Scheduling exercise into your home life is a perfect way to ensure you show up to your workouts, and reach your fitness goals.
There’s no one “right” way to get in shape.
When it comes to exercise, the point is simply to move your body more, and in ways you enjoy. Whether that means going to the gym, heading outdoors, or finding ways to get creative from the comfort of your own home, all you need is a plan that keeps you motivated and challenging yourself.
Working out at home can easily check all the boxes of a well-rounded fitness plan, so don’t box yourself into a mindset that keeps your house only for eating, TV watching, and other day-to-day activities. Scheduling exercise into your home life is a perfect way to ensure you show up to your workouts, and reach your fitness goals.
Benefits of Working Out at Home
Before we move onto the “how-to” of working out at home, let’s start with some of the excellent benefits just waiting to be reaped.
1. ENJOYING YOUR WORKOUTS
There should never be a reason to force yourself into doing an exercise you don’t enjoy. Just because you see your neighbor going for a jog everyday, there’s no need to feel pressured to do the same if you don’t like running, for example. The beauty of working out at home is that you give yourself the freedom to find what works best for your preferences and body. Between YouTube videos, apps, and live streaming workouts, there are plenty of ways to find an exercise routine that you truly enjoy.
Whether you are a fitness novice or a seasoned athlete, there are endless ways to challenge your body at home and outdoors.
2. CONNECTING WITH NATURE
Whether it is in your backyard or around the neighborhood, research shows that breathing fresh air and feeling the earth under your feet can make a significant difference in boosting your feel-good hormones. It also ups your vitamin D levels if you live in a sunny place, which is key for mood and immune health. (1)
At-home exercise that can be done outdoors includes bodyweight workouts, walking, jogging, jump rope and more.
3. STAYING WITHIN YOUR BUDGET
If a gym membership isn’t within your budget, don’t sweat it! The last thing you need is exercise to be another stressor in your life, and in fact, it should be just the opposite. Working out at home is free of charge and can be just as effective as going to the gym.
4. LISTENING TO YOUR BODY
I like to think of fitness in the holistic sense of the word, and going to the gym is not the only definition of health. At-home workouts allow you to listen to your body each day, and cater to its needs. If you have endless energy one day, you can go for a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout, and the next day if you’re feeling more fatigued, a restorative yoga session.
5. WORKING WITHIN YOUR SCHEDULE
Hands down, the most common fitness challenge for most people is time. Working out from home means you’re more likely to fit in a workout when you can, minus the commute to a gym. For example, if you can wake up 30 minutes earlier, that’s enough to get in a great workout and move on with your day. You can also use commercial breaks to do planks in the evening, or squats while you brush your teeth. The options are endless!
10 Tips for Working Out at Home
Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of how to put together a top notch fitness plan from the comfort of your own home, and—perhaps most importantly—stay motivated.
1. PUT YOUR GYM CLOTHES ON FIRST THING
Particularly if your workouts will be first thing in the morning, keep your shoes and clothes right next to your bed, and put them on first thing upon waking. This eliminates the possible distractions that can leave you without enough time for your workout. Getting dressed in your workout gear gets you in the mindset that you will be working out today.
2. MAKE SOME MINOR INVESTMENTS
This certainly doesn’t need to be an at-home gym (although it can, if you’d like), but consider investing in some inexpensive and easy-to-find equipment like a resistance band, mini band, stability ball, yoga mat, set of dumb bells, or TRX. These will allow you to take advantage of more online fitness videos and resources, and allow you to challenge your body in different ways.
Keep in mind this is only optional, and bodyweight exercises that involve no equipment can also be highly effective.
3. CREATE A SPACE
Whether you have equipment or not, create a space for movement and exercise in your home. This might just be a corner of the house where you’ve cleared some space, or an extra room or garage, if possible. The point is simply that you have an area specifically for working out, just like you would if you worked from home.
4. ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS
Let’s face it, working out from home does lend itself to more distractions than working out at the gym. You might be tempted by a long list of other things to do around the house, or pressing requests from others.
Share your fitness goals with your family or housemates, as this will help them to support you and allow you the time and space for at-home workouts. Also, take stock of what tends to distract you the most. Be it cooking, sorting mail, cleaning the house or something else, be conscious of what is distracting you and do your best to avoid this common pitfall.
5. SCHEDULE IT INTO YOUR DAY
On a similar note, scheduling exercise into your day can help eliminate distractions, and ensure you show up to your workout. Schedule your home sweat session just like you would a gym session, work meeting, or picking up your kids from school. Write it down on your calendar, and treat it like any other obligation you wouldn’t miss.
6. EXPLORE FITNESS VIDEOS
Nowadays, the internet is full of some great fitness videos. Spend a little time talking with your friends to get recommendations and looking at videos on YouTube that fit your needs, interests and fitness level. You can find everything from resistance workouts with or without equipment, cardio-focused sessions, yoga, pilates, dance and more. There are options for everyone’s preferences and fitness level.
7. SWITCH IT UP
One great benefit of working out at home is that you can switch it up easily, which is important to keep your body challenged and progressing. If you do the same workout for a long time, your body adjusts and you’ll stop seeing the results you’re working towards.
Easy ways to switch up your workouts can be choosing different types of fitness videos instead of always repeating the same one (yoga one day and high intensity the next), increasing variables of your strength training routines like more reps, weight or less rest time, and different exercise selection.
8. TRACK YOUR WORKOUTS
This goes for anywhere you’re exercising, as studies show that tracking your activity helps to keep you motivated and working harder. (2) If you have or want to purchase a fitness tracker, like a Fitbit, that’s a great way to easily track your daily step count, and more. There are many free and paid apps like MyFitness Pal, Yes Health (which offers personalized in-app coaching as well) and others to help you track. Or, do it the old fashioned way by simply jotting down your workouts on a piece of paper.
9. DO MORE OPPORTUNISTIC EXERCISE
Opportunistic exercise refers to exercise that you squeeze into moments of the day, outside of a scheduled workout. For example, taking the stairs when you’re out and about, doing squats while you brush your teeth, standing up during a meeting, walking while on a call, and more. Think about ways to simply incorporate more movement into your daily life, because it truly adds up at the end of the day.
10. GET THE FAMILY INVOLVED
If you have kids, finding the time and space for at-home workouts isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Think of creative ways to get your family involved, like going for family walks after dinner, holding your baby or toddler while you do squats, playing tag outside, hikes on the weekend and more. This will benefit the whole family, and creates space for new types of quality time together. Studies also show that engaging the family in fitness is highly beneficial for the health and wellness of children. (3)
Remember, you don’t need a gym membership to reach your fitness goals. Working out at home can challenge your body in new ways, make it easier to find the time and show up, and just takes some creativity and a desire to re-think your exercise plan.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. Readers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither the author(s) nor the publisher of this content take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All readers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.
3. Brown, H. E., Schiff, A., & van Sluijs, E. M. (2015). Engaging families in physical activity research: a family-based focus group study. BMC public health, 15, 1178. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-015-2497-4