No Gym Required: Top tips for Working Out at Home

May 2020

For some, working out at the gym is the easiest way to make sure they get in a healthy amount of exercise each week. But getting to a gym or studio is not always possible. From a kid at home to inclement weather and temporary gym closures, the inability to work out at the gym can throw even a dedicated exercise buff off their game.

Here is how to continue to stay healthy and fit, even when you cannot get to a gym or studio.

Establish a dedicated time of day (and place) to work out.

Part of why a gym or studio works so well for some people is the routine. Maybe you stopped at the gym before work, after breakfast, during your lunch break or after work. Whatever your preferred timing is, part of the magic is that it is just part of your routine for the day.

When that routine is disrupted, it is important to create a new routine at home. Maybe you work out when you first wake up, before you make dinner or when your baby goes down for a nap. Whatever it is, find a time that works for you and stick to it.

Another reason the gym works so well is that it is a dedicated space for working out. So, try to carve out a small space in your home for your non-gym workouts. This can be a basement, a garage, a corner of your living room or even a space in your bedroom. It does not take much space, but that space should be ready to go if possible. Otherwise, the process of cleaning up other items and setting up your space may become an obstacle to working out.

Exercise outside.

Just because you typically work out inside when you are at a gym or studio does not mean you need to continue that when you cannot get to the gym. If the weather is conducive, try to move your exercise routine outside. Brisk walking, jogging, hiking and biking are all great ways to get your heart rate up and strengthen your lower body too.

When it is warm enough, kayaking, canoeing or swimming can give you a good cardio boost while also working out your core and upper body.

Use what you have.

Many people have the makings for a home gym somewhere in their home. Maybe it is a yoga or exercise mat that will keep you comfortable while you do some floor bodyweight exercises. Or perhaps it is some free weights or ankle weights that you or someone else in your home tried in the past before settling on the gym. Maybe it is a resistance band that a physical therapist gave you a long time ago. Some people even have old, unused cardio equipment (stationary bikes, treadmills and ellipticals are the most common).

Take an inventory of what you have, clean it off if it is dusty from disuse, and set it all up in your dedicated workout spot at home. If you have exercise equipment that is not working quite right, try searching online for a manual to help you troubleshoot.

Alternatively, try searching online for the problem you have and include the model number in your search. You would be surprised how many message boards, blogs and YouTube videos are available to walk you through fixing things!

Stream fitness classes.

There is no shortage of fitness classes that you can stream online. From yoga and Pilates to aerobics and strength training, there is something out there for every level of fitness and ability. This Good Housekeeping list features more than 25 different options for streaming fitness classes at home, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. If you do not see what you like, a quick online search will reveal hundreds, if not thousands, of additional options.

For older folks looking for exercise programs that are tailored more for them, Silver Sneakers offers more than 200 free online exercise videos to people ages 65 and older who are part of a participating Medicare plan. Silver Sneakers also streams live classes on their Facebook page, with recordings of previous classes available there too.

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