Fitness Articles

Get Fit Without Leaving the House

Home Gyms are Practical and Affordable

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The Extras
 
  1. Cardio Machines: Next, consider a piece of aerobic workout equipment. Whichever you choose, make sure your machine has different resistance levels to allow for workout variety and challenge as you progress. Also available, for a price of course, are computer systems with timers, calorie counters, RPMs (for bikes, ellipticals) and even heart rate monitors. Before you make a major purchase, try one for several minutes in a store. While it might be tempting to buy the cheapest available, you’ll want to make sure you are investing in a solid piece of equipment that you are comfortable on. 
     
    • If you like running and walking, a treadmill is a good option. Keep in mind, however, that running outside is free, while these machines are costly—at least $600 for the most basic model. 
    • Stationary bikes or elliptical machines are more affordable alternatives.   Elliptical machines, which cost at least $400, are low-impact (and fun!). Bikes come in two different varieties, recumbent (like sitting in a chair with a backrest) and upright (standard seat) and also cost at least $400 for a decent model. 
    • Of course, a jump rope is a cheap piece of equipment that can also get your heart pumping!
       
  2. Workout Bench: Space and budget allowing, a good workout bench is a solid investment. Look for one that adjusts at varying angles (incline, flat, and decline). Many benches start at around $90. Make sure to purchase a sturdy bench (test it out for length, width, weight limit) to support you effectively while you work out.
     
  3. Universal Gym Machine: Finally, the king of home workout equipment is an all-in-one weight machine. You’ve probably seen them on infomercials, but are also available for purchases in many stores. They will run at least $800, but are often well over $1,000. These machines include a bench and various pulleys and weights, which combine all the machines in a commercial gym into one compact unit, allowing you to do squats, presses, curls, and pull downs. 
All of these pieces of gym equipment are available in a variety of places—sporting goods stores, department stores, websites, and by catalog. For a great deal, consider purchasing gently used equipment. Look through the classified ads, auction websites, and even garage sales. If possible, test it out before you buy.
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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

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