Whether you are planning to start a new exercise regime this New Year or to break up your boring gym routine, having a space to exercise at home can be a lifesaver during long winter days. A dedicated home gym is a luxury few of us can afford, but with a few simple and affordable touches, you can set up an exercise space in your home to keep you moving and motivated until spring.
If you are just starting an exercise routine, start small. Rather than invest in a large piece of exercise equipment that you may not enjoy in the long-term, look for a program on-line or on DVD suited to your fitness level. Ideally it will be led by a trainer who you enjoy watching and will not require much special equipment. Take the time to find a program that appeals to you and that you feel enthusiastic about.
If you already have an established fitness routine, it may make sense to invest in a piece of your favorite equipment for home to augment your gym workouts. Maybe you really enjoyed rowing on the lake this summer, or you love to cycle but just cannot bear to bike on the coldest days. A stationary bike, rowing machine, or treadmill may make your favorite form of exercise more accessible to you.
Find the space in your home best suited to exercise, a room where you enjoy spending time. Since there needs to be room to move, for most of us this will be a living or family room, but a spare bedroom or finished basement could also work. The important thing is to choose a space where you will be comfortable and have everything you need for your workout. Give this space a thorough cleaning (it is no fun to find dust bunnies during your downward-dog), and think about what you can do to make if feel airy and inviting. Perhaps add some warm lighting or a plant, which will also increase oxygen. Some exercisers like to have a mirror on hand to watch and correct their form. Whatever you do, make choices that will create a space where you are more likely to exercise.
Most of us will end up exercising in a room that is also used for another purpose, but there are plenty of ways to camouflage your equipment so that it doesn't take over the space. Decorative screens, curtains, and bookshelves can all be creatively deployed to hide your equipment when it is not in use. Simple exercise equipment such as hand weights, a yoga mat, resistance bands, or jump ropes are all small investments, and can be easily stowed in a basket or storage ottoman, out of sight - but not so far out of sight that it will give you an excuse to put off your workout.
Some people prefer the bustle and activity of the gym or rely on the motivation of a trainer to keep their fitness on track. But if you are a self-starter, exercising at home can be a satisfying and rewarding habit. Your home should be a place where you can rest and relax - and also where you feel inspired and energized to live your best life.