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Get the most out of a home gym

A man sits on an exercise mat and stretches his arm.

Dec. 28, 2023—With a new year and its resolutions coming soon, you might be thinking about ways to rev up your workout routine. Having a home gym is a great way to add more exercise to your daily life. Best of all, you can personalize your gym for your space and fitness goals.

How to choose the right equipment

Here's what to remember:

  • Consider your budget. Fitness equipment doesn't need to be expensive. For example, you could search for a used treadmill or elliptical machine that's in great condition. Or buy a small set of dumbbells or resistance bands.
  • Start out slowly. It's easy to be overly ambitious when starting a regular exercise program. But before you buy a suite of brand-new machines, think about your fitness goals, motivation and schedule. You can always add more equipment later.
  • Try it out first. When shopping for exercise equipment, wear workout clothes and exercise shoes and try out the machines or gear. Try many options before you buy.
  • Look for the features you need. For example, if you have arthritis or limited mobility, search for home fitness equipment that allows you to fine-tune incline, resistance and speed. When looking at free weights or bands, make sure you can grip them comfortably and safely.

Get the most out of your home gym

Change it up. Making exercise a regular habit can help you stick with it. But that doesn't mean you should do the same workout every time. Doing a variety of exercises can help keep you from becoming bored. Cross-training also helps you avoid injury from repeating the same exercise over and over.

Aim for a mix of aerobic or cardiovascular exercise, strength training and stretching. Adding new exercises doesn't have to add expense. Try streaming a free online yoga class or workout video.

Take a break. If you're enjoying your exercise or working toward a big goal, you might be tempted to do it every day. But your body needs time to recover too. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, to build strength, it's best to work each major muscle group at least two times a week. Then rest that muscle group for one full day between workouts. On the days you're not doing strength exercises, do cardio, stretch or simply rest if you're tired.

Keep kids safe

If you have children at home, be sure to supervise them whenever they're around fitness equipment. Avoid setting up your home gym in a spot where kids routinely play. When you finish using workout machines, unplug them.

Finally, enjoy yourself. Do activities that are fun as well as challenging, and try something new once in a while.

Feel like you're too busy to work out? You don't have to do it all at once. Try these 10-minute fitness ideas.


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