One of our top excuses for not working out is lack of time. Between managing work, home and commute times, many of us are left with very little opportunity to go to a gym or an exercise class for an hour’s workout. While largely valid, that’s still no reason to skip 30-60 minutes of daily exercise in your own house. Home workouts are great – you spend barely any money or time on ‘getting ready’ for exercise. You can control the music and mix up various workouts, from plyometrics and Pilates to yoga and strength training.
Home workouts are fuss-free, but also challenging and fun. Apart from comfortable active wear, a few basic equipment and accessories can help you maximize your training and add further power to your moves. Here’s a look at some great training gear to help you make the most of your exercise hour.
1. Exercise Mat
A mat is the most basic piece of home workout equipment you will need. Apart from yoga and Pilates, a mat is essential for floor workouts like crunches, pushups and back exercises. Invest in a mat that is made from heavy-duty comfort foam that protects your knees and joints, and absorbs impact, while still allowing you to grip the floor for balance. Usually, at 71-inches long, yoga or exercise mats offer plenty of space to accommodate a variety of moves.
Dumbbells are a great place to start your weight training – they’re both affordable to own and also fairly easy to handle, and come in different shapes and weights. Most importantly, dumbbells increase your endurance and build muscle mass. A general rule is to pick weights that allow you to flex your arms 10 times without being too tired.Look for hexagonal shaped dumbbells with a black runner coating instead of the vinyl ones as they will last longer and are more comfortable to workout with. Invest in 3 -5 sets of the same range so you can accommodate them for different workouts.
Kettlebells have a large fan following because they beautifully combine cardio and strength training for a time saving workout that burns calories. An average person is known to burn up to 400 calories in just 20 minutes when doing kettlebell exercises. A typical kettlebell workout will usually include a healthy dose of swings, snatches, cleans, high pulls, and Turkish get-ups supplemented by bodyweight classics like pushups and lunges. So don’t listen to the naysayers that will tell you that kettlebells are not essential. Instead, invest in a pair of kettlebells with smooth handles and without a painted coating.
4. Pull Up Bar
No, pull up bars aren’t just for pull ups! There are a number of gymnastic exercises such as hanging leg raises, L-sits and muscle sits that you can do by simply installing a pull up bar in the archway or doorway of your home. Pull up bars are one of the most old school exercise equipment and working out on it targets your latissimus dorsi, the biceps, back, trap and shoulder muscles. Though many of us dread or cannot successfully pull off a pull up, you can add some resistance bands for assistance.
5. Jump Rope
Jump rope is one of the most underrated workouts when it comes to cardio and is usually restricted to professional boxers or the young kids in the schoolyard. Rope jumping is an excellent choice for people across different fitness levels. It’s great for those who want to improve their cardiovascular conditioning, coordination, agility, speed, strength, balance, rhythm, timing, and bone density.If you are a beginner, get a jump rope that’s going to last you awhile. If you have some experience with jumping, then invest in a lightweight rope that will help you improve your timing and speed or a weighted rope if you are working on improving strength.