2020 has been a wild ride, but one thing this crazy time has brought to us is more time at home. If you are looking to stay in shape but also looking to avoid being in close quarters with other people, then you have probably moved into an at-home workout routine. For those that have not yet started their home-based fitness journey, and for anyone who is still refining and revamping that process, we have narrowed down some choice items to help you along your journey. Here are some must-haves for practical at-home workout equipment you should consider to optimize your home routine.
It may just seem like a sheet of foamy material, but a yoga mat can be a great asset to your home workout game – even if you don’t practice yoga. Yoga mats are typically about 6 feet long by 2 feet wide and vary in their levels of thickness from 1/16 of an inch to 1/4 of an inch. Since you just need a mat or really only your body to practice yoga, this type of exercise itself is one of the most practical for doing at home. Beyond yoga, however, these mats can be used for any other body weight or stretching exercises. They create a great space to center your exercise routine and keep you off the bare floor or ground outside.
For building muscle at home, there is no better helper than free weights. Having a set of simple weights can bring your bench press or curl game to your living room easily. These items are so popular for working out at home, many retailers faced a shortage in the months after the pandemic started.
Free weights do not take up a lot of room, and they are versatile enough to use in a variety of exercises. Depending on the weight of the set, they can range in use from light weights added to an aerobic workout to heavier weights for those used to pumping iron at the gym. From curls to bench press to dead lifts, you can do many common weight lifting exercises with a pair of these for home use.
One item on the pricier side that can help with your cardio needs is a stationary bike. These have been around for decades, but the company that has majorly popularized this type of equipment in the last five years is Peloton.
By combining a traditional stationary bike with a subscription model and screen for instructor-led workouts, Peloton has brought cycling classes to their customer’s homes. These bikes are definitely not cheap, but many people love them. They’re fairly space-efficient, so they can fit in a designated area of your home, and the workouts provide high-calorie burning results.
In terms of space-saving, you can’t do any better than resistance bands. Resistance bands come in various shapes, sizes, colors and styles. They are elastic bands used for strength training and physical therapy, and they are versatile enough to be incorporated into yoga or stretching, bodyweight strength training or even as part of a cardio routine. These are a perfectly versatile item to have on hand for home workouts or even for traveling.
One of the oldest tools for at-home fitness pursuits are medicine balls. Medicine balls have been used for about 3000 years and date back to ancient Greece and Persia where Hippocrates, the famous “Father of Medicine” (and namesake of the Hippocratic oath that all doctors take), considered them an essential tool in helping injured people rehab. These weighted balls can be used in a variety of workouts, and they typically do not take up much space. This is also a tool you can use with a friend, roommate, partner or workout buddy by simply tossing the heavy ball back and forth.
It was a playground classic for children growing up, but the jump rope for adults is a cardio lifesaver. Jump ropes are super space-efficient, as most can be rolled up and stored easily. The American Heart Association has long touted the major heart-healthy benefits of jumping rope, and this type of exercise burns a ton of calories.
These days there are many different types of jump ropes available from speed ropes to weighted ropes, so there is something for everyone. Exercising with a jump rope can increase speed and agility, increase bone density and even improve your cognitive function. A jump rope is also one of the most affordable pieces of home fitness equipment you can add to your collection.
To be practical in your pursuit of at-home fitness, take your budget and motivations into account when investing in tools to enhance your workout routine. There are great options for any price range or space limitation, so there is no good excuse for not adding a few aids to your home-based exercise regimen. Try some of these must-haves for practical at-home workout equipment, and I bet your body will thank you.
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