While competition has made gym membership fees a bit more affordable, some still consider enrolling in a gym a luxury, if not an unnecessary expense. Gym memberships also mean one is locked into a contract and, therefore, has to pay a monthly, quarterly or annual fee, even when one will not be able to go to the gym regularly. Going out-of-town, having late nights at the office, getting sick or simply being lazy are some of the reasons why people skip the gym. Therefore, bringing the gym to one’s home gives one no reason to miss out on exercise.
Having exercise equipment at home means having easy access to training gear, eliminating membership and training fees, and cutting down on transportation costs, among other things. While one may have to shell out a big amount of money to buy some pieces of exercise equipment, this will definitely prove cheaper in the long run. Aside from convenience, other reasons to consider setting up a home gym are:
- Exercise equipment can be considered a worthy investment- Since exercise does not go out of style, equipment can be passed on from generation to generation.
- One piece can go a long way - Many exercise equipment designed for home use are not only space-savers but are versatile and can be used for multiple exercises that target all areas of the body.
- A home gym means privacy - It also enables the user to follow an exercise routine in his/her own terms, at his/her own time.
Basics are best
More than cost and space, one’s fitness goals should be the main factor in deciding which exercise equipment to buy. Is cardio fitness the focus? Strength training? Or perhaps both? Among the cheaper exercise aids that have a myriad of uses are:
- Workout mat - Isolation exercises, such as the plank, sit ups, pushups, bridge, crunches, and the like are usually performed on the mat to target specific muscles of the body.
- Dumbbells - They can be used for a wide range of exercises but in general, they are for muscle-building, the most obvious of which are the muscles on the arms, shoulders and chest.
- Swiss or stability ball – Swiss ball exercises target the core muscles, which include the abdominals, back, and pelvic muscles. These muscles are responsible for stability, good posture and balance.
- Medicine ball - The medicine ball, which is about the size of a basketball but usually weighs around 8 pounds, is ideal for building power or "explosive strength."
- Resistance bands - These bands are simple to use but fairly effective for strength training, stamina, flexibility, etc.
- Jump rope - More often considered a toy than an exercise tool, jump ropes improve coordination, burn more calories compared to 30 minutes of jogging, improve breathing, cardiovascular health and bone density, among other benefits.
While these pieces of exercise equipment are the basics or the must-haves in every home gym, the choice, again, largely depends on one’s fitness needs. These include one’s current health status, including weight, dietary needs, or medical conditions in which strenuous activity or exertion needs to be limited.
At best, it is advisable to consult a physician and get clearance about what kinds of exercise can be done at home given one’s medical condition. In addition, asking a gym instructor or other professional about which exercise equipment to purchase for the home guarantees that one will maximize the benefits of the equipment while ensuring safety and proper use of the gear.