Saturday, November 28, 2009

Home Gyms: Save Time, Space and Money

You don't need an expensive gym membership or fancy exercise equipment to get a great workout, not according to Consumer Reports magazine. This got my attention because after dinner I ate two hefty slices of pumpkin praline pie; and frankly I've never managed to survive a trial, one-week gym membership.  I'm serious! -- nor do I have room in my home for a treadmill.

All you need to set up a complete fitness routine at home are the following:

1) An exercise mat – To cushion your joints on hard floors. Use it for sit ups, push ups, Yoga or Pilates. Expect to pay $15.
2) Dumbbells – They improve and maintain muscle tone. Consumer Reports suggests buying two pairs -- one for regular use and the other, a heavier, more challenging set. Costs: $15 a set.
3) Elastic bands – For resistance training and strengthening muscles. Again, buy two pairs with different levels of resistance, one tougher than the other. Costs: $15 a set.
4) A stability ball – Allows you to add a variety of moves to strengthen your core muscles. Consumer Reports says use a 45-cm ball if you're under 5 feet tall, a 55-cm ball if you're 5 foot 1 inch to 5 foot 7 inches, and a 65-cm if you're taller. Costs: $15 - $40.
5) Workout DVDs – Look for ones with a combination of strength, flexibility and cardio routines. Costs: $15 - $20 each. Or, find a public library where you can check out a large selection for free. The change will keep you from getting bored.

I also walk at least 10,000 steps a day. Some dollar stores stock cheap pedometers to keep track of steps. My friend, Cara, got me two for $2.00 to replace a $30 model. They all break, so go cheap.

With a few pieces of inexpensive equipment, you can get into shape and work off your Thanksgiving dinner. Who are we kidding? It wasn't just dinner, was it?  Ready, Set, Work it off!

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