Gym memberships can take a significant bite out of your wallet, costing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars annually. On the low end, gym fees can average about $800 a year, and on the high end over $3,000 a year. If you find the gym membership fees are cost-prohibitive, no worries — there are many ways of achieving your personal fitness goals without breaking the bank. As a matter of fact, you can exercise on the cheap, stay on your budget, and maybe even have a few bucks to squirrel away.

With that said, here are four ways to get fit without spending a lot of money:

Start walking

Walking is by far the simplest, easiest, and offers many benefits to exercisers of all levels and ages. Walking can be done nearly any where, any time, and it's almost impossible to strain or injure your joints with walking.

In Philly, we're extraordinarily lucky because we have an abundance of beautiful green spaces to enjoy exercise outdoors. For starters, we have our old standbys:

  • Kelly Drive

  • Martin Luther King Drive

  • Forbidden Drive

  • Rittenhouse Square

  • Washington Square

And while this is by no means an exhaustive list, the following are also wonderful local spaces to both exercise and soak up some of nature's glory:

  • Bartram's Garden

  • Pennypack Park

  • Awbury Arboretum

  • Penn Treaty Park

  • Tyler Arboretum

  • Benjamin Rush State Park

Create a walking club

Why not create a walking club in your community? A walking club is a great way to meet old friends and new, and best of all, get more exercise.

With social media, it's never been easier to organize like-minded folks, and walking with others with help keep you motivated as well as help others.

Brown bag it

If you're trying to eat healthier, brown-bag it, baby. Many people eat breakfast and lunch out daily, and this puts a real hurting on their waistline, and wallets, too. Just think about it: A typical fast-food breakfast can easily cost between $8 and $10 per day, and a typical inexpensive lunch can easily run $10 to $12 per day. Those dollars add up quickly, and over the course of just one year that's over $5,700 for very expensive inexpensive food.

And let's not even talk about the calories, fat, and sodium that are generally outrageously high and unhealthy. So, if you want to seriously slim down your waistline and your wallet, brown bag it.

Get your kids in the act

No matter their age, get your kids involved in your exercise program. Even if you have an infant, get that stroller out and start moving.

If they are toddlers or older, you can do yoga together, ride bikes together, jump rope, and go hiking. It's been my experience that children love to exercise along side their parents, and I can't think of a better way to create long-lasting memories and cohesive family bonds.

While the economy may go up, or invariably down, always try to make time for self-care by way of exercise. Like most things in life, the fitness lifestyle is all about changing habits and adaptability, and you don't have to break the bank or your budget to make it happen.