Working out at home is a very attractive option. Gym memberships can be very expensive, so joining a health club might be out of the question for many families. Going for runs or walks outside works great, until that first ice storm keeps you housebound for a week and a half. So it really does seem like working out at home would fix a lot of these issues, and keep your fitness level up no matter what.
But where to start? What to buy? It’s tricky, and when making an investment, you don’t want to make the wrong choice and wind up regretting your decision.
Here are the most important considerations to keep in mind when choosing home workout equipment:
With a few exceptions, the average shopper will likely have to work around an already-full house. When searching for the perfect spot to set up a treadmill or a weight bench, remember that your house is still your home. Plunking a large machine in the middle of your living room might seem fine now, but by the time you’re hosting your next holiday party, you’ll regret it.
Your Best Bet: Setting up your equipment in a room with a closing door accomplishes many things: it’s more easily hidden, it’s more easily childproofed, and you’ll feel more comfortable huffing and puffing through your workouts if you have a private, or semi-private space.
Take some measurements, and see if you can comfortably fit a machine in a bedroom, home office, or basement.
In the long run, a home gym is more affordable than a recurring gym membership. Still, there is a large initial investment to make. When shopping, it’s easy to be dazzled by the machine with the most bells and whistles, but try to keep a cool head in the face of overpriced (and often unnecessary) features.
A lot of workout equipment is marketed through infomercials, which are custom-designed to maximize hype, and minimize your hesitance to buy. Celebrity endorsements and happy looking fitness models don’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice.
Your Best Bet: Read as many reviews as you can before deciding on anything. Look for reviews from people in similar situations (working parents, people living in an apartment, people with knee issues, etc.) and see what they said. Search for sales, and when the price comes down, jump on it.
The most popular home machines are treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, rowing machines, weight machines, or free weight setups. Each of these options have pros and cons, depending on your health concerns and fitness level.
Your Best Bet: Always begin by talking to your doctor. Bring up your concerns, and listen to their recommendations. You may have your heart set on a treadmill, but your doctor might be more comfortable putting you on an elliptical machine, with a lower impact. You might love the idea of a rowing machine, but your doctor may have concerns about your back.
Remember to also try out these machines to see how they make you feel. Never buy anything without first giving it a test drive. If something doesn’t feel right, listen to your body, and move on. You should feel completely comfortable on any machine you choose.
No matter how your home gym shakes out, you are to be commended for taking such an active interest in your own health. Setting yourself up for good habits like more frequent workouts, is a surefire way to get you moving in a healthier direction.