How to Exercise at Home

senior woman exercises with resistance bands

The number one resolution in the United States every year is to become healthier. With an epidemic of obesity in the U.S., it is not a surprise that many Americans recognize the need to make healthier food choices and exercise more.

Many people automatically equate exercise with commercial gyms. It is not uncommon to see people run out and purchase a gym membership after New Year’s Day. There is something symbolic about the beginning of the year. It seems the perfect time to cut out bad habits and make new lifestyle choices. However, many gym owners know that many new customers will stop coming after a few sessions and some procrastinators will never be seen after purchasing a membership!

There’s no reason to wait for the beginning of a new year, or a new month, or even a new week. The best time to make healthier lifestyle choices is now. Access to specialized exercise equipment is nice, but it certainly isn’t necessary. Exercise begins with things as simple as parking farther from the front door of the grocery store or the office each day. A trimmer, healthier body can start with climbing one flight of stairs instead of riding an elevator the entire way. It can include a walk around the block with a spouse after a meal, learning to dance, going for a relaxing swim, or riding a bicycle in the park.

For those who are interested in using exercise equipment, free weights, resistance bands, and exercise balls are good, inexpensive items that can be used at home as well as in a gym. Many people use common household objects in lieu of purchased equipment. Gallon milk jugs containing water weigh approximately 8 pounds when filled, and they can be partially filled to provide lesser weights.

When safe outdoor running or jogging areas are not close at hand, treadmills and elliptical machines provide convenient alternatives. The ones found at commercial gyms are typically high end, heavy duty models, designed to stand up to frequent use. Home versions of the same equipment are less durable, but generally acceptable for single-person or multi-person families. Home models are also priced much more affordably.

Many people prefer elliptical machines over treadmills. The motion of the elliptical eliminates the need for the feet to ever leave the surface of the footpads. This results in a lower-impact workout. While running on a treadmill requires that a person’s body weight be lifted and dropped onto the treadmill surface repetitively, the force exerted on knees and feet is much gentler on an elliptical machine.

Before beginning any exercise regimen, it is important to consult with a physician. Even very light exercise can exacerbate an undiagnosed health condition, possibly resulting in undesired consequences. A simple health screening by a general practitioner can prevent these complications, and the physician will also be able to provide useful advice on the type and frequency of exercise that is appropriate on an individual basis.

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