to offer a few ideas. For a long time I didn't have a gym membership because I couldn't afford it. I still managed to stay in very good shape. I simply worked out at home. I ran or walked for cardio work (or went hiking whenever I had a chance). I did some exercises in my apartment: crunches, pushups, squats, lunges - things that didn't take any special equipment or much space.
And I did my best to add exercise into my daily routine. I walked instead of riding a bus or subway, and I took stairs instead of elevators or escalators. I also made exercises out of household chores: lifted a bag of rice or carton of juice 10 times before putting it away, did squats while talking on the phone to the phone company, or quietly did tummy tucks while sitting on a bus or in my car. (these are the sorts of things that people often laugh at when I mention them in workshops - each thing may seem like nothing, but they add up to be a lot like exercise)
Of course, going to the gym can help you get into an exercise routine (every day at lunchtime you work out, or go 3 days a week after work). It can also be very motivating: it's much easier to track your progress with regular gym visits than lifting your groceries at home.
Even if you are really trying to cut costs, a personal trainer can still be an economical choice. It is really beneficial to work with a trainer at least a few times. If you can't afford regular sessions, try just a single session once in a while. The trainer can make sure you are exercising safely and effectively, give you new ideas, and help to keep you motivated. Or try doing some small group sessions - talk your friends into coming with you. Having a small group training session is often a very economical choice.
But even regular, individual personal training can still be an economical option if you consider the long-term costs of not exercising. There are so many health costs that can be linked to inactivity. If you factor in the cost of missed work days from illness or bad back; or healthcare costs of diabetes, heart disease, or cancer (all things that can be linked to inactivity or obesity); paying for a personal trainer seems like good financial planning.
Besides, exercising is a great stress reducer!