Working out at home is easy, thanks to the wealth of online instruction and a new generation of multi-tasking, space-saving fitness tools.
All you need is some space, a mat and a few favourite things.
“Most important is that you have at least a [1.5 by 1.5-metre] space” – so you won’t be bumping into the furniture in the middle of your workout – “and a mat, so you’ve got a soft surface for work on the floor,” said Lisa Wheeler, program director of DailyBurn.com, an online workout site. “Then add what you like to do,” she said.
“If you don’t like dumbbells, don’t buy them.”
Wheeler’s personal preference runs to resistance tubes. “I think they are a great piece of equipment because you can use them for several different exercises and you can travel with them,” she said.
If you don’t want to buy stuff, Wheeler suggests using what is at hand.
“I often encourage moms to pick up a soccer ball or basketball to use as a medicine ball,” she said.
Jessica Matthews of the American Council on Exercise said if space is small and money is tight, look for strength-training equipment that is affordable and storable.
“I like medicine balls for rotational work and sandbells are among my new favourites,” she said, referring to the soft, neoprene-filled bags of varying weights. “You can slam them on a hardwood floor and they won’t roll away from you.”
Home workouts are the norm for many people. Only 16 per cent of North Americans belong to a health club, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association.
Matthews said some gyms are beginning to stream live videos of their fitness classes into people’s homes via the Internet.
“Streaming classes are great to find ways to move your body. You can still be at home but have the guidance of an instructor,” she said. “The downside is they can’t see you.”
Colleen Logan of ICON, an exercise-equipment manufacturer, said treadmills account for 58 per cent of all home-gym equipment purchases.
“The treadmill has huge benefits,” she said. But she warns that “fitness includes strength, flexibility and balance training.” And you won’t get all that from a treadmill.”
Nicole Nichols of fitness worksite sparkpeople.com points to many free exercise sessions on YouTube and workout DVDs at your local library. “Realistically, you can set up your own gym at home for less than $50,” she said.