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Get moving with free or donation-based workouts in Austin

Abigail Rosenthal
Vitaliy Greenberg, left, Zach Kurinsky and Gal Tsubery move along North Hills Drive in northwest Austin as an organized outing with the Austin Runners Club, Monday, May 6, 2019. [Stephen Spillman for Statesman]

Exercise produces endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. And being happy is a good thing. And whileexercise apparently makes you happier than money, according to a study by Yale and Oxford researchers, there’s nothing wrong with saving a few bucks.

Whether you’re just trying to keep it cheap or wanting to try something new without committing your hard-earned dollars, these free or donation-based workouts can make you sweat without bleeding your wallet dry. This is not a definitive list, but hopefully it provides a variety of options.

Austin Runners Club

When: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, various times

Where: various locations

Cost: Free

Running is one of the easiest workouts to do alone and at your own pace. But for those who like the encouragement of a group, theAustin Runners Club holds runs four days a week from multiple meeting points. Every run is free and open to the public, while a yearly $30 membership helps cover club costs and comes withlots of perks. If you can’t make any of its runs, the club’s website has a handy list of other running groups to join. (

Stronghorn Saturday Sweat Session

When: Saturday

Where: various locations

Cost: $5-$10 donation encouraged

Saturdays are for sweating. Kid-, dog- and beginner-friendlyStronghorn Saturday Sweat Sessions invite everyone outdoors for a weekend workout. Join theFacebook group of the same name for time and location updates each week. (

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November Project

When:6 a.m. Wednesday and Friday

Where:Texas Capitol (1100 Congress Ave.); Frank Erwin Center (1701 Red River St.)

Cost: Free

The Austin branch of this national organization meets two days a week and encourages anyone to ”#JustShowUp” for free, all-paces-welcome workouts that use existing city space. Wednesday workouts meet at Texas Capitol steps facing 11th Street and Congress Avenue, and Fridays meet at stairs on the east side of the Frank Erwin Center at Red River Street. (

Social Cycling Austin

When: Saturday through Thursday, various times

Where: various locations

Cost: Free

Offering almost daily rides (the group only breaks for Friday), Social Cycling Austin offers eight chances a week to grab the bike, meet new people and explore Austin at the same time in casual rides. Most of the routes include stopping for food or drinks or another activity. On the Sunday “Bike Curious” event, for example, cyclists cruise around town viewing public art and stopping for photos. Tuesday rides include an hour-long yoga finale and a dip in Barton Springs Pool when the weather is warm. (

Dane’s Body Shop Community Workouts

When:9:30 a.m. on first and third Sunday of the month

Where:4227 Guadalupe St. and 2701 Manor Road

Cost: Free

Dane’s Body Shop offers free “community-style” workouts with one of its coaches every first and third Sunday of the month. First Sunday workouts are held at the Hyde Park location, and third Sunday workouts are at the Manor Road shop. Make sure to sign the waiver on their website before you go. (

Austin recreation centers

There’s something for everyone at Austin’s recreation centers. Did you know the Lamar Senior Activity Center (2874 Shoal Crest Ave.) offers free line dancing classes 2 p.m. Tuesday through June 25?  Or that you can practice Chen-style tai chi for a suggested $1-$5 donation at Austin Recreation Center (1301 Shoal Creek Blvd.)? While some fitness programs at the city’s rec centers charge fees, there are more budget-conscious options available, too, like the free Fit-n-Fun program 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and 9 a.m. Saturday at Hancock Recreation Center (811 E. 41st St.). You can search for fitness activities at various locations at

» RELATED: Exercise makes you happier than money, according to researchers

What the Fit?! From Dance Waterloo

When:various times

Where:various locations

Cost:$5 suggested donation

According to Dance Waterloo, this recurring series pairs “elements of resistance band movement, yoga and Pilates to stabilize and stretch.” The classes are adaptable to all ages, levels and abilities. Bring a large towel or yoga mat. Check the Dance Waterloo website for details and locations for upcoming What the Fit?! events. Dance Waterloo also offers a pay-what-you-can contemporary dance practice for professional dancers, as well as a monthly “Dance In Public Spaces” series for dancers (but the public can watch, too). (

And then there’s yoga

Austin has no shortage of free or donation-based yoga. Some weekly, monthly or even daily yoga sessions include:

For large-scale free yoga, there’s the free Love of Yoga Festival at the Texas Capitol (2 p.m. Sunday this year; check the Facebook event of the same name for more info) and International Day of Yoga celebration at the Texas Capitol (this year’s 90-minute free session happens 5:30 p.m. June 15; go for more info).

For one-time events, more recurring events or just staying up to date, Erica Wollman created afree yoga in Austin calendar for her blog, The Unconventional Vegan.

Austin360 editor Eric Webb also contributed to this report.