For some of us, investing in a gym membership may seem like the perfect motivation to work out regularly. There we can find both coaches and companionship in our efforts. The challenge? When we lack the time, or the weather outside makes driving dangerous, that health club isn’t so appealing. And for some of us, we don't like being near others while working out; we'd rather be on our own. Gyms can also be breeding grounds for germs, so some of us might want to avoid them amid a pandemic.
So whatever the reason, the home gym is the best thing for many people — and they don't feel like they're making a second choice. By exercising at home, we may reap the same fitness rewards while saving time, avoiding the risks of driving in bad weather, and even catering to our own personality and self-care needs. Here's how to do it.
4 Inexpensive Home Gym Essentials
To create our home gym, let’s start with the essentials. From a place to stretch to a way to work up a sweat, here are four home gym basics on a budget:
- Mat: We’ve rolled out of bed, pulled on our sweats, and we’re ready to work out. But first, let’s stretch on our exercise mat. What to Seek: From ab curls to push-ups, a mat cushions our body. Yoga mats typically are thin, while a general-purpose exercise mat works for all types of workouts. These come in all sizes and thicknesses.
- Jump Rope: When it comes to inexpensive cardio equipment, jump ropes win the day. Start with just a few moves, then progress to jumping rope while watching your favorite TV show instead of sitting on the couch.What to Seek: Choose the right length for your height or invest in a jump rope with an adjustable length. Look for one with a comfortable handle.
- Dumbbells: Using free weights offers us the opportunity to strengthen and tone our muscles. Check on YouTube for easy-to-follow workouts with weights for beginners. What to Seek: Choosing two sets of weights, like one 3-pound set and one 6-pound set, may offer the opportunity to improve strength gradually and over time, as we add to these sets, we can end up with enough to share over time.
- Resistance Bands: When we want a home gym solution that’s cost-effective and easily stored, resistance bands fill the need. Tighter bands boost the challenge. These take up little space and offer a great alternative to free weights. Tho with latex allergies may need to go with free-weights instead.What to Seek: Two types of resistance bands are available: Loop bands and bands with handles. For beginners, the handles may provide more ease. The loop bands, though, may work for a greater range of exercises.
4 Economical Home Gym Extras
In contrast to cell phones that need to be upgraded and replaced, building a home gym means expanding rather than replacing. Once we have our essentials, we may gradually add some extras.
Like putting whipped cream on a perfect bowl of strawberries, some additional fitness items may add to our enjoyment:
- Treadmill: When the weather outside is too frightful for a walk or run, a treadmill can feel delightful. What to seek: Look for an easily accessible emergency stop button and a clear display panel. For runners, check the top speed to make sure it’s adequate.
- Rowing machine. Too often ignored, this machine works the entire body in one effort and many consider it the winner overall in terms of wellbeing and exercise in one machine.What to seek: Consider the noise level. Home rowing machines come in different styles that all work effectively but the noise level isn't the same — so depending on your tolerance, think about how this might impact you.
- Exercise Bike: We might not always feel like jumping rope or running for cardio. That’s where an exercise bike comes into play. What to Seek: If possible, try the seat for comfort. Experiment with pedaling to ensure that your knees don’t hit the handlebar.
- Kettlebells: Although often placed in the same category as free weights, kettlebells provide a way to combine cardio with weight-lifting. Exercises such as the kettlebell swing build muscle and cardiovascular endurance. What to Seek: Just as with dumbbells, consider investing in different weights. And because plastic kettlebell handles may cause blisters, look for cast iron.
- Exercise Ball: Want to improve your posture and balance while strengthening your core, all while chatting on your cell phone or watching TV? Welcome an exercise ball into your home gym. What to Seek: Look for a burst-resistant ball that’s the correct height. When you sit on the ball, your knees should be parallel with your hips.
Try searching local online marketplaces or shopping during sales from local retailers to save money on exercise equipment. Over time, investing in a home gym offers many benefits and helps ensure you can maintain that routine. And maintaining a consistent routine is the single greatest way to reap the benefits of exercise.
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