5 Essentials You Need When You Start An At-Home Workout Routine
As our lives become increasingly sedentary, exercise is key to staying physically and mentally fit. Whether it’s bike riding, hitting the gym or doing laps at the pool, we have plenty of options – and now even our own homes with many people choosing to work out from their living rooms, spare bedroom or backyards. At-home workouts are gaining popularity and for good reason! Gym memberships can be expensive, and if you’re just starting out, exercising in front of so many other people can be intimidating. On the other hand, when you exercise at home you don’t have to travel anywhere, there’s no wait time for equipment and you can play your music as loud as you want, no headphones required.
Whilst your home likely doesn’t have the same floorspace to spare as a gym, with a few handy pieces of equipment you can turn even a relatively small space into the perfect home workout spot – and the best part is that you don’t have to drop a whole lot of cash. From dumbbells to exercise bands, read on for our picks for 5 essential items to take your at-home workout to the next level.
1. A Yoga/Exercise Mat
Whether you’re doing at-home yoga or floor work, such as push-ups or crunches, a yoga mat is a must-have in order to maximise comfort on hard floors and stabilise surfaces. You can find a good-quality yoga mat for a reasonable price. Opt for a thicker mat to give yourself more cushioning, and if you’re doing higher-intensity workouts, a non-slip mat is the way to go to ensure it doesn’t slide around beneath you.
2. Weights, Dumbbells Or Kettlebells
When it comes to cardio, lifting dumbbells is no doubt one of the best exercises you can do. Not only can they increase your strength and boost your muscle mass, but working with weights can also heighten your resting metabolic rate, allowing you to continue burning calories even after you’ve finished exercising. There are plenty of different types of dumbbells and kettlebells out there, and these days you can pick them up for a very reasonable price. The great part about dumbbells is that they range from light to heavyweight, giving you plenty of scope to find the one which best suits your fitness level.
3. A Skipping Rope
Skipping ropes are a fun way to get your cardio on without the hassle of any heavy equipment. A surefire way to boost your heart rate, skipping works so many parts of your body, including your arms, legs and core. Be on the lookout for a lightweight rope with comfortable handles and make sure the rope is the right height (it shouldn’t come up any higher than your chest if you stand with one foot on the middle of the rope and measure it against you). Of course, if you have low ceilings and using a skipping rope isn’t an option, you can get the same kind of cardio results from a HIIT workout.
4. Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are another cheap and easy-to-store item to add to your collection. Similar to dumbbells, they also come in various resistance levels (the thicker the width, the harder the resistance), allowing you to tailor them to your fitness level. There are so many different ways to work out with resistance bands, making them a really versatile addition to your home work out. Whether you’re looking to increase your strength, improve mobility and flexibility or even aid injury rehabilitation, resistance bands are an ideal choice.
5. A Stability Ball
A stability ball might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to at-home workouts, but there are plenty of exercises you can do with one, which are great for building overall strength, balance and flexibility. Plus, if you trade your desk chair for a stability ball, you can be toning and strengthening your core whilst getting your work done. When looking for a stability ball, keep in mind that firmer balls offer harder workouts, and be sure to find the correct size ball for your height (for example, those between 5’1” and 5’8” should go for a 55 cm ball, whilst people between 5’9” and 6’2” should opt for a 65 cm ball).
Whether you have a wide open space to set up a full at-home gym, or prefer an easy option that you can store away, you can still take your at-home workout to the next level with a few handy pieces of equipment.