7 Cheapest Sports to Help You Get Active Without Breaking the Bank

Cheapest Sports to Help You Get Active Without Breaking the Bank

With the weather warming up, many people are looking for ways to get outside and get active. However, taking up a new sport or hobby can be expensive. But before you invest a small fortune, consider these 7 cheap sports that can help you get active without breaking the bank.

7 Cheap Sports to Help You Get Active Without Breaking the Bank

1. Hiking

With the promise of summer just around the corner, I cannot wait to enjoy my favorite outdoor activity with my husband and friends. I always look forward to the chance to get back to nature and explore the trails near us.

One reason why hiking has always appealed to me is that you can do it nearly anywhere at any time of the year. We use apps like AllTrails to find different trails based on proximity, length, and skill level. Although we may opt for more difficult ones when we go solo, you can also find trails that will be easy and enjoyable for everyone.

The truth is that you don’t need to be extremely fit to enjoy hiking.  There are plenty of flat, scenic trails that are accessible to everyone, including children and senior citizens. And if you’re taking your family, you can create your own games to make it more fun for the kids. We’ve created nature-themed scavenger hunts, played I Spy along the trails, or made up identification games by looking for things based on color or letters of the alphabet.

And the best part is that it’s usually free, unless you are trying to hike through State or National Parks. Otherwise, all you’ll need is a good pair of shoes, some water, and snacks for the day. As you become more serious or plan longer hikes, you may upgrade your gear. But it isn’t necessary to get started. If you’re like me, you may discover a new hobby that helps you get active without breaking the bank.

2. Running

Running is one of the best forms of aerobic exercise. Not only is it a great way to strengthen your muscles and cardiovascular system, but it is also one of the most effective ways to burn calories. And you can run just about anywhere with clear paths or sidewalks including around your neighborhood, the track at local schools, parks, or designated walking trails. You don’t need a treadmill to start running; just a long stretch of pavement and your favorite playlist.

Additionally, it can be a solitary exercise that is part of your fitness regimen. Or, you can find a running partner or exercise group that meets regularly if you need support to stay motivated. In addition to holding you accountable, it can also make it more fun.

Since running can be an intense sport, high-quality shoes are a must to prevent injuries. You may also need supportive braces if you have weak ankles or bad knees like me. I typically spend about $50-$100 for a good pair of cross-trainers and about $20-$30 for durable braces. Although it’s a significant upfront investment, they will last you for years with proper care.

3. Swimming

Swimming is another one of my favorite forms of exercise. In my opinion, it gives you the best full-body workout because it engages every muscle group. And, you never realize how much you’re sweating since you’re in the water.

Although it is an activity you can do in any body of water, there are some safety considerations. Therefore, I usually stick to pools with lap lanes or designated swimming areas at local beaches.

All you really need to get started is a swimsuit and a place to go. However, I also use goggles and a swimming cap to keep my hair out of my face. My swimwear usually costs around $50 while a good pair of goggles is somewhere in the neighborhood of $20. Cheaper ones will work, but you may want to invest in prescription ones if you wear glasses.

If you feel uncomfortable in the water, it would be a good idea to start with swim lessons. You can find affordable classes through a local pool, YMCA, rec center, or school to teach you basic breathing techniques and forms. As you complete each level, you will become a stronger and more confident swimmer. It is well worth the investment if you think swimming is something you would enjoy and will encourage you to stay active.

4. Soccer

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. So, most people already have a general understanding of the rules. And it incorporates different types of exercise to improve strength, flexibility, and endurance.

To get started, all you need is a ball, some open space, and enough people for a pickup game. Most schools and public parks have the facilities you need. However, you could host a small game in the backyard. And, you probably already know someone with a ball. But if you need to purchase one, you can get it online or from any local sporting goods store for $15-$25.

If you have a large group, you can play a full game. But, you can still get active with smaller groups to practice the fundamentals with drills and other types of games. It’s a great way to encourage regular physical activity, make friends, and find more opportunities to play with local teams.

5. Basketball

Basketball is another popular team sport that helps you get active without breaking the bank. Like soccer, all you need is a ball and access to a court. Many people install a hoop at home. But, you can also head to local parks or schools to use their facilities to work on shooting, passing, and dribbling.

Meanwhile, it improves your cardiovascular health, speed, agility, and endurance. Longer games will burn more calories. But, there are also several minigames you can play in smaller groups. No matter how you use the basketball court, you’ll want to make sure that you have proper footwear and support to prevent injuries and disruption to your physical routines.

6. Badminton

When I lived in Taiwan, I quickly learned all about badminton. It turns out that not only is it a fun activity for outdoor events, but it’s also one of the most competitive sports in Asia. The level of intensity depends on who you are playing with. So, you can make it a more leisurely family activity or turn it into a high-intensity and fast-paced workout.

You’ll need either 2 or 4 people to play, racquets, shuttlecocks, and open space. Most sets include a net, but you can use local tennis courts or choose to play without one. A complete set ranges from $50-$100, but I often find them much cheaper at thrift stores or Facebook Marketplace.

When we played, we chose to focus on having fun and not keeping score since most people were inexperienced. But if you have a natural talent for the sport, you may be able to find community leagues that are more competitive for higher skill levels.

7. Frisbee

Although most people don’t consider it a sport, many frisbee games can help you get active. In fact, there are several different games that have become extremely popular in recent years.

For example, disc golf has become so popular that many cities have established official courses. They usually consist of 9 or 18 holes and follow the same rules as golf. But instead of clubs and a ball, you have to get your frisbee into a large metal basket at the end of the course. However, you can also create your own courses using hula hoops or baskets.

Another popular game is ultimate frisbee, an intense and highly physical sport that can help you get active without breaking the bank. It is based on the rules of football where two teams attempt to pass the frisbee down the field. The goal is to catch it in the “end zone” to score. Once again, the level of intensity will depend on who you are playing with.

But no matter how you plan to use them, frisbees are relatively cheap. You can purchase sets of five for around $25. But, you may decide to pay more for special materials or designs. Still, it is a small investment if it motivates you to get off the couch.

Food for Thought

Physical fitness is an important aspect of long-term health. But, it doesn’t have to interfere with your budget. While these are some of the most popular sports, there are many ways to get active without breaking the bank. However, you never know which sport will pique your interest until you try it.

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Posted in: Fitness and Exercise

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