Exercise offers many benefits – everything from increased energy to stress relief and even better long-term health. Not everyone can afford a monthly gym membership, or has time to dedicate to hitting the gym. Fancy exercise equipment is a double-edged sword: you want the best for your dollar, but a lot of exercise equipment ends up gathering dust in a spare bedroom. Here’s how to create a home gym space with equipment you’ll be motivated to use without breaking the bank.
- Set Aside Space – Any space in your home can be a workout area. I know people that use their bedroom floor to do their daily morning stretches. A friend of mine keeps a set of free weights and an exercise mat in her sewing room. A colleague of mine has a stationary bike next to the bookshelves in his family room. Choose a space where you will work out. Make sure there is plenty of room for you to move without accidentally injuring yourself on a piece of furniture.
- Stash It – Once you’ve decided where you will work out, find a nearby space for your exercise equipment, including free weights, exercise mats, workout videos, and resistance bands. You don’t need a fancy weight rack or exercise equipment container for these items. A plastic crate will do. Having all of your exercise equipment in one place, near where you plan to work out, will motivate you to get moving.
- Get Some Free Weight – Free weights are a great way to increase strength and add muscle tone to your body. They are also invaluable for increasing the level of an exercise once your body has gotten used to a particular movement or routine and can do it easily. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on free weights. Check out these colorful weights. Don’t buy a whole set of free weights at once. Start with the lowest weight that gives you some resistance and, once you can lift those with ease, upgrade.
- Increase Your Bandwidth – Resistance bands are another great way to build strength and add resistance to a workout. In addition to taking up virtually no space, these bands are available at most retail discount stores such as TJ Maxx and Marshalls.
- Stream It – Streaming exercise videos are a great way to build a workout library without taking up additional space in your home. Most major broadcast TV providers have at least one exercise channel. Amazon Prime offers exercise videos. You can also buy exercise videos on Amazon and store them your video library to access wherever you go.
- Go Old School – Walmart, Target, Marshalls, and Amazon.com all offer inexpensive workout videos on DVD. Many of these videos use your own body weight as the resistance, eliminating the need for additional equipment. One of my client’s personal go to every time she needs to lose a couple pounds is Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred, available for under $10 on Amazon.
- Look NextDoor – Looking for more than an aerobic workout but don’t want to spend money on fancy exercise equipment? Check out your local NextDoor Community or Facebook Marketplace. You can often find very high-end equipment for half or less of its retail cost and older, sturdier models for $100 or less. Make sure to look up the reviews on the make and model of the equipment and test it in person before you pay any money to the seller. A good way to do this is to enter the brand and model number into Google. You can also visit websites that sell this equipment and read the consumer reviews.
With just a few feet of space and a minimal investment, you can have a great workout at home, no “Lunk Alarms” or long waits for the treadmill required.
Photo: Alfred Derks