Fitness At Home
By: Alison Hall
The Aquatic and Fitness Center, RAC, and Skyline Fitness Centers offer a variety of fitness activities. You can take group fitness classes, lift weights, train your balance, stretch, play basketball—the possibilities are endless. But what do you do when you’re home for spring break? Maybe you are traveling for work, or snowed in? There are many options for home workouts, and they can be just as effective as your workout at the gym.
You don’t need a room full of expensive equipment to work out at home. You can train both cardio and strength without any equipment. You just need enough space to safely move around. It’s not a good idea to think “I won’t trip on that magazine rack.” Move it out of the way, and make use of the space you have. One option is to alternate circuits of body-weight strength exercises with circuits of cardio drills. Start off by doing 30 seconds of work with 30 seconds of rest for each exercise. Always warm up with light cardio 5-7 minutes before you increase your intensity, and stretch the muscles you worked after.
If you do want to add equipment to your home workout, resistance tubing is one of the least expensive and most portable options. Tubing comes in a variety of resistances, and you can always adjust an exercise by changing how you hold the tube. The negative side to tubing is that it can be hard to be consistent with your resistance based on where you hold the tubing. It takes a good mind-body connection to feel that you have the proper resistance. Always inspect your tubing before each workout. If your tubing is torn. Replace it so it does not snap while you are using it.
Many home exercisers invest in a set of dumbbells. They are more expensive than resistance tubing, but you always know what resistance level you are using. Purchase 2-3 different weights of dumbbells, and realize that when they are too light, you will want to buy heavier sets. If you are using heavy dumbbells, be sure to have a spotter. Other good home gym purchases are a yoga mat, stability ball, BOSU, Gliding Discs, and pull-up bar. Most equipment can be purchased at sporting goods stores, discount stores, or online.
ACE fitness (www.acefitness.org) gives a complete library of exercises and stretches for each of the above categories with video demonstrations. The library can help you design a complete workout with or without equipment. StudentHealth101.com also presents workout ideas. However, what if you like having the group fitness instructor or personal trainer telling you what to do? Exercise DVDs are a great option. There are exercise videos for every style of working out. Instructors such as Cathe Freidrich, who is a pioneer in advanced level-home workouts, Tony Horton of P90X fame, and Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser offer advanced strength training and cardio DVDs. If you like indoor cycling and have a bike or trainer at home, Spinervals coach Troy Jacobson has workouts for general fitness or elite cycling. Zumba has a line of workouts with the same party feel of a live class. There also are many yoga and Pilates DVDs on the market for every level. Many instructors are transitioning into downloadable workouts as well. Videofitness.com is a great resource for exercise DVD reviews. The reviews are written by consumers, not the instructors or producers of the workouts. Collagevideo.com and totalfitnessdvds.com have clips of all the DVDs they sell, so you can get a taste of the workout before buying it. Some instructors post videos of full workouts for free online, so if you find one you like, you can search for that.
Now “I can’t get to the gym” is not an excuse. Use the space and equipment you have, and have a great next workout.