So you want to start working out. That is awesome. Exercise is vital for your body and has numerous health benefits which go beyond just looking good. The problem is that you do not have the money or the time to get a membership at a gym. . You don’t like others watching you. You would much rather be at home and at least at home you get to choose what show you want to watch.
To achieve physical health through exercise you must achieve a balance between developing muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance. Another component which is important is proprioception which helps to develop balance and also works the small muscles around our joints.
Here are the following pieces of equipment which don’t take up much space and can be great for working out at home. I will not include any equipment that you can not store away in a closet; so no large pieces of equipment.
When I talk about free weights I am not talking about the ones that don’t cost anything, but if you can get them for free that is a bonus. The free weights I am talking about are dumbbells and barbells. There are dumbbells where their weight is unchangeable and there are those that allow you to add plates to the bar. The plate loaded dumbbells are definitely cheaper in the long run and allow you to vary the weight. The only draw back is that it takes time to change the plates.
A simpler and wonderful space saving form of free weights is “adjustable weights”. These allow you to adjust your weight quickly by turning a dial. They may look to be expensive but if you were to buy fixed dumbbells for all possible combinations of weights the “adjustable weights” would be less expensive and take up very little space.
Another alternative to free weights is a kettlebell. Every exercise you can do with a dumbbell you can do with a kettlebell. The kettlebell has some fun exercises that can be performed that will work great for back rehabilitation and also great for those who want to work on sports performance. They are also great for developing muscular strength, endurance and cardiovascular fitness. Kettlebells typically come in fixed weight forms but there are two companies that have an adjustable kettlebell (uskettlebells.com and kettlestack.com). This is a great alternative because buying multiple fixed forms of kettlebells is expensive. It is a much cheaper method and with proper training and technique they can be a lot of fun.
For those of you who are intimidated with weights I suggest tubing. Tubing takes up very little space and can produce a great workout, especially for the upper body. There are varying degrees of tension you can get. Purchase light, medium, and high tension tubing. This allows you to vary your tension as you progress with your program and depending on the body part being worked. Another nice thing with the tubing is that the more you lengthen it the harder the exercise thus another form of modifying your resistance. Tubing is also great for rehabilitation of the shoulder as well. Another benefit of tubing is that if you travel you can take it with you.
Theraball or bosu ball
Theraballs and bosu balls have been used in the rehabilitation of shoulders, knees, backs, and ankles for a number of years. A theraball is about a third of the price of a bosu ball. Another benefit is that it makes the exercises you already do more challenging and hopefully more fun. They are great for developing proprioception as well as training the small muscles around the joints. Training the small muscles is important because they are crucial both for prevention of injury as well as maximizing your potential in sports.
The bosu is a half ball with one side being a flat platform. They are nice because they allow you to perform some exercises that would be unsafe on a theraball. An example of this is trying to perform a squat on a ball.
A mat is helpful especially if you are on concrete or hardwood floor. There are different types of mats out there and aren’t really not a necessity but it might make exercising more comfortable.
Chin up bar
A chin up bar that braces itself in your doorway is a great addition to your workout equipment. Body weight exercises are always great and using a chin up bar is great for your back, arms and even your abdominals.
To develop cardiovascular fitness all you need is your body. In addition there are great exercises that you can perform that only require your body weight. Most importantly you need to bring yourself to your exercise equipment. There is no sense in purchasing a whole bunch of equipment that you are not going to use.
Our body needs to be active on a daily basis. In this sedentary world, activity is even more important for our health. If you are just starting out don’t jump deep into a rigorous exercise program. Health is a life long journey. Take baby steps and build up slowly to a full exercise program. You are going to be more likely to stick with a program if you make it part of your life. You are also going to stick with the program if it doesn’t feel like torture. If you have never exercised before or you are very out of shape then even the smallest amount of exercise may feel like torture. I recommend that you start performing some form of exercise for 5 minutes a day. Do this for two weeks. Every two weeks add 5 minutes to your program. Keep building up from there. Make exercise a habit. Soon you will be craving the activity.
Dr Christopher Notley is a Chiropractor in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada. He is also an Athletic Therapist, Strength and Conditioning specialist, provider of Active Release Technique as well as certified to perform Acupuncture. His website is http://www.DrNotley.com or you can follow him on twitter http://www.twitter.com/drnotley