Whether you want to rid yourself of the Quarantine Fifteen or a keep that New Year’s resolution, creating a home gym is one of the best ways to invest in your health. And you’ll be ahead of the crowd — the CDC reports that less than half of adult Americans meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic exercise.
First things first: always get a doctor’s okay before you start any sort of training. Weight lifting, even the lowest weights can elevate your blood pressure temporarily. It’s always a good idea to tell your doctor about the medications you’re taking as well as any changes to your health. Remind him of any medical conditions such as diabetes or high cholesterol and if you’ve had any surgeries. Even a procedure as simple as an outpatient hernia repair will have serious limitations on weight lifting.
The CDC may have a lot on its hands with Covid-19 but they haven’t backed off of their original recommendation to exercise regularly: every day for at least a half an hour. It sounds like a lot but your body will thank you by lowering blood pressure, improving your mood, and burning calories to shed those unwanted pounds.
You might think a leisurely stroll after dinner is plenty. But health experts recommend that you keep your heart rate at 70% of its maximum beat capacity while exercising. This will help you lose weight. To determine your max heart rate, subtract your age from 220.
Building a home gym
Home gyms should be a serious endeavor. So, start by doing an inventory of your home. You’ll need to select your gym area; this usually takes the form of a spare bedroom, space in your living room, or a part of the basement. Next, you’ll need to set up that space so you can work out safely and efficiently.
- Good gym air. How’s your home’s ventilation? The room you’ll designate as a gym should have a good HVAC system. Unlike an ac window unit, an HVAC system controls the overall climate. It helps with airflow and air quality. Ask any HVAC services center, a decent HVAC system is becoming almost mandatory in number of new single-family dwellings.
- Lights, action. If you have weights and other gym equipment, you’re going to need more than few well-placed lamps to perform an exercise correctly. A good electrical services provider can offer some suggestions for a well-lit space for a home gym. They can also take a look at your electrical box to see if your system is capable of installing an upgraded lighting system and/or if some of the wiring needs to be brought up to code.
- Comfort where you are. Yes, you are going to sweat. So, make sure your air conditioning unit isn’t going to quit mid-workout. A local ac contractor can do an examination of your unit, check filters and coils and suggest tips on how to keep your home comfortable throughout. Hint: Clicking on your AC at lower than 60 degrees may damage the compressor.
- Your decor. If you’re working out inside—are you inspired? There’s a good chance that your basement or that old living room wallcovering is in need of an update.
- Scent diffusers. Home gyms allow you to control the aromas, lift your mood, and cover up body odor. Certain diffusers provide hours of calming or invigorating scent (depending on the essential oils). Some electric diffusers may have Bluetooth connectivity or remote control so you don’t have to interrupt your workout to turn it on or off.
- Gym down under. Are you working out in your basement, if so, are look into the mold situation as basements are typically more humid and damper than the rest of your home. And what about ventilation? You might be in the market for new basement hopper windows.
- Monitors. As part of your home security, you’ll need monitors to check on the kids, dog, or cat to ensure they’re safe and under control. Some systems are able to connect to your technology that already exists in your home so no matter what you’re doing, you can see or hear the kids fighting over the Xbox.
- Home audio system. There are many options wireless connectivity in a that makes it easier to listen CDs, radio, or stream your favorite music. Small wireless or Bluetooth speakers are perfect for more modest spaces.
- Security. Now that you’ve built a great gym, protect it. A decent security system that includes motion detectors and locks on windows, doors, and garage doors. On average garage doors will last about 8-12 years. It may be time to get a garage door replacement. Garage door installation may run about $700-$1,000.
Taking it outside
There’s going to come a time when you’ll want to inject fresh air and sunshine into your workout. Summer and fall weather will entice even the hardcore gym rats to head outside. You don’t need to head to a park to get a good workout. Tame the wilderness in your backyard and watch it became an outdoor gym—with a great view. Skin tip: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen on cloudy days. UVA rays can damage your skin through clouds, smog or glass.
Best thing for any gym is solid flooring. Will your back yard be able to support a good workout or will you be tripping over tree roots? Local tree service companies can often provide free estimates should your need to take down a tree. They can also recommend what to plant if your dreaming of a shady cool down spot.
Don’t walk in circles around your backyard perimeter. You might as well go back to the gym. A varied landscape with raised beds, maybe a pond or other features can keep your mind off your grueling workout.
A decent backyard landscaping service can help create a blueprint for your own personal walking or jogging path. By adding flowers, shrubs, and other features your workouts will be the best part of your day.
Basic equipment for your home gym
Consider the following when you create your list of equipment must-haves in your home gym. The will cover most, if not all your home gym workout exercises:
- Free weights
- Kettle bells
- Weight bench with barbell supports
- Home gym systems (weights and pulleys)
- Padded gym mat flooring
- Treadmill, rower, stair climber
It’s the little things…
It’s nice to workout at home because you don’t have to worry about bed hair or bad breath. Still, it’s important to treat your home gym, like a real gym. Does your home gym bag have:
Trainers? A good pair of workout or training footwear. Walking shoes are specifically cushioned to absorb the shock of impact from walking jogging or running. Good shoes stabilize ankles which in turn support knees and hips.
Water bottle? The trend is moving away from light with plastic bottles but to rubbed encased glass or metal containers. They last longer and don’t break down plastic into you drinking water.
Support bra? Support can come in all sizes. A decent sports bra will be constructed of light synthetic fabric, wick away sweat, and won’t squash your breasts.
Exercise wear? Toss the old cotton T-shirt and grab a few lightweight tights and tees. Currently trending are sports fabrics that are specifically created with breathable, stretchy synthetic knits that move with you and have the ability to wick away moisture. Sure it’s just home gym workout exercises, but you can still look amazing.
Yoga mat? Thin foam mats that can cushion your bony body parts from hard flooring.
Music? As simple as headphones and your iPhone. Science backs up the tunes. Listening to invigorating music before your workout actually increases your breathing and heart rate before you even take a step or lift a barbell.
Home gym workout exercises
Most exercises or home gym workouts are divided into two types aerobic (walking, running, cycling) and non-aerobic (weight lifting, sprinting). Best to combine the two together and make sure you’re doing both types every day.
Aerobic, meaning with oxygen, will be based on any exercise that keeps your body requiring oxygen on a sustained level. The exercise will move your body, utilizing your larger muscles of the lower body.
Anaerobic, without oxygen exercise, is a high-intensity type movement. Think of weight lifting. The body is stationary and the movement is limited: it’s a great workout and you really will find yourself panting.
Weight lifting, also known as resistance training, is a great way to lose weight and build muscle. When muscles are challenged, they use up more energy. Muscles tear down and build up with regular and increased poundage or repetitions. You scale up through the number of times you repeat a movement. You can either increase or decrease the number of times you do one move — take bicep curls — one of the most basic movements. You hold a weight (dumbbell) in your hand and bend your arm at your elbow.
Don’t forget the importance of warming up. Even your home gym workout exercises require careful warm ups. Stretching – there’s a debate about when to stretch. Before or after a warm up. Stretching is always good after a workout as the muscles are warm and more easily lengthened.
Cooldowns are just as important. The end of your workout should be slow and steady. The intensity of your workout will decrease. Heart rate should also decrease. The goal is that you don’t come to a complete stop. It’s a gradually lessening of effort. The best thing to do is shoot for 30 minutes of true exercise but then use the warm ups and cool downs are added to the top and bottom of your session. For example, if you are exercise for 30 minutes, you’d add a five-minute warm up at the beginning of your walk and then add a three to five-minute cool down.
Stretches include movements or postures that elongate the muscles. They also prevent cramps. They should be held for 10 seconds in this period of exercise. Add stretches that target the muscles that were just used. Larger leg muscles should always be stretched or if used, stretch arms across your upper body post-workout.
Finally, don’t forget to breathe. Even your home gym workout exercises will require attention to your breathing. Before and after each workout, perform three, large inhale-exhale arm raises. Raise arms and inhale on the way up and then exhale swinging arms down. Repeat three times.
Do carve out exercise time. Prioritizing your workout time — making it first on your daily agenda — will guarantee that it will get done. Home gym workout exercises should be treated like gold.
Do tell people. Tell people that your health matters. Your workouts come first, because your health comes first. Ask anyone who’s had a heart attack; they regret dismissing exercise. If a colleague or friend demands your time, ask them to join you.
Do set goals. Exercise is foundational. That means that once you set a level of fitness you can build on it. When you get better at your home gym workout exercises, you’ll see results.
Do use your five senses. Items that enhance your senses can enhance your workout. Music, scents, and visual aids can help your workout sessions become less of a chore and more of a pleasure.
Do challenge yourself. If you’ve never cycled before, go for it. Or try swimming—one of the best exercises for joints. Thought of Pilates or power workouts? Now’s the time to get outside your comfort zone.
Do it for fun. Studies indicated that regular exercise can actually improve your mood. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins act like morphine and reduce your pain sensation. Even if you’re in a bad mood going into a workout, there’s a good chance you’ll come out of it feeling much better.
There are also common gym don’ts do consider. For example, don’t hold your breath when you lift weights. Breathe through each exertion.
Don’t think heavier is better. Lifting too heavy weights can tear tendons and ligaments. It may also be harder on your heart.
Don’t rush. Proper form is the ultimate goal of each repetition. Going too fast, or rushing through your workout, can cause injuries.
Don’t be afraid to peek. Looking at a mirror, doesn’t make you narcissistic. Checking your form is essential for home gym workout exercises, especially when there isn’t a personal trainer nearby.
Don’t make excuses. There’s always going to be a hurdle to overcome. Think it through, ask or help and get moving.
Don’t give up. Even if you miss a day, don’t worry. Everyone has a bad day; you get sick or have to care for a sick baby/puppy/spouse/parent. Just get back to your home gym workout exercises as soon as you can.
Absolutely celebrate the small victories of your home gym workout exercises. Lose that baby fat? Excellent. Bench press another ten pounds? Awesome. Move to the next level on your climber? Yes! Treat yourself with something special and exercise-related, like a new pair of running shoes or shorts. Something simple that will keep you focused on your next goal.