You could be forgiven if your self-care suffered in 2020, what with quarantines keeping you away from the gym, the election and civil unrest causing added stress and perhaps job loss limiting (or eliminating) what you could spend on your health and fitness.

Good news: You don’t need to spend anything on health and fitness. There are plenty of free alternatives to studio classes, workout gear and the like. Below I’ve rounded up six of my favorite freebies for exercising body and mind.


As the classic holiday song goes, just put one foot in front of the other. Walking is about as simple and straightforward as exercise gets, yet it affords myriad health benefits.

For starters, it gets you outdoors, which is beneficial all by itself. (See the section on getting outdoors in Amanda Capritto’s excellent guide to taking care of your mental health during the coronavirus, protests and beyond.)

Walking can also burn calories, lower your risk of heart disease, improve your mood, ease joint pain and much more. Read Healthline’s 10 benefits of walking to learn more. (Healthline, like CNET, is owned by Red Ventures.) Plus, it’s an activity you can actually do with friends, provided you stay at least six feet apart.

Perhaps best of all, walking requires no special gear — though obviously you’ll want comfortable shoes. Speaking of which, if you live someplace cold, consider a set of ice cleats that can slip onto your shoes or boots. (Just last night I almost took a header on an icy sidewalk.) Search Amazon and you’ll find dozens of options, some priced as low as $7.