Fitness Articles

Get Fit Without Leaving the House

Home Gyms are Practical and Affordable

7.1KSHARES
Imagine a gym you can commute to in seconds. It’s open 24-hours, so you can come and go as you please—on your time. It’s comfortable, and you feel completely at ease when you work out there. Oh, and membership is free. You may be daydreaming, but the perfect gym is a dream that can come true…in your own home.
 
There is no reason that you can’t make a home gym part of your reality. A home gym adds convenience and privacy to your workouts. When you exercise at home, you save time, money, and the rush hour headaches (on the road and in line for the elliptical). Although you might be cautious due to budget and space limitations in your house, building a home gym isn’t as impractical as you might think. After all, gym memberships can occupy a large portion of your budget at several hundred dollars per year.
 
The Basics
Remember, you want to build a gym based on your own personal needs and fitness level. As you progress, you can add on equipment, so don’t feel that you need to buy everything at one time. Your gym can be as simple or complex as you want.
 
  1. Dumbbells (Free weights): A good set of dumbbells will help you start a strength training routine. There are two basic options when it comes to dumbbells. You can buy single sets based on the weight you want to lift. These are often metal, but can also be covered with a rubber material to keep them from slipping out of your hands. Expect to pay $15-$20 for a pair of 5-pound weights. Prices will increase as the weight goes up. A second option is to buy an adjustable dumbbell set. This includes two handles (or bars) for you to grip, as well as plates of varying weights that can be attached. Depending how many plates you get, expect to pay at least $60 for a set like this. Fancier versions can run up to $350 or more.
     
  2. Resistance Bands: Bands are great because they are compact, portable, and allow for a wide range of motion. Resistance bands come in three or four different levels of resistance and usually run around $15 for one band. These can be used pretty much any way that a dumbbell can be used, so if you are in a budget crunch, these might be the better option. To learn more, read No Need to Stretch the Truth About Resistance Bands.
     
  3. Stability (Swiss, Balance, Physio) Ball: An exercise ball, no matter which name it goes by, is simply an oversized inflatable ball. These are extremely versatile, and not just for core workouts anymore. You can sit, lie, and balance on them during almost any exercise, rather than investing in an exercise bench. Plus, this unstable surface targets your core muscles and improves your balance and coordination. The balls come in different sizes (based on your height and weight), and a rainbow of colors, and cost around $25 apiece. Read Exercising with a Stability Ball to learn more. 
     
  4. Exercise Mat: Place a good exercise mat on the floor to stretch comfortably, cushion your body during floor exercises (from crunches to modified pushups), and prevent slipping while lifting weights. Consider this a must if you do a lot of Pilates or yoga. Plus, they can roll up out of the way for storage if your space is limited. For about $20 you can get a sticky mat (for Pilates and yoga), which is thin—but better than a hard floor. The price goes up for larger and thicker mats.
Once you’ve purchased some or all of the basics, you’re well on your way! Continued ›
Page 1 of 3   Next Page ›
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!
7.1KSHARES

About The Author

Liz Noelcke Liz Noelcke
Liz is a journalist who often writes about health and fitness topics.

Member Comments

  • I do have a treadmill which I have been using but when I need a break, I just get off and do some aerobic moves to whatever music I have going on my i-pod. I have had a stationary bike for years (that has hardly been used) but find I can't spend more than a couple of minutes on it right now without my heart rate quickly exceeding my upper limit (80%). I may be able to use it eventually. I used to enjoy the recumbent bike at the gym. A number of years ago when I was doing a weight program regularly, I purchased dumb bell sets as I needed more challenging weights so I have 3, 5 8 and 10 lb plus a set of 2 lb that my daughter left behind which I sometimes combine with the 5 lb weights. A Swiss ball and yoga mat (also left by my daughter) plus resistance bands I purchased a few years ago (have hardly used and recently found) complete my small equipment "arsenal" We have a large finished room in our basement (mostly empty) which has become my workout space. - 2/12/2016 6:59:20 PM
  • And the rebounder! Can buy fold up ones or just put it against the wall when done. I love to use mine when I watch TV sometimes - 1/10/2016 8:50:55 AM
  • Need a lot of room at home to do the machines. One machine probably wouldn't suffice, the expense for more than 1 is hard to justify, as so many people buy a machine and are not satisfied with the overall results it provides. Eventually, again for many people, a machine sits idle. Easier and less expensive to go to a gym and use the variety of machines there. - 9/17/2015 11:17:41 AM
  • TEXASTOPAZ15
    And you can exercise for free, at home too!

    When you're done with those plastic milk cartons, wash and dry them. Set them on your bathroom scale, and fill bottles with soil, mulch, rocks, or even water will do. You can easily make a five pound weight...voila you have dumbbells, complete with handles!

    Use the stairs in your house as a STEP. Put on some music, and do basic STEP exercises!

    And here's the best one.
    Open your front door, and get out and walk! - 7/29/2015 6:41:12 PM
  • HOMEGYMS
    well done. easy but lazy - 7/16/2015 10:00:53 PM
  • I haven't seen a REAL universal weight machine since college. - 6/9/2015 9:08:02 PM
  • ELKINSC11414
    I actually got a good treadmill and elliptical machine from Wally World and paid only $400 for both! - Delivered to my home for free - though I had to set them up - they are fordable and convenient. - 6/9/2015 12:02:55 PM
  • JEANW2
    My home gym consists of dumbbells, exercise bike, exercise mat and lots of exercise DVDs. I'd like to add a bench to that eventually, and heavier dumbbells as my upper body strength increases. But I'm a huge fan of body weight exercises: Keeping it simple, eh? - 6/3/2015 3:49:30 PM
  • You can also use your own body weight without having to buy equipment. Modify a strap with a belt or rope; broomstick placed on two chairs while laying down to pull yourself up, etc... - 3/4/2015 10:44:13 AM
  • In my "perfect" home gym, I would include a small wall mount flat screen tv and a dvd player. When I get a little bored with my home program, I grab the laptop and play one or two of Nicole's videos just for a change. - 1/18/2015 9:45:59 AM
  • SAMUELS15
    I have a set couple of sets of dumbbells, a mat, a ball, and a resistance band. I have found I can follow just about any routine online with these pieces of equipment. Rather than having a piece of cardio equipment, I use online videos (free!). Jessica Smith is a great resource. I found I get bored trying to stay on a treadmill or other machine for a long period of time. - 11/20/2014 10:27:13 PM
  • JANETEMILY
    I have two sets of dumb bells and a thick mat. We used to have a treadmill, but I've never enjoyed walking on one. I prefer walking outdoors, year-round. Tracked my 1500th mile on SP last month! I work out with Gilad's Bodies in Motion and Total Body Sculpt everyday. They incorporate aerobics, body-weight, and free weight routines, and are free! I've saved them (almost 100 episodes) on my DVR, but they can also be downloaded online. I've lost over 50 pounds, and improved my strength and flexibility.. oh, and I turned 58 today! - 8/1/2014 9:32:33 PM
  • JANETEMILY
    I have two sets of dumb bells and a thick mat. We used to have a treadmill, but I've never enjoyed walking on one. I prefer walking outdoors, year-round. Tracked my 1500th mile on SP last month! I work out with Gilad's Bodies in Motion and Total Body Sculpt everyday. They incorporate aerobics, body-weight, and free weight routines, and are free! I've saved them (almost 100 episodes) on my DVR, but they can also be downloaded online. I've lost over 50 pounds, and improved my strength and flexibility.. oh, and I turned 58 today! - 8/1/2014 9:32:33 PM
  • I have a treadmill, an exercise bicycle, resistance bands, jump rope, mat, stability ball and hand weights. I've been using the excuse that I was working and didn't have time, but I was standing and walking for 6-8 hours a day. that was my excuse. most of my items are in the house, but the treadmill and bicycle are in my shed outside. Now I have no excuses. The shed is air conditioned in the summer and heat in the winter. I even have my own sound system out there. All I need now is to put my DVD player out there and use my exercise dvd's to work out with. I usually do that in the house. I have sciatic nerve problems, so don't do much with the jump rope, but I will do jumping jacks from time to time. I just get discouraged when I don't see any results, so I give up. Trying to do better, though.
    - 8/1/2014 5:58:06 PM
  • THELADYCASH
    We have weights, bands, mats, dvds, an elliptical and a treadmill.

    We spent $150 on the treadmill new. It was a floor display (but set up on a rack and so never used) that retailed for $450. Our elliptical was $69. It was also new, a floor model that would have been $350.

    You can find equipment at reasonable prices new. Maybe not the big name brands, but good enough for everyday, basic use. Looking at Craigslist is another option for used equipment at good prices as well. It's not out of reach. - 7/12/2014 3:16:36 PM

x Lose 10 Pounds by March 26! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.