Gym memberships offer a lot, but they aren’t for everyone. For some, the prospect of getting dressed and driving somewhere to sweat with others prevent them from attaining their fitness goals. Fortunately, you don’t need tons of fancy equipment to get in the best shape of your life.
You can get most of what you need right in your backyard. What should you do to encourage yourself to stay fit without membership dues? Here are five ways to stay healthy at home.
1. Provide Play Space
You don’t need much space to work out — all you need is enough room to stand up and you’re golden. However, you could quickly grow bored performing nothing but calisthenics.
Why not create fun spaces if you have the room? For example, installing a small home basketball court can help you bond with your kids while sneaking more movement into your life. Is golf more your jam? If so, a small putting green doesn’t take a lot of room and using AstroTurf cuts down on lawn maintenance and watering needs. You can even find indoor versions for your home office.
Perhaps you live for yoga. Can you clear out a space and decorate it with your mat, pillows, straps and blankets for your practice? An aromatherapy mister and some candles or spiritual images complete your mind/body fitness retreat.
2. Invest in an App
You’ll find dozens of fitness apps on the market these days. Some specialize in a specific type of workout, while others feature various platforms, letting you try something different every day.
For example, Apple Fitness Plus is far less than the price of many gym memberships at $9.99 a month. Choose from various class formats from HIIT to Pilates. The Nike fitness app lets you sort workouts by body parts — abs and core, arms and shoulders or legs and glutes. You can even alternate your selections to achieve full-body fitness.
Are you looking for something specialized? Strava doesn’t offer workouts but is considered one of the best apps for runners. Its location tracking feature lets friends and family see where you are in real-time on your run, a perk if you often go the distance. You can also find apps specifically for yoga like Alo Moves, featuring everything from Ashtanga to Kundalini.
3. Add a Few Pieces of Equipment
You don’t need anything but your body weight to get a fabulous workout. That said, a few pieces of equipment can add variety and spice to your healthy home routine. You can find resistance band sets offering up to 200 pounds of resistance, more than enough for everyone but the bulkiest powerlifters.
These bands come in two basic styles — loops and handles. Both have their advantages. For example, loops come in handy if you’re training to do pullups but need a bit of resistance on that last rep or two. Handled models let you add multiple straps to increase resistance. They’re affordable, so why not invest in both?
You can also find light hand weights. They go for about $1.50 to $2 a pound, so you could get away quite inexpensively if you don’t lift heavy. A medicine ball, a yoga mat and perhaps a pullup bar you can mount in a door frame complete your home gym — you might be able to do it all for $100 or less.
4. Find a Partner or Group
Finding the right workout partner can do wonders for your motivation to stay healthy at home. If you’re in a relationship, you might not have to look further than your spouse. One study found couples were happier exercising when they did so together.
What if you fly solo or your mate already has an established workout program they don’t want to change? Try connecting with a friend or neighbor — it’s easier than you may think. Have you noticed others walking or running at the same time you do each morning? Why not ask if they want to partner up to increase motivation and safety?
5. Get in the Kitchen
Staying active and fit is only half the battle. You can exercise every day but still have an unhealthy body if your diet includes little besides pizza, chips and beer.
Instead, embrace meal prepping — it saves you time and improves your nutritional intake. Spend an hour or two on your day off stocking your freezer with grab-and-go meals so you won’t race for the drive-thru after a long day at the office.
Want some more lean and green nutrition tips? Try the following ideas:
- Visit a farmers’ market: Want fresh, organic produce for low prices while treading more lightly on the planet? Try your local farmers market when it opens this week.
- Embrace alternative flours: Opt for whole grain, chickpea or legume flour for extra protein.
- Buy healthy snacks: They do exist, although you may have to visit a natural foods store to find them. Read labels and look for products made from real ingredients you can pronounce. Better yet, opt for nuts, seeds, dried fruits, jerky and low-fat string cheese to nosh healthily.
Stay Healthy from the Comfort of Your Home
You don’t need a gym or a ton of pricey equipment to get a great workout — all you need is a bit of space. However, you can enhance your routine and motivate yourself to stick to the program by following a few tips and tricks. Consider trying the five above ways to stay healthy at home.
Author Bio: Jack Shaw is the senior writer on the men’s lifestyle blog Modded.com. Aside from writing, he enjoys spending time outside and mountain biking.
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