Hands up how many people have had the seemingly sensible idea of installing a gym in their home? Especially if you’re home with kids in the evening! On the face of it this is a good idea – no more dragging yourself out of the house on evenings, or crashing in front of the telly since you’re stuck at home anyway or calling in at the gym after work; no more sharing sweaty machines with lots of other sweaty people.
What could be nicer than having your own shiny, clean facilities just waiting for you to amble in and use any time you want? But how many people have spent an absolute fortune on gym equipment they never actually use? There must be tons of dumbbells, ab crunchers, treadmills and whatever else, all expensively and uselessly gathering dust in spare rooms and garages up and down the land. So it’s clear that, if you really want a home gym you have to give it some careful thought.
Fitness is a family affair
The first thing is to get the family together and decide exactly what it is you all need from a home gym. And at this point I have to say that I think it is a great idea to get children started early on the idea of keeping fit and healthy. Even toddlers can enjoy exercise and the key here is to make it fun. For your little ones having a bright, colourful play mat all of their own will encourage them to play and get fit at the same time. It can also teach them to have a sense of responsibility for their own space and can also foster the habit of healthy, fun exercise which could include dancing to their favourite music. Best of all – you can keep a watchful eye on them while you enjoy your workout.
As for the rest of the family, one of the main things to consider when designing your home gym is the budget. So many have made the mistake of purchasing hugely expensive equipment which then proves too complicated to use or which they lose interest in. Many an exercise bike has become an over-priced clothes hanger! So get everyone together and decide exactly what it is you need from a home gym and exercise routine and then work out what equipment you want and how much you want to spend on it.
It doesn’t have to be brand new
If you plan to incorporate some weight work into your fitness regime then basic barbells and dumbbell sets can be bought relatively cheaply from online outlets or superstores like Argos. However equipment like treadmills, exercise bikes and rowing machines can run to hundreds of pounds. Why not consider looking at eBay, Gumtree or your local classified ads. You can likely find real bargains with equipment which is hardly used for a fraction of store prices. If space is limited then narrow down your choice of equipment to that which you know everyone will use and which fulfils all your fitness needs. For most this will be a static bike; this gives a cardio-vascular workout as well as a muscle workout. You can vary the intensity and watch TV or listen to music at the same time!
I believe that the item which should be purchased new is your gym flooring. Proper gym flooring, constructed from high density foam and with a wipe-clean cover will protect your floor, provide a measure of sound-proofing and help you to stay safe while you exercise. A separate play mat for small children is useful to give them their own space and keep them out of harm’s, – i.e. your – way.
Choose wisely, spend sensibly, and then enjoy your home gym.