Inexpensive Ways to Get Fit

Exercising doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Did you know you don’t have to pay for a big gym membership to get in a good workout?  There are many free and reduced cost activities to stay active right here in Columbia.

Columbia Parks and Recreation has many great resources including more than 75 parks to choose from (some with fitness stations) and more than 50 miles of trails of every type and distance. They even have an app for that! Go CoMo Trails is available both for Google and Apple devices.

Inexpensive ways to get fit, fitness, armory sports and recreation center

The Armory has open basketball available M-F.

A hidden gem is Columbia Parks and Recreation’s Armory Sports and Recreation Center on Ash Street in downtown Columbia. The Armory offers:

  • Exercise equipment such as Nautilus multi-station unit, treadmills, elliptical machines, recumbent and stationary bicycles, free-weights and other workout equipment. Available for use Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. or Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Cost: $20.00 for 8 weeks, or $2 per visit.
  • Free Tai Chi – a moving form of yoga and meditation combined. Available Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 8:30-9:30 a.m. or Saturday 9-10 a.m. Cost: Free. Ages: 18 and up. Please call 573-874-6379.
  • Drop-in Basketball. Available Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Price: $10 per month, or $2 per visit. Ages: 18 and up.
get fit at the activity and recreation center, inexpensive ways to get fit, fitness

Several options for exercise are available at the ARC including swimming.

The Columbia Parks and Recreation’s Activity and Recreation Center (ARC) has a monthly membership program, or you can choose to pay a small fee to attend on a per-visit basis. Scholarships may be available to help pay for memberships. Fun fact – on your birthday show proof of your birthday at the Guest Services Desk and you can use the ARC for FREE on that day!

If swimming is your thing, there are several free or cheap places to cool off during the summer, including two splash grounds.

For the golfer, there are traditional golf courses available. Another popular activity is disc golf.

If you like to ride a bicycle for exercise, Columbia Parks and Recreation has mapped out the many bike routes available. These can also be viewed on the Go CoMo Trails app.

Additionally, the State of Missouri has several state parks in the area, including Finger Lakes State Park and Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.  Additional information on parks and historical sites in our area is available on the Missouri State Parks website. Many of these parks have accessibility features for people using wheelchairs.

Some gyms may offer a free trial period to allow you to get familiar with their facilities without having to commit to a full membership. You can “like” or “follow” gyms in the area on social media. Occasionally they run free weeks where anyone can participate and attend classes at no cost. There are also yoga and exercise videos on YouTube you can use for free.

By researching the activities you like best, there are almost always inexpensive or free ways to get fit!