How to get fit without a gym membership

"All you need are a few inexpensive props and a good fitness routine to get started," said Gayle Williams, who serves as the health editor at Consumer Reports.

Take the stability ball, for instance. It can help build your core strength and improve your balance. You can also use it to tone your glutes and legs. And it only costs about $30.

Want another instant cardio workout? Try jumping rope for 15 minutes. A jump rope with nonslip foam handles is the best and costs around $6. Or you can try hula hooping. Not only is it a good cardio exercise, it's also great for your core. They to go for about $6.

"Elastic bands or tubes are another great item to have. You can use them for resistance training to strengthen and tone your muscles," Williams said of the items that go for about $8 and up.

Exercise mats are also handy. The extra cushioning is helpful for push-ups and other exercises you do on the floor. They go for about $20. Free weights are another useful tool. A pair costs anywhere from $10 to $60. "If you can, buy two pairs -- a lighter pair to work your arms and shoulders, and a heavier pair to work your back and chest," Williams said.

To develop a good exercise routine with aerobic exercise aim for 30 minutes five days a week. And do strength training two to three days a week.

Another great form of exercise that doesn't have to cost a thing is plain old walking. If the weather's not great, walk at the mall. Just be sure to skip the food court!

A pedometer is handy for tracking how much you walk. You can buy one for $20-$30 or download a pedometer app for your phone for around $4.

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