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Exercise is a great way to stay in shape and work off stress. If you'd like to improve your workout regimen and make fitness a higher priority, investing in a gym membership may be a good option for you. But if you've signed up for a gym membership in the past and wound up paying a lot to squeeze in a few short workouts, there are more flexible arrangements available. Knowing the best fitness options in your area can help you find cheaper ways to stay in shape.

If You're Afraid of Commitment

If you don't want to commit to a yearlong membership, flexible fitness options are available. Join an adult league for a sport you love, like soccer or basketball, and play for one short season rather than committing to 12 months of a gym membership. Local recreation centers and YMCAs may also offer classes with shorter-term commitments.

If a traditional gym works best for you, there are some out there, including Planet Fitness and Orangetheory Fitness, that don't require a full year commitment.

If You Like to Try the Latest Trends

The ClassPass app is one way to try out new fitness trends before committing to the full price of a class or gym membership. ClassPass's basic membership doesn't require an annual commitment and allows you to attend three classes per month. You can increase your membership level to attend more classes per monthly cycle. Although the number of classes you can take at the same gym each month is limited, programs like ClassPass allow you to inject variety into your workouts and give you an idea of what's available in your town.

If You Need to Be Motivated

If establishing a regular regimen has been a challenge, the traditional annual membership may be the best way to get motivated. If you know you're paying each month, you may be more inclined to get at least a minimal amount of use out of your gym.

But there are other ways to motivate yourself to exercise. If you need a workout partner to motivate you, consider joining a gym with your friends. For a less expensive option, join a local running or hiking club — you could even consider starting one of your own.

If You'd Like an Extra Financial Incentive

Fitting the cost of a gym membership into your tight budget may not be possible without a deal or discount. First, look to your employer. Some companies offer gym discounts as a perk. Your employer's health plan may also offer reimbursement for gym memberships, which effectively pays you to work out. Other deals abound on sites like Groupon, Living Social and Costco.

From a gym membership to a yoga class to a recreational basketball league, fitness options are available at every price point. Only you know what type of workout works for you, but no matter what you choose, a commitment to working out is a great way to stay healthy and reduce stress.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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