Power of Movement


No Gym Required


April 2, 2015



You are busy with work, kids, volunteer commitments, etc (insert your own challenge) and find it difficult to get to the gym with any regularity. However, nothing beats the convenience of using your Squat home and/or body as your own gym and you don’t need fancy, expensive equipment to accomplish the same goals: 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio five days a week plus two to three days of strength training.

For cardio, you can walk or run outside, climb stairs inside or do other forms of cardio (jumping jacks, running in place, stair climbing, plyometric exercises, etc) in the comfort of your home with your own music. For strength training, you can use your own bodyweight to perform squats and pushups. Or, you can create your own home gym, spend about the same you would for a 3-month gym membership and store most of it in a closet or under your bed. Here are a few items that are inexpensive to buy to get your started:


Elastic Bands or Tubes

  • Why: These are great for providing resistance training for strengthening or toning muscles.
  • How to buy: Many come in kits of varying tension which is useful for different exercises and as you gain strength.
  • Cost: $10 and up

Exercise Mat

  • Why: You’ll want something to provide cushioning when doing exercises on the floor.
  • How to buy: Opt for one that’s got lots of cushioning and can be easily cleaned. Yoga mats tend to be on the thinner side so I go for a thicker mat.
  • Cost: Under $25. In addition to your sporting goods stores, I’ve seen them at Marshall’s, Target, Home Goods and TJ Maxx, typically for less.

Free Weights

  • Why: These can be used to train every major muscle group.
  • How to buy: Buy at least two sets – a lighter set for your arms and shoulders and a heavier set for chest, back and legs. You want to be able to lift the weight 10-15 times but feel like it’s getting dumbbells-248244-mjust a little heavier towards the end.
  • Cost: Starting at $2 (for one 1-pound weight) and up depending upon the weights or if you opt for an all-in-one that has multiple weight settings. Expect to pay about $10 to $60 for a couple of pairs.


  • Why: Swinging this is great for cardio as well as building muscle in your abs, arms, glutes, legs and shoulders.
  • How to buy: Start with an 8 or 10 pound for women; men can start with 15-25 pounds.
  • Cost: About $15 and up depending upon where you buy it (see above for exercise mat).

Stability Ball

  • Why: Use for exercises to challenge stability and build core strength. Can also be used for leg and glute exercises.
  • How to buy: Buy by your height: 45-cm ball if you’re less than 5 feet tall; 55-cm if you’re 5’1 to 5’7; and 65-cm for 5’8 and taller.
  • Cost: About $30

501951_51716682Jump Rope

  • Why: This will get your heart rate up very quickly for a great cardio workout. Watch TV or listen to music; jump rope during commercial breaks.
  • How to buy: Look for nonslip foam handles. Choose the right length by standing in the middle and checking that the handles reach between your armpits and shoulders.
  • Cost: $6 and up

Heart Rate Monitor

  • Why: It can help you track the intensity of your workout and, depending upon the monitor, track your daily activity level.
  • How to buy: Look for one that has the features you want with a minimum of heart rate tracking and continuous, average, high and low heart rate data.
  • Cost: $40 and up depending on brand and features. You should be able to get a good one for around $50. Do your research on the types and ratings before buying.

There is more equipment you could buy but any of the above will get you started on setting up your home gym. Feel free to invite a friend over to join in.

Source: www.consumerreports.org/health




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