What Is the Best At-Home Exercise Equipment?
You might think you have a choice in the matter, but you really don’t: you need to exercise. Building strength, flexibility, and endurance are critical to lifelong health. Keeping fit allows us to do the things we want to do—not to mention the things we need to do—well into old age. But where and how you exercise, well, that’s up to you. Whether you join a gym or stock a spare room with at-home exercise equipment, you still need to do the work.
There are pros and cons to both approaches. Joining a gym comes with monthly fees that can really add up over time, but it gives you access to a wide variety of exercise equipment. At a gym, you’ll be working out with other people, which can be either motivational or annoying.
If you set up your own workout space with at-home exercise equipment, on the other hand, initial high costs will pay off over time—as long as you actually use the equipment. You’ll need to motivate yourself and you’ll need to train yourself to work out with proper form, but you can’t beat the convenience of not having to leave the house.
What Types of Exercises Should You Do?
There are three things you’ll want to focus on, and you’ll need some variety in your exercises to cover them all:
- Cardiovascular fitness — Get your heart and lungs working. A good pair of running or walking shoes is the minimum requirement here. A bicycle can also do the trick if that’s more your style. If you’re serious about not leaving the house, you might consider a treadmill or stationary bike, although these can be pricey.
- Muscle strength — Weights, resistance bands, and/or exercise tubing are what you need. You can spend a lot or a little, but you don’t want to skip this step.
- Flexibility — Technically you don’t even need to purchase equipment for stretching. But you can make it a bit more comfortable with a decent mat to lie on.
Get the Right At-Home Exercise Equipment for the Job
If you’re setting up an at-home gym, consider how you’ll incorporate all of the above exercise categories into your workout. You’ll also need to take into account how much space you have available—whether you can dedicate an entire room to a full-time fitness center, or if you’ll need to push aside a couch every time you do a few jumping jacks. And, of course, there’s your budget.
With all that in mind, here are some of the best at-home exercise equipment options that might fit your needs:
- Exercise tubing and resistance bands are inexpensive, portable, and easy to store out of sight when not in use. They’re great for strength training and can even be incorporated into more intense cardiovascular exercises. Consider expanding the potential of exercise tubing even further by adding an Around-the-Door Anchor Strap for a portable, low-profile workout station.
- Weights and kettlebells are good for strength training if you have more space. A few simple free weights might be enough, but if you get serious about this then you might end up with a power cage, a bench, Olympic bar, and racks of plates—and you might want to start protecting your floors with foam tiles.
- For cardiovascular workouts, we’ve already mentioned treadmills and stationary bikes. If you’re going to be dropping that kind of money and you have enough space, you might also consider air bikes and rowing machines and ellipticals. Or you could just get yourself a jump rope and a set of dice. Seriously, good old-fashioned calisthenics and bodyweight exercises can go a long way.
- For core strength, simple exercises like crunches and planks don’t require any equipment. But you can add variety and intensity with an ab wheel or a balance ball. A balance ball is also great for stretching and flexibility exercises.
- A yoga mat is helpful if you’re going to be lying on the floor for flexibility exercises. You can also enhance those exercises with a yoga strap, yoga blocks, or a foam roller.