Why Home Exercise?
Sofa to Gym is exactly about home exercise. One thing I know, is it brings results.
Facts from a study shows a direct correlation between people exercising regularly three times a week and exercising at home. That’s got to be good news. There’s no excuse for not exercising. It’s not for the elite. Exercise is for everyone and yes that includes YOU. That’s why I’m here writing this for the ordinary Joe Blogs. That could be the one with the busy lifestyle, or the mum with small children; the shy and body conscious; the ones that can’t afford. Don’t think if you’re ‘skinny’ that you can just skip this blog. Exercise is for you too! The results for exercise are almost endless. In fact here’s a few to give you food for thought:
- Avoidance / limitation of diseases
- Mental wellbeing
- Weight control
- Longevity of life
Just remember, we don’t all go about wearing the exact same clothes. Why should exercise be any different? Exercise should be tailored for YOU.
So let’s get ready. Your class starts now…
Do Home Workouts Really Work?
Yes! Home Exercise is just as effective as a gym workout. It’s less daunting because you have privacy and besides, you can carve out time when YOU want. There is no excuse! Don’t limit yourself to the living room. You can use the garden too.
How do I get started? – The What’s and Where’s
Firstly, you need to ‘make’ your gym space. If you’re one of the lucky ones to have your own gym room then skip this paragraph. Over the years I have built my gym using a mix of equipment and organising my living space to fit it in. It’s amazing what some nice lights (ambience) and a mat can do! Here’s a few other things you could use.
- Posters / paintings (e.g. your favourite quote)
- Exercise Machines (Treadmill, Exercise bike)
- Playlist (Spotify / Alexa / YouTube / Apple Music)
So, What’s the Plan?
Make a personalised plan around the space and equipment you have. You will need to plan:
- What day and time you will exercise?
- How long you will exercise each day
- What specific types of exercises you need to do and how many reps in each session.
Don’t forget to measure your progress. Decide how you’re going to do this. Examples are using a tracker sheet plan. There are also some free apps. Whatever activity you choose be it a running or yoga plan. Therefore, you should definitely have one. It’s half the work in achieving your goal. I will be writing a future blog post on some of the apps I have tried and tested.
The Rise of the Machines
You’re moving up in the world! You’re really catching onto this exercise malarkey and ready to purchase some great equipment. Stop there for a moment. Have a good think about what type of exercise you want to do and what machine you need. We’ve all heard of the treadmill serving as a coat holder. These things are not cheap! Besides, they take some room and you don’t want to clutter up the house.
Tips to Get Going and Keep Going
Let’s face it. We’re all really busy and don’t necessarily want to be shackled to the gym. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could squeeze in 10 to 15 minutes of exercise before you start work? If that’s not your cup of tea then there’s other ways to get you moving.
- Exercise in the commercial breaks. God knows some of these are long enough!
- Keep yourself motivated by writing sticky notes to yourself.
- Track your progress in a fitness app. There are some great free ones.
- Listen to your favourite fitness podcasts.
- Partner up with a buddy.
Home Exercise Routines – The Moves
So, you don’t have the fancy equipment or gym space? Don’t worry, YOU are enough! I have tried and tested this. It’s safe to say especially if you’re starting off that you can exercise using home furniture. Here’s how:
- Step Ups – Use the stairs
- Bench Dips – Use the sofa (don’t just sit on it, get moving!)
- Jog on the spot / skipping ropes
- Arm weights – Tins of beans / roll of wallpaper
- Standing up plank/push up – Use the wall
My Story – How I Started Exercising at Home
I’ll let you in on a secret. You’ll laugh but I’ll tell you anyway because it’s true. It’s not some zero to hero story, but a real one from the heart about me.
I first got into exercising when I graduated. I was never really chubby but knew I was awfully unfit. Exercise was going to help me be more toned and fitter. I couldn’t afford a gym membership and remember watching some old YouTube video about how you could exercise at home. Yeah, at home by just using home furniture. My parents were retired so I was rarely home alone. I was too self-conscious to exercise in front of anyone! I remember sneaking into the kitchen and taking two tins of economy kidney beans. Those were my arm weights.
How I Started Home Exercise – Slowly but Surely
Every evening, I did about 10 minutes of exercise doing various plunges, squats. You name it, I did it. I listened to my favourite playlist. It’s all ‘Alexa play this’ or Spotify but several years ago, I had a mini disk. Remember those? Even now I use simple things like YouTube on my iPhone and a pair of wireless apple ear pods that I stole from my other half! My exercise routine sometimes ended up being thirty minutes to an hour because I actually started to enjoy it. It wasn’t a secret from anyone but it was my space. The little carpet space in my room became my gym.
Home Exercise – My Friend Over the Years
Over the years, exercise served many purposes, from gaining better physical physique and fitness in my 20s, to my 30s, it saved my life. I suffered terrible oedema following a bad flare up with eczema that left me hospitalised for a week. The dermatologist told me to ‘run’ to combat stress and that’s when I bought my Reebok treadmill. Now in my 40s it’s my ‘go to friend’ again in an attempt to combat the C-section pouch. It’s also the ‘me time’ amongst the daily chaos of being a mother of three young children. And of course, it’s my one-way ticket to better health in my 50s and beyond. So now you can understand why home exercise is a passion for me. I want others to jump on the bandwagon too.
Mental Health – How Home Exercise Can Help
One of the benefits I mentioned is that exercise helps our mental wellbeing. Although I have been fortunate not to suffer from this, there are many who do and I hope that specifically home exercise will help catch those that have not stepped into the gym for some reason or other.
Home Exercise – Know the Facts
So, you’ve been reading about home exercise and you’re getting all warmed up about the idea. Don’t forget to actually warm up AND consult your doctor. Come on, you know the drill. Be practical and consult your doctor to avoid injury. There, I’ve said it. I can now breath! Seriously, I know it’s boring and texbookish but it’s so super important which is why I’ve dedicated a whole paragraph.
The Fitness Fridge
Nearly all the gyms have a fridge that is brimming with all those protein shakes and energy bars and drinks. My local one even has a little canteen!
Why can’t we stock up? You’ve probably got everything for starters. I’m really into raw foods so here’s what I’m thinking you should use to boost performance so you’re fitter and faster. Even if no one is watching! These foods are proven to boost performance.
- Peanut butter
- Coconut oil
- Nuts e.g. almonds
- Blueberries – to aid muscle pain
Types of Exercise – Decisions Decisions
If you’re anything like me and you’re mad on running then my advice is to invest in a treadmill. Ones that have an incline are the most useful as they are better at mimicking natural terrain. If you’re a Yoga fan like me…you’ll need a basic yoga mat and a couple of blocks. There are countless YouTube videos that you can subscribe to and follow a session on your Smart TV. My favourite sport is running. I’ve never tried Hip Hop, Salsa or Ballet. Nor am I ashamed to say I’m a novice at Zumba. I’m pretty sure you can try almost every sport with some equipment at home except for swimming! I’m genuinely curious about how you would try some of these types of activities so please do comment below.
The Perfect Session – Not!
I believe the most difficult thing about exercise is actually getting started. Very quickly excuses come to mind. I like to apply a little tactic recommended widely by @jonacuff , author of Finish. Jon says that the day after ‘day perfect’, is the day that we tend to ditch our plan. Instead, we should make our goals more realistic by cutting them in half or allocate more time. I like to make realistic goals, ones that I can possibly achieve! So, the trick is to understand and accept WHERE you are in your journey and improve on that rather than trying to be perfect on day 1. So, say your goal is a marathon. If you haven’t ever exercised, you can’t expect to run 5k on day 1. If you gradually build on it in small achievable goals, you will reach your goal.
A Little Game for You
My strategy which I call ‘3 songs’ is for the beginner, the procrastinator and the perfectionist. You don’t need anything. YOU are enough. Reasons causing you not to exercise should be thrown out the window. You don’t need those perfect trainers, the weight machine, the yoga blocks etc. You just need YOU. I like to put on 3 of my favourite tracks and just ‘move’. There are no set moves, you just move how you like. Do this for a few days and you will establish routine, better fitness and mood. I hope with any luck it will give you the desire to start some routine. You don’t have to do exactly the same exercise as me to start off a regime. Try something that YOU might like. Personally, I always finish off feeling I’ve achieved something and happy I’ve Done My Bit.
Ready Steady. Your Time Starts Now
Don’t wait for tomorrow. Live for today. Especially with what’s been happening recently with the Coronavirus, home exercise has never been more practical. You can do this. It’s so much easier when you know where to start. I have created a 5 minutes, 5 days task sheet for YOU because this has got to work for YOU. On a personal level, I feel that if I change even one person’s life by writing this blog, that I have achieved something great because in my eyes, exercise plays such an important role in our EVERYDAY lives.