It’s cold and dank out; raining so hard that the water has seeped into the crevices in your new waterproof boots and left your toes curling against its bite every time you take a step. Not really the type of night that makes you want to follow through with your New Year’s Resolution and head out to the gym. It’s a put on a pair of comfy socks and sweatpants, lower the shades, lock the door and…
You thought the phrase would end with curl up with a great suspense novel, kind of night. No such luck. Just because outside it’s not fit for mice or men out doesn’t mean you get to skip your exercise. The gym isn’t the only place you can exercise. In fact, some people would prefer to workout in the comfort of their own home. And you can. Before you start shopping for equipment, consider the amount of space and money you have to invest and also the kind of equipment you are interested in.
Without spending a lot of money you can put together a functional home gym that can give you the same workout that you get from hitting the machines.
Jackie Shahar, M.Ed., R.C.E.P., C.D.E., Manager of Exercise Physiology at Joslin Diabetes Center gave her suggestions for this blog.
Putting together a home exercise room doesn’t have to be extensive or expensive. For many people strength training can be accomplished with as little as a few resistance bands. These easily transportable stretch bands are low cost and can be used almost anywhere. To make sure you buy a band with the best resistance level for you, open the box (neatly of course) and try out the band by doing some simple bicep curls. If you are feeling tired, but not completely exhausted, after doing 12, you are on the right track. And if you do decide to buy a set, remember to purchase a door anchor to go along with it. Combined with an aerobic exercise video or a computer connected to You Tube, they make for a basic but entirely serviceable home gym.
For a small increase in price, the home enthusiasts can add a physio ball, stationary weights and home suspension training equipment. Whereas resistance bands, exercise videos, and stationary weights can be used by people of any fitness level, home suspension equipment assumes a moderate level of fitness.
For the home gym enthusiast who wants to spend $500 or more, he or she may want to purchase a treadmill, stepper, elliptical or stationary bicycle. Deciding among these is usually a matter of personal preference, but for people with neuropathy, equipment that allows non-weight bearing exercise, such as a recumbent bicycle, recumbent stepper, arm bike or resistance training with bands/free weights is preferred.
Most aerobic training machines today come with a variety of bells and whistles such as the ability to plug into your favorite music while exercising. At a minimum you should look for a monitor that records time, resistance, incline (in some equipment),distance covered and weight capacity. If you decide to invest in a treadmill and plan to run make sure you purchase one with at least a 6 foot running board.
As you would for purchasing any other expensive appliance for your home, a bit of pre-purchase research pays off. Consumer Reports are a good place to start comparing different exercise equipment models. No matter what you decide on, testing it out before purchase is essential. If you plan on buying over the internet, see if a store in your area carries the equipment. Change into your exercise clothing and be prepared to go through your usual routine when vetting the equipment.
And now that you have spent all that time, effort and money make sure your home gym doesn’t become a resting place for dirty clothes on their way to the laundry.