No need to fork over your hard-earned cash to a fitness center when you can exercise for free in the great outdoors. And it might be even better for you than the gym. Studies show exercising outdoors not only lifts your spirits but enables you to lose more weight, thanks to nature's rolling terrain and obstacles (think rocks and roots), which challenge your body [source: Stephens].
If you're a fitness newbie, or not too daring, a hike in the woods or jog along the shore are great ways to start. You can also swim in a lake, ice skate along a frozen river or climb a tree. But if you'd like a challenge, try some "primitive fitness."
These are playful workouts based on the notion that the path to optimal health lies in mimicking the movements of our long-ago ancestors, who crawled, climbed, jumped and ran as part of their daily lives [source: Averill]. So you might sprint through the woods, hopping over any logs or large rocks in your path, or crawl across a sandy beach. If no one's in the vicinity, pick up heavy rocks and throw them as far as you can, then work on your balance by walking across a downed log. When you're through with your workout, whether sedate or primitive, treat yourself to an ice cream cone with the money you just saved.