Most of us say the same thing when faced with the need to exercise: “we don’t have the time!”. Oddly, however, we seldom hear ourselves (or each other) saying “we don’t have enough space!”. However, this complaint is indeed just as legitimate as the first excuse — er, we mean reason — because, after all, how many of us have seven-bedroom homes in the city or sprawling cottages in the country? In expensive cities like New York, Boston or Vancouver, where apartments don’t really give you much bang for your buck, where do you find the space to accommodate a home gym?
Don’t fret. If you live in what some creative real estate people call “efficiency” apartments — you know, the kind with no garage and no bedroom and about half a window – this shouldn’t be a hindrance to getting your workout equipment in place. Here’s how:
Start with the “Small Portables”
Let’s not think “equipment” here, because this conjures up images of heavy and bulky machines that take up a lot of space. Instead, let’s focus on tools and accessories that are easy to carry around, and can also be stored away snugly in closets, shelves, or perhaps behind stereo speakers.
There’s now a “supermarket” variety of exercise accessories that will help us get started on our fitness routine. The most basic of these are the dumb bells. Some retail outlets (or gyms) will even sell used equipment at a nice discount. Remember: purchase dumb bells with weights that you can lift comfortably, and purchase two others with pounds that are either heavy or too heavy. The reason for this is that you want to challenge your muscles and grow them. A good guide, according to exercise therapists, is to choose a weight that you can do eight repetitions with no problem, and the ninth and tenth repetition “to failure”.
Another popular small accessory for resistance training is elastic bands; and again, you don’t need a lot of space to work with them. Bands are available in varying lengths, depending on the type of exercise you’re doing. For instance, there is what some retailers call the “power shaper” which you can use to increase bicep size, work your shoulders, or tone your chest and triceps.
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If you’re not into dumb bells or elastic bands, there are jump ropes and mini trampolines as well. Some of these mini trampolines will fit in your closet with no problem.
Of course, lest we forget the toning balls, Swedish balls, and medicine balls. They primarily help tone the thighs and abdominal muscles, but can also strengthen other core muscles, such as the back and the chest. These balls are typically sold with charts and step-by-step instructions on how to properly perform various strength-building exercises.
Equipment: Lightweight and Portable
No, sorry, that used treadmill that the gym has put up for sale will not even make it through your front door. These treadmills are for industrial use and are built to handle extreme pressure. If you insist on a home gym, albeit the limited space available for it, go for the machines that can be folded and stored easily. Most machines like ellipticals, stair climbers, treadmills, and recumbent/upright bikes are now built for home use, and as such can be easily folded and hidden in some nook or cranny (kind of like an ironing board).
Less is More
Yup, we live in the area of the micro-everything. Computers, cars, and now, fitness equipment. More people are demanding items that fit into their somewhat limited living spaces, and manufacturers are listening loud and clear. Explore your options, and don’t let “not enough space” be your excuse for avoiding a healthy lifestyle!