Time is a precious commodity – we all have hectic lives and busy schedules; with work, relationships, social life and things to do around the house, it is not always possible to priorities staying in shape. Indeed, for some people, finding the time to get out to the gym is something of a logistical impossibility, no matter how much they want to do it.
This has led to the rise of the home gym; an opportunity to cut out the journey to the gym and simply get your workout in between chores or when you find yourself with a free hour. There has been a huge rise in the use of home gym equipment since the beginning of the pandemic, with 53% of UK consumers saying that they have bought workout products since March 2020.
However, when many people set up their home gym, the expectations don’t quite match reality. Too often, the result is a ‘home gym’ that consists of a set of dumbbells and a treadmill pushed into the corner of the bedroom.
Unsurprisingly, with that kind of set-up, despite the best of intentions, a large proportion of people don’t continue to use their home gym and the equipment just ends up gathering dust. So, in this article, we want to take a look at how you can go beyond the home gym and create a better space for enjoying exercise at home.
Exercise classes from your own home
One option that is gaining popularity is the concept of exercise classes that you can take at home. The concept of training together in a group with an instructor is appealing, but getting out to a sports center can be far more time-consuming. Thankfully, there are now products that can make exercise classes at home a reality.
Products like Peloton are ostensibly simply an exercise bike with a screen. Where they became groundbreaking was the monthly-subscription that allows users to take part in spin classes without having to leave their homes.
“If you are someone who loves spin classes, and wants to be able to get quality workouts in your home, and have the budget for a Peloton bike, then Peloton might be for you,” says Von Collins at Complete Tri, “many people we talk to swear by Peloton – it gives them the opportunity to workout at home when they otherwise would not get any workout in.”
It is good to have a dedicated space for this kind of exercise, rather than just attempting to use a Pelaton machine in your living room. It will not only provide you with privacy while exercising, it can also encourage you to spend time getting your workout in.
A sports-focused home gym
Some people face the problem of simply getting bored with the gym equipment they use. Staying in shape and getting exercise is important, but it can be difficult to find the motivation is it doesn’t feel like there is a ‘point’ to what you are doing. This is where it can be far more effective to invest in home gym equipment that simulates your favourite sport.
For example, if you have the space, a golf simulator system allows you to work on your game without having to get to the course itself. Simulators have come a long way in recent years and can be extremely effective.
“One of the main reasons for choosing to practise on a golf simulator is the detailed level of feedback and analysis they provide,” says Steven Joy at Golf Swing Systems, “golf simulators use powerful ball-tracking technology to gather data about how a ball is struck and the way your club is moving.”
Opt for bodyweight exercises
One of the best ways to maximise the way you workout without having to have a huge amount of equipment is by utilising bodyweight exercise. Also known as calisthenics, these are the kinds of exercise that use the weight of your body rather than equipment such as exercise machines or dumbbells.
Something as simple as pullups and pushups are body fantastic as a part of an upper body work out, and they can generally be done for free (or at a very low cost). You might be surprised by just how many forms of equipment-free exercises you can do. If it helps you can think back to some of the exercises you may have been taught at school.
Exercises such as sit ups, lunges, burpees and even handstands can be a part of a great workout. Just because they are something that is free doesn’t make them any worse than the kind of exercises that require expensive equipment and a great deal of space. Consider looking at the variety of exercises available and incorporating some into your home workout.
Get creative in the lounge
You might think that you need to invest in a lot of extremely expensive equipment to get the best possible workout at home. Of course, in some cases it can be valuable to do this and get the kind of exercise equipment you want at home. But it is also worth noting that the best kind of exercise is the stuff that you can stick to.
Not everyone has the budget to put in their dream equipment or simulator, but there are always ways that you can workout around the house if you are willing to be a little creative. For example, you might not have considered the effectiveness of your sofa as a way to stay in shape.
Now, of course, it is natural to think about your sofa as a place to lounge and relax, but it can be effective in exercise too. A single sofa can be used as the equipment you need for incline pushups, pistol squats and more.
It’s not as crazy as it seems. Your lounge can be a very useful place to have a workout. One reason beyond the sofa is that you are more likely to have a mirror in the lounge that you can use to view how you are carrying out exercise and perfect the movement more easily. Additionally, your lounge is likely to have windows that allow you to see the world as you workout – this is important so that you don’t feel too closed in.
A quiet space for yoga
One of the most underrated ways to exercise at home is yoga. Ideal not only for staying in shape but also for relaxing and decreasing stress, yoga is something that everyone can do from the comfort of their own home. Some people try to do yoga at home, but find themselves distracted.
The problem is that to get the most out of yoga you need a quiet, mindful space where there is nothing and no-one encroaching on your workout. This means that if you want to do your yoga at home, you’re going to need a specific room to do it in. Thankfully, your yoga room doesn’t need to be large – if you’ve got any kind of small space, it may well do.
Create a space that is chilled out and relaxed. Don’t fill it up with a lot of external stimuli, and absolutely avoid adding anything like a TV. This way you will have an area that is for the kind of quiet exercise that can be so valuable not just to your health but also for your general wellbeing.
Can you convert your garage?
Upgrading, renovating and improving your home can add value and attract longer-shorter term tenants if you’re a landlord. Adapting your current rooms into home gyms might appeal to you and any future residents, so the investment you make today will also count in the future.
Another possibility for creating a great home gym is to actually commit a good-sized room to the activity. This can provide you with the space that you really need to put in the machines that you want. However, this might be easier said than done – not many people have a whole room in their home that they aren’t using or they can convert.
So, as an alternative, could it be possible for you to convert your garage? For many, a garage is little more than a storage space for junk – wouldn’t it be better to turn it into something you can use every day? It will usually only take a few changes in order to convert the garage into a useable space.
As Mira Fit explains, garages typically already have the space, flooring and lighting that is essential for a gym. Better still, the garage typically has a temperature that is lower than the rest of the property, which makes it an ideal space to work out.
What about a swimming pool?
It might seem that the idea of a home swimming pool is simply a pipe dream – something that is only really a home improvement option for the super wealthy. However, this doesn’t actually need to be the case. In fact, it is becoming increasingly possible to include a swimming pool in more modest properties.
Of course, this won’t be the cheapest option available to you, but it is worth adding that when you add a swimming pool to your property, you make it significantly more attractive to buyers in the future and this boosts the home’s worth enormously. So, as well as creating yourself a fantastic space for home exercise, you would also be adding value to your property.
Part of the reason that swimming pools are less expensive is because advances in technology mean it is no longer necessary to build the pool from scratch, excavating a hole and then lining it with concrete – a process that takes a significant amount of time and can be fraught be all sorts of delays, such as poor weather and ground movement.
Many modern pools are pre-made fibreglass shells that can be easily maneuvered into a previously excavated hole. This process is significantly faster and removes many of the normal challenges of traditional pool building.
You might be concerned that you won’t be able to fit a swimming pool on your property that is suitable for regular swimming as exercise. However, it is possible to install technology in a smaller pool that channels a jet stream of water allowing you to swim against the current.
Ready your stairs for a workout
It is also true that some areas that might seem fairly mundane parts of the home are ideal for turning into a workout area. A good example of this is the stairs. We’ve all had the experiencing of walking up a long flight of stairs and considering it a bit of a workout – and this is very much the foundation of the issue.
Stairs can be used for a versatile range of activities including running up and down, elevated press ups, squats, step ups and mountain climbers. And the best thing about the workout is that you barely need to make any amendments to your regular stairs in order to use them as a workout space.
Of course, it is a good idea to ensure that stairs are in good condition and are suitable for use in a modern workout. Generally, however, they will be fine to use and you can get started straight away.
The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly had an impact on working out at home – but it seems that this is a trend that isn’t likely to go away. More people than ever are turning to home workouts, whether that is to avoid going into large public spaces or simply because it is more convenient than leaving the house.
Whether you are thinking of putting significant investment into a home gym, creating a stunning space to enjoy the exercise you prefer, or simply want a budget way to stay in shape at home, there are plenty of ways to do it. You should never assume that what you want is impossible, it is a great idea to look into what might be possible in your property.
Remember that you can make space everywhere from your garden and garage to any unused space inside your home.