Many people put off being active because they think they don’t have the fitness equipment they need. The reality is that you don’t need expensive gym equipment, just a little time and a lot of motivation.

Here are 10 fitness must-haves that will help you get active without breaking the bank. There is a no-cost or low-cost alternative for each item, perfect for beginners who aren’t certain they want to make a financial commitment yet.

1. A Water Bottle

If you’re working out, then you need to hydrate. Be sure to bring water if you’re out for a walk or any other type of exercise. Even if you’re at home, remember you need to drink and refill your water bottle a few times a day.

Alternative: Use a recycled water bottle.

2. A Yoga Mat

A yoga mat is a portable workout zone! You don’t have to be practicing yoga to get good use out of a yoga mat: they are perfect for push-ups, sit-ups and work great as a non-slip, clean surface for workouts on the go.

Alternative: A cushioned surface, like a carpet or a towel.

3. Dumbbells

Dumbbells are great for portable strength training. Be careful to choose the right dumbbell weight for you: good form with a lighter weight can create better results than bad form with a heavier weight.

Alternative: Anything that you can pick up safely, such as sandbags or full water bottles.

4. Jump rope

You can have fun and do a great cardio workout with a jump rope. Jump ropes also come in handy as a stretching strap for improving flexibility.

Alternative: Any piece of rope will do, or simply jump without one.

5. A Resistance Band

A resistance band is a great piece of fitness equipment for when you are on the road! They are practical, lightweight, and easy to use.

Alternative: A piece of soft rope or a rolled towel can work well for basic exercises. Don’t risk using tubing or rubber bands not designed for fitness, as they could snap and cause an injury.

6. A Medicine Ball

There are so many effective upper and lower body exercises that you can do with a medicine ball, and they’re especially useful for partner workouts.

Alternative: A basketball or soccer ball. Even without the added weight, you can still do many movements to help improve your coordination.

7. An Adjustable Workout Step

A workout step takes up very little space, and you can use it as part of a circuit or get a great cardio blast. Choose a workout step with a non-slip surface and adjustable height to suit your personal needs.

Alternative: A sturdy wooden box, crate, or stairs.

8. A Timer or Stopwatch

It’s an essential tool for interval training. A stopwatch also keeps you honest about your workout length or running time.

Alternative: A cell phone with a stopwatch app.

9. Motivation Music

Put together a great workout playlist with your favorite motivational music. Music can relieve stress and take your mind off how many minutes you have left.

Alternative: Turn on the radio or find your favorite music app.

10. One Perfectly Fitting Fitness Outfit

Treat yourself to a quality workout outfit, including training shoes. Choosing an outfit that fits well, supports you in all the right places, and makes you look good to help you find the motivation to work out!

Alternative: Comfortable pajamas are an acceptable workout outfit. But, ladies, make sure you invest in a supportive sports bra!

If You Have a Little Extra Budget…

The most popular piece of in-home exercise equipment is the good old treadmill. I love running outdoors, but I know many people who enjoy a treadmill workout. The convenience of having one in the office or at home makes skipping your workout less likely.

However, because buying a treadmill is a considerable financial investment, you need to think about why you want one, how often you plan on using it, and what features you need to fit your overall goals.

Here are six tips and things to look for when buying a treadmill:

  1. Try before you buy. Treadmill decks come in a variety of lengths and should suit your stride length.
  2. If you’re planning to run on a regular basis, pick a thick belt surface to help cushion your steps.
  3. Don’t skimp on safety. An auto-off safety switch is a must, especially if you have children. For your own safety, a tether and safety clip is an important feature that attaches to your clothes and automatically shuts the treadmill off if you move too far back from the console.
  4. If hill running is important to you, find a treadmill that offers up to a 15 percent incline. Most simple models will offer 8-10 percent.
  5. A personal history log may be useful if you are training for a specific event. Having the ability to monitor calories burned and heart rate can help keep you motivated.
  6. Pre-selected programming is a great feature to have so that you don’t have to plan yourself. It’s like having a built-in personal trainer.

Take time to assess your personal needs and goals. If you think that having some fitness equipment at home will motivate you to exercise more, then start with something that is not expensive and see how committed you are to using it before investing in a pricier option.

It’s important to understand that your own body weight is perfect for gaining strength. Simply walking or running is great for cardiovascular fitness, so pick an exercise plan that keeps you engaged and excited!

Samantha Clayton

Samantha ClaytonOLY, ISSA-CPT – Vice President, Sports Performance and Fitness Education

Samantha Clayton serves as the vice president of Sports Performance and Fitness Education at Herbalife. She is also the Vice Chair of the Fitness Advisory Board. Clayton represented Great Britain at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. She is a certified personal trainer with specialty certifications in group fitness, youth fitness programming, senior fitness and athletic conditioning. Clayton has an associate degree in pharmaceutical science and studied chemistry at the University of Wolverhampton. She then went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in public health and a master’s in medical nutrition from American Public University and Arizona State University, respectively. As a mother of four, she enjoys cheering for her kids at their sporting activities. Her favorite Herbalife product is Herbalife24® Rebuild Strength.