Is it Possible to Find a Free Gym Membership for Low Income People?

Going to the gym is an effective strategy for improving your overall health. Everyone knows that exercise is a key to a solid cardiovascular system as well as other health benefits. But did you know that gym members are 14x more likely to meet physical activity guidelines made by medical professionals?

One issue for the United States is that many low-income earners cannot afford a gym membership. The good news is that there are financial assistance programs and free gym memberships to take advantage of.

Read on to learn about a free gym membership for low-income people. Then, explore how to obtain an affordable gym membership so you can emphasize your physical well-being.

Why Is a Gym Membership So Important?

Before diving into affordable gym memberships, it is essential to fully understand the value of routine exercise. Many people assume that they can exercise regularly without a commitment to the gym, but that’s not always the best solution.

They rely on daily walks or runs. Perhaps they plan to use a personal gym in the basement or garage. 

While some people can self-motivate, others struggle to maintain an exercise routine. Others cannot afford to construct an adequate gym in their home. In addition, cardiovascular equipment such as treadmills, stationary bicycles, and elliptical machines are expensive.

As alluded to earlier, gym members are more likely to work out. This is because there are no distractions like children, chores, or the comfort of a couch. 

For many, the gym is a social environment. They can get out of the house and socialize with friends or neighbors. All of this is important in reaching the ultimate objective to meet physical activity goals.

What Are the Health Benefits of a Gym Membership?

Academic studies show a staggering gap in life expectancy depending on income. For men, the life expectancy difference between high and low-income people is as high as 15 years. One reason is that low-income people do not have funds to join a gym or buy equipment.

When people skip or are unable to access the gym, the price is the many health benefits of membership. There are many benefits of joining a gym, including better mood regulation and decrease in chronic health conditions.

Routine exercise helps reduce the risk of heart disease. Physical activity is known to boost high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and reduce triglycerides. The result is improved blood flow that helps keep your cardiovascular system operating at maximum efficiency.

Regular exercise is proven to reduce the risk of diabetes and stroke as well. In addition, there are many mental health benefits of routinely working out. For example, medical studies show that exercise relieves both anxiety and depression.

Exercise is also known to improve your mood. When you engage in physical activity, your brain releases chemicals known as endorphins.

These are referred to as feel-good chemicals in the medical community. They give the person exercising a natural high and feeling of euphoria.

Exercise is also proven to improve sleep patterns and your sex life. Unfortunately, many people assume that going to the gym will drain their energy levels. However, regular exercise does the opposite and improves your energy supply.

Ultimately, joining a gym is one way to buck the life expectancy trend for low-income people. In addition, you will reap the same health benefits that wealthier people get when they engage in routine physical activity by joining a gym.

Is it Possible to Find a Free Gym Membership for Low-Income People?

It is possible to land financial assistance towards a gym membership. There are many different avenues to find a free or reduced-cost gym membership. Keep reading for a breakdown of some of the best gym options for low-income people.

Military Gyms

Retired veterans can use their Common Access Card (CAC) to work out at the gym. The United States military bases have impressive gym facilities for active duty and retired military. This access is also available to civilian and contractor employees for the U.S. Department of Defense.

The U.S. military has vast financial resources at their disposal, and there many benefits for those with an honorable discharge. Their gyms are significant and include facilities for recreational activities. For example, you will commonly find indoor tracks, racquetball courts, and full-court basketball.

The military branches that run these bases also fund recreational activities for people of all ages. In addition, workout activities like yoga and 5K runs are often available.

Community Recreational Center

Many people think of big chains when they think of the gym. Household names such as LA Fitness or Planet Fitness come to mind. However, you can work out equally well at a community recreational center.

These facilities may be administered by a local government or private non-profit company. Large churches are known to have gyms. When taxpayer money is involved, or profit is no longer a motivation, a free gym membership for low-income people is more likely.

One idea is to search for local YMCAs. Often referred to as the Y, YMCA is a non-profit organization that maintains an active presence in roughly 120 countries.

They have extensive facilities and recreational programs. These programs and facilities are made available to low-income people through free or affordable gym memberships.

Homeowner Association or Apartment Complexes

Many homeowners’ associations (HOA) or apartment complexes have an onsite gym. However, they typically build the cost of membership into your monthly rent.

If you have a gym onsite, it is worth checking with the property manager whether membership is included. The average HOA or apartment complex gym is not going to compare to a major gym chain. They certainly will have less equipment and space as they are serving a smaller clientele base.

However, you cannot beat the convenience of a gym located within your living accommodations. Think how easy it is to get to the gym when it is within walking distance.

Health Insurance

Many health insurance companies are putting a renewed emphasis on preventative medical care. These companies are looking to curtail long-term medical expenses. For example, convincing their clients to go to the gym reduces the risk of a significant medical condition and the big bills that come with it.

As a result, many health insurance companies provide financial resources for their clients to go to the gym. They may come in the form of a free or discounted gym membership. In other cases, the insurance company provides reward cards for regularly attending the gym.

Free Trials

Many major gym chains offer free trials. Their goal is to entice people to sign up for a long-term contract.

You can take advantage of these free trials at multiple gyms. There are also free trials for certain groups of people.

For example, military members or first responders are often given free trials or cheap gym memberships. Veterans can find more information about affordable programs at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In addition, there are local VAs around the country where you can see what your income qualifies you for.

Elderly Programs

There are programs to help older adults go to the gym for free or at a discounted rate. For instance, Silver Sneakers is a program that offers free or cheap gym memberships to the elderly.

To qualify, there are a few different eligibility criteria. First, you have to be over 65 years old.

The program works through the Medicare entitlement. Those that purchase Medicare Advantage or supplemental insurance qualify for the program.

How Much Should You Exercise?

Now that you have some leads on finding a free gym membership for low-income people, it is time to start working out. Unfortunately, many people do not think they have the time for the gym.

How long you need to stay at the gym depends on how hard you are working out. At a moderate pace, expert guidelines recommend 150 minutes per week.  This amounts to just 30 minutes per day for five times per week.

At a more vigorous pace, you only need to work out for 75 minutes per week. This equates to 15 minutes over five days.

The difference between moderate and vigorous activity depends on the individual. A good example is comparing a brisk walk or jog against a fast-paced two-mile run.

Fitness guidelines also recommend doing strength training each week. At least two times per week, you should work out all the major muscle groups.

You only need to do one set of the muscle group. Aim for 12 to 15 repetitions that tire out the muscles you are working out.

Failing to secure a cheap gym membership does not mean you cannot meet these guidelines. For example, you could choose to play pick-up sports at the local park to get vigorous activity in. Others do pushups and sit-ups to meet their strength training guidelines.

The truth is that any type of physical activity is beneficial. For example, you can take the stairs at work or ride your bike instead of driving.

The Keys to Finding a Free Gym Membership for Low-Income People

You are now ready to start hunting for affordable gym memberships. There are many programs out there to help veterans and the elderly. Other gyms provide financial assistance to anyone in need.

Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service

If you qualify for federal benefits such as SNAP, you also qualify for Lifeline service. Lifeline is a federal benefit program that makes it possible for low-income consumers to receive access to free or heavily discounted communication services. Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.

Enjoy Recommended Resources and Amazon Deals

If you’re looking for more ways to save, check out our Recommended Resources page, where you can learn how to save 50% on Amazon Prime membership and use your EBT card on Amazon.