healthy living

Skip the Gym and Burn Calories in Your Apartment

This is a guest post by Annette Smith.

Everyone knows the importance of exercise. The benefits are well-documented. Exercise boosts energy, controls weight, improves heart health, builds muscle and bone strength, fights infection, lifts mood and more.

Many people get their workouts by going to the gym or taking an exercise class. Others head outside for a walk, jog or bicycle ride. These places are great exercise environments, but they can be enhanced with workout space at home.

Some homes have a room filled with fitness equipment, wall mirrors and workout gear. Most apartment dwellers do not have the luxury or budget for an entire fitness room, but they can carve out a small space for exercise workouts.

Planning Home Exercise Space

The intensity and size of a workout space depends on factors such aosh fitness level, budget and available space. Some apartments are small and space is limited, but it usually possible to find an area for weights or a yoga mat. Larger areas can accommodate home gym equipment, a television and a DVD player.

House plants and scented candles are great additions to a home exercise space. They contribute to a sense of peace, relaxation and meditation. Mirrors are a good idea if space allows, since they enable exercisers to examine their form during an exercise move.

Choosing Home Exercise Equipment

Depending on personal fitness goals and preferences, apartment dwellers may want to purchase exercise equipment for their home workout space. Jump ropes are great for high-intensity aerobic exercise, while mini-trampolines work well for mid-intensity workouts. Strength training requires free weights or resistance bands. Free weights can be stored under beds or on closet floors.

An exercise ball is good for working on core strength, and exercise DVDs provide instruction and motivation. Yoga or exercise mats provide a safe, comfortable exercise spot. People can buy most of these items for $50 or less at sporting good stores and online retailers.

Total body gyms are easy and convenient to use, and they take up very little space. They are available as bench or door gyms. These workout systems are ideal for strengthening and toning the body. Combined with aerobic activity, they can produce amazing fitness changes. People can find used or sale-priced equipment online for around $75. New models cost slightly more.

Quick Home Exercise Workouts

Ten minutes is not a very long time, but it is long enough to tone the body and jump-start its metabolism. Short workouts can accomplish small fitness goals such as burning extra calories, toning muscles and improving flexibility. Best of all, quick exercise sessions can be done right at home.

A quick cardio blast burns calories and boosts heart health. People who alternate two minutes of rope jumping or stair running with push-ups and squats can burn 150 calories in ten minutes.

A short workout can also strengthen and tone the body. A continuous move through a series of exercises is the goal. Apartment strength training sessions should include wall squats, push-ups, lunges, dead lifts, shoulder raises, triceps dips and crunches. All of these exercises can be performed with some bands and a mat.

Flexibility exercises stretch and lengthen the body’s major muscles: hamstrings, triceps, shoulders, quadriceps and spine. They are good for pre-exercise warm-ups and post-workout cool downs. Stretches should be slow and held for one minute on each side of the body.

While short exercise sessions are beneficial as stand-alone activities, they are ideal complements to longer aerobic workouts. Quick workouts can be done in the apartment any time, and they work well to fill the gaps between outdoor activities or trips to the gym.

Annette Smith is a San Antonio-based freelance writer on behalf of Houston Apartment Insiders. The Houston Apartment Insiders team has over 30 years experience helping apartment dwellers find their perfect home in Houston at no cost.

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  • I am trying to try this “at home” gym experience while I am traveling. I am having a hard time staying motivated because I know I am walking all day long anyways and I feel like I need the extra energy, or I wait until after a day of traveling and I am too exhausted. I just need to do it already. These tips should help!

  • one thing i’ve discovered when i got cut back at work and had to cancel my gym membership – beachbody dvds!!! in particular, i LOVE LOVE LOVE insanity. i used these dvds to drop 15 lbs for spring last year, and again this past winter. they never get old because they are pretty difficult so you are always improving, and aside from the initial investment in the DVDs you don’t need ANY equipment and it’s a total body workout. i’ve converted so many of my friends to these dvds as well and they’ve all loved it! the nice thing is you don’t HAVE to follow the “program” with the calendar, you can just pick what DVD you feel like doing that particular day and do it. best home workout program i have ever purchased! (note i’m not a beachbody coach salesperson or whatnot. just crazy about fitness and was so grateful these dvds could help me keep in shape and within budget!)

  • I moved to a new city about 6 months ago and a gym isn’t in my budget right now so I’ve been doing a ton of at home workouts. You can find a lot of workout videos free online these days, I’m a big fan of – they’ve got a bunch of 20 min workouts you can download free or by 30-60 min workouts for like $2.99-5.99.

  • Love the idea of working out at home. The time you spend driving to the gym you could have already worked out for that long. The money you save can go into an emergency fund or vacation account or retirement account. It’s a win win!

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