Exercise is a fantastic form of stress management, but the ample equipment and gadgets required can present a barrier for those looking to get fit on a budget. 

Here are four great suggestions of budget-friendly workout gear for novice fitness junkies. 

#1 Supportive Shoes

Before you embark on your at-home exercise regimen or sign up for your membership at Equinox Fitness Club, you need reliable, stable exercise footwear. This is one piece of workout gear that you shouldn’t skimp on, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great pair of affordable shoes by shopping at a Nike Factory Store or Brooks Outlet

#2 Multipurpose Attire

While you might want inexpensive athletic wear, you don’t want it to be cheap—unfortunately, those often go hand in hand. 

The secret to building a budget-friendly exercise wardrobe is to pick out articles that can do double-duty in other parts of your life. Rather than selecting leggings in loud prints and patterns, opt for a neutral color that you can pair with pieces from your everyday closet. Find a stylish fleece running jacket that you can wear as an outer layer en route to work as well as on the track. 

If you’re replacing your $12 yoga pants every couple of weeks, you’re not actually saving money in the long run. Invest in a few high-quality, versatile workout pieces that will be well worth the slightly higher upfront cost. 

#3 Stretch & Release Equipment

In addition to the workout itself, it’s incredibly important to properly warm-up and cool down. Use these inexpensive stretching and massaging instruments to prepare, and repair, your body:

  • Yoga Blocks Despite the specificity of their name, yoga blocks can be used across myriad forms of exercise. In particular, they’re an excellent tool for increasing the extension of many hamstring stretches and can be incorporated into lots of existing exercises for an added challenge.
  • Resistance Bands – You can utilize this gear for great stretching-and-strengthening combo exercises. They add the benefit of adjustable tension so you can decide whether to deepen the pull or ease up and give your muscles a break. 
  • Massage Stick – These super portable sticks are only about a foot in length and are perfect for rolling out your muscles before or after a big workout. As part of your prep routine, it will increase flexibility, circulation, and prevent injuries. As part of your cool down, it eliminates soreness and shortens recovery time before you can safely workout again.

If you’re looking for specific exercises to try, check out the Stretch & Flexibility at Home app for daily stretches and warm-up routines.

#4 Free Weights

Depending on your fitness goals, you might be after different kinds of weights. Here are a few common examples that have many uses (without many zeros on the price tag):

  • Kettlebells – Designed to look sort of like a cannonball with a handle, kettlebells can be great for improving grip strength and balance. Because of the way the center of mass is distributed, even a five pounder can feel cumbersome, making them useful for developing strength in the lower back, legs, and shoulders, specifically.
  • A set of dumbbells – Dumbbells are great because of their versatility and accessibility for most. Reach for the heavier weights when looking to build pure muscle mass, or go for lighter weights in endurance training, or as an added challenge in balance-building exercises. 
  • Medicine ball – This misleading piece of equipment might look like an innocent dodgeball or basketball, but they can weigh enough to throw your back out big time. They come in values between two and 25 pounds and should be selected based on your personal strength and desired usage. You can throw, lift, or hold it to increase the difficulty of most of your favorite exercises. And if someone tells you to “think fast,” you better hope it’s just a tennis ball coming your way. 

Low-Cost, High-Value

Everyone can benefit from regular exercise and healthy habits. This list of workout gear is a great start for anyone looking to dip their toes in the fitness waters without breaking the bank. Whether you’re looking to start a convenient home gym or want to get into a new sport, health and wellness shouldn’t be exclusive to those who can afford it.