It’s important to stay fit even during the best of times – when gyms are open and sporting events are taking place as normal – but it’s even more so if you’re spending more time at home in the midst of a global pandemic.
With that in mind, it’s equally important that you learn how to stay fit easily and affordably from the comfort of your own house.
Of course, what’s great about learning to keep fit at home in our current situation is that, once the pandemic runs its course, you’ve learned new ways to keep fit inexpensively and without the need to go outside going forward – so, for example, if it’s pouring with rain once your period of isolation is nothing but a distant memory, you’ll still have no excuse not to do some exercise.
Here are thirty simple (and, in most cases, very affordable) tips for when it comes to getting fit at home…
30. Start Slow
To make exercising easier, it’s important to start slowly for a couple of reasons.
The first reason is that you don’t want to put yourself off – if you make exercise an unpleasant experience from the beginning, you’ll demotivate yourself – and the second reason is that you’re more likely to injure yourself if you overdo it immediately. Do easy exercises to begin with, ease yourself into it, and build the intensity of your workout over time. Your results will be much better for doing so.
29. Think Of The Benefits
Exercising is no picnic, so it’s essential that you focus on the benefits while it’s causing you inevitable suffering (because, ultimately, it will cause you at least some suffering if you do it properly)!
Your fitness will improve, your appearance will improve, your stress levels will decrease, your mental health will improve, your cholesterol levels will lower – think of these things while you’re exercising and give yourself the extra motivation required to succeed.
28. Set Yourself A Goal
Before you actually start exercising, a great incentive to keep going is to set yourself a goal – or maybe even several goals – to aim for.
For example, you might want to lose a certain amount of weight, get fit enough to exercise for a certain amount of time, lift a certain amount of weight or do a certain number of reps of a certain exercise. Ideally, you should aim to do all of those things – and, once you’ve achieved each goal, set yourself a new goal to keep bettering yourself (you can set goals on things like smart watches these days).
27. Check Your Policy
If you’re an average American, you probably pay quite lot of money for your health insurance premiums – and if you’re a healthy policy holder (courtesy of your home exercises keeping you healthy!), you run less of a risk of accumulating further costs.
You should definitely check with your provider for fitness programs that offer discounts on activewear, fitness rentals and equipment purchases.
26. Buy Used
If you’re looking to purchase equipment to aid you with your home-based quest for fitness, consider buying used items. Fitness equipment is arguably the best thing to buy used (not least because most people tend to be selling it because they hardly ever used it).
Look online, hit some local garage sales and look for remanufactured options at places like Wayfair.com. It’s important when buying from a private seller, however, to research the brand and test the equipment before agreeing to purchase it.
25. Buy From Gyms
On a somewhat related note to the above point, you could consider buying equipment from gyms if you’re looking to buy expensive equipment for your home at a discount price.
Gyms undergoing renovations or upgrading their fitness equipment often sell off their old equipment and machines at an affordable and drastically reduced rate. Moreover, in the midst of a pandemic, some gyms may sadly be forced to shut down, in which case they would be forced to sell their equipment.
24. Shop Online
You can often find great deals on fitness clothing and accessories online – offers that aren’t available in the corresponding physical shops of the websites the offers are on – which is especially useful in the midst of a pandemic when the physical stores might not even be open (and when you might not be allowed to leave your home anyway).
Quite often, you can save a lot of money buying the same item, from the same company, if you just use the company’s website instead of their physical store.
23. Go Discount
If you do head out to an actual store to purchase fitness equipment to use at home, discount retailers are great resources for basic accessories.
DVDs, yoga mats, stability balls, fitness clothing and more can be purchased for next to nothing at places like TJMaxx, for example. They cost a lot more at higher-end retailers – and they’re generally just as good quality from the discount stores.
22. Use Apps
These days, there’s pretty much an app for everything (hence the popular phrase “there’s an app for that!”) – and that includes getting fit from home.
You can download apps with workout tips, workout routines and even themed apps like “Zombies, Run”, which allows you to keep fit whilst participating in and trying to survive a zombie apocalypse! Just go to your app store and use search words like “fitness”, “exercise”, “health” and “workout” – you’ll find something suitable for you in no time.
21. Avoid Fads
When it comes to exercising and/or losing weight, make sure you avoid any crazy fads that claim to make doing either of those things easy – remember Shake Weight, anyone?!
Most products that claims to trigger quick and effortless weight loss and/or conditioning with minimal effort are usually too good to be true. The term “no pain, no gain” exists for a reason, so don’t fall for any fad hype – and make sure you read reviews before buying the latest and greatest DVD workouts or fitness systems.
20. Make It A Habit
Schedule your exercise – and use your smartphone or smart speakers to remind you about your scheduled workouts. It will help you massively to maintain your habit.
Equally importantly, know where things like your equipment, exercise clothing and water bottle are at all times – being organised is a great way to make your workouts habitual. Otherwise it’s all too easy to just say “I can’t be bothered today”.
19. Keep A Journal
A great idea to aid your home workouts is to keep a journal to track your progress and make a note of any breakthroughs you may make.
But don’t just log the good stuff – when you have a bad day, make sure you write that down to help you to find patterns you can break. For example, you may find that an omelette powers you through your morning workout better than a bagel, or that working out as the sunrises is better than doing so when it’s still dark.
18. Reward Yourself
To give yourself additional incentive to exercise at home, why not reward yourself for achieving specific goals?
Now, we’re not saying you should enjoy a pepperoni pizza with a large beer every time you do a few squats, but if you achieve your weekly goal of miles on the treadmill or hours spent working out, treat yourself with some cheat food or a gift of some sort – even if it’s just a new T-shirt or the latest video game you want to buy!
17. Use Your Body
Now, let’s get into the kind of exercises you can do in your own home, both easily and inexpensively. Lifting your own body is just as effective as lifting weights – and the great thing about it is you’ve always got your body with you, so no excuses!
Squats, push-ups, planking, triceps dips and countless other exercises are all great ways to work out using your own body’s weight without the added cost of equipment.
16. Jump Rope
One of the simplest, cheapest and most effective pieces of exercise equipment is the humble jump rope – and you can easily use one in your garden or, if you don’t have a garden, in any open space outside your home (if your ceilings are high enough, you can use one indoors or in a garage, but make sure they are or you might damage your lighting etc!).
Using a jump rope for just ten minutes can result in the same amount of burnt calories as thirty minutes on the treadmill! Yes, really!
15. Suspension Training
Suspension training – a form of training that uses a series of straps in addition to body weight – is a fine way to intensify home workouts without the need for bulky or expensive fitness equipment.
Affordable gravity bars and straps are pretty much all you need – and it’s the kind of equipment that travels easily, so you can even use it when you’re away from home for whatever reason (work, vacation etc).
14. Use Your Stairs
Now, we’re aware that not all houses have stairs, but if yours does, they’re a fantastic tool for exercising in your home.
For starters, they’re great for stretching – you can do calf dips on the stairs, for example – but simply running up and down them is a wonderful way to keep fit (even if you do look a little crazy doing it!).
13. Use Furniture
Get inventive! You can use various pieces of furniture around your house to aid you in your quest for home fitness.
For example, you could use a chair or sofa for tricep dips, you could use a bed or a sofa to slip your feet under to hold them down while doing sit-ups, or you could even use tables and chairs to aid you with stretching – especially when it comes to stretching your legs.
12. Keep It Short And Sharp (If You Have To)
If you’ve got a busy home life or have to go out to work, maybe you think you don’t have time to exercise – but that’s not the case for one key reason: workouts don’t have to take very long at all.
A well-structured 15-minute workout can be just as effective as a longer session if you really are pressed for time – just look for a workout of a duration that suits your schedule.
11. Use Everyday Items As Weights
If you’re looking to tone or bulk your muscles up in your home, you don’t necessarily have to buy expensive equipment to make it happen – there are plenty of items around your home that can be used as weights.
For example, canned food is great for lighter workouts, if you’re simply wanting to tone yourself up and keep active – though you might need to do a lot of reps for them to have an effect. For a more challenging workout, get creative – a dining room chair could make a great weight for a few bicep curls, for instance.
Not many people actually think of it as exercise, but do you know what one of the very best forms of exercise is? Dancing!
That’s right, simply moving your body to music is absolutely one of the most effective ways to get yourself fit and in great shape – so tell your smart speaker to play your favourite tunes and have yourself a regular jig in your kitchen, living room or bedroom! You’ll feel the benefit in no time!
9. Do Yoga
Yoga is a great way to keep yourself fit – and it’s one of the easiest things to do from the comfort of your own home, because all you need is a mat!
Not only is it good for your physical condition, it’s also a great way to stay mentally healthy (we’ll come back to that further down this list) – and, if you’re that way inclined, it’s also said to be great for your spirituality.
Whether it’s an aerobic workout, yoga, dancing or otherwise, YouTube is a great (and, most importantly, free) source for finding workout videos to follow.
There are countless YouTubers and YouTube channels devoted to providing workouts for people of all fitness levels – and you should easily be able to find one that both suits your level of ability and that can be done without issue in your home.
7. Only Buy Key Equipment
When it comes to spending money on fitness equipment, don’t get carried away. It’s easy to think you need to purchase far more than you actually require when you’re just getting started.
For example, if you’re buying weights, don’t buy weights that are so heavy you can’t lift them – that’s money wasted and you could end up injuring yourself. And when it comes to fitness wear, don’t buy ten pairs of running pants when you only need a couple. Essentially, before you buy anything, just ask yourself “will I definitely need or use this item?”
6. Exercise In The Morning
When it comes to your workouts, a pro tip is that it’s best to do them in the morning – if that’s plausible for you, of course (if not, working out on an evening wouldn’t exactly signal the end of the world).
Early-morning workouts can help you to stay motivated. If you get out of bed early and complete your workout before you do anything else, you can then go about the rest of your day without worrying about exercising – and you’re less likely to put it off. People who take this approach tend to get better results.
5. Stop Eating Junk
Earlier in this piece, we talked about rewarding yourself with pizza – and we’d like to think that made it clear that, if you want to get fit, eating junk food should be a rare reward, not a regular thing.
But, just in case that wasn’t clear, we’d like to use this entry as a reminder that you should cut out unhealthy food from your diet completely if you genuinely want to get fit. No donuts, no chocolate, no cheeseburgers or anything of the sort – unless, of course, you’ve genuinely earned that aforementioned treat.
4. Grow Your Own Healthy Food
Given that keeping fit requires healthy eating (as discussed in the previous point), you’ll be needing to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables. Do you know what’s a good way to get into that habit? Growing your own!
Carrots, tomatoes, peppers, apples, cabbage, chillies, parsnip – just a few of the foods that can be grown in your own garden. It’s cheaper than buying them in a store, it’s fun, it’s rewarding and, most importantly, it’s healthy!
3. Stay Mentally Healthy
You know that old saying “healthy body, healthy mind”? Well it can work both ways – and while looking after your mental health doesn’t guarantee that you’ll keep yourself physically fit, it can certainly help.
Stay mentally active, keep in touch with people you love/like, read, do puzzles, get plenty of fresh air and sunlight – whatever it takes to keep you mentally healthy. That’s a great way to complement you getting physically fit – and, in turn, the more you exercise, the better you’ll feel mentally.
2. Warm Up
Before we get to the end of this piece, we feel it’s important to point out that, as with all exercises, you must remember to warm up before getting into the nitty-gritty of a demanding workout at home.
Do your stretches, jog on the spot and loosen your muscles up – it’s essential to make the most of your workout and avoid obtaining a debilitating injury. Oh and don’t forget to cool down afterwards either!
1. Use An Exercise Partner
If you live with other family members – a partner/husband/wife, children or your parents, for example – or even just a flatmate, why not get them involved in your home exercise routine?
Not only will it keep things interesting and make you less bored while you’re exercising, you’ll also be able to motivate and encourage each other – and you’ll be far less likely to make an excuse NOT to exercise if someone else is relying on you to workout, as well.