Working Out At Home: Practical Tips For A New Era Of Fitness

Written by Angie Arriesgado
Featured image for article on working out at home

We all can’t wait for this pandemic to end. It’s practically turned many of us into hermits, spending all our time at home and socially distancing from everyone else. It’s more important than ever to ensure we remain fit and healthy to fight off infection and disease, including the dreaded COVID-19 virus. So, in this article, I’ll share fitness tips for working out at home plus a few bonus outdoor tips at the end (for those who really need to get out of the house). 

Home workout tips and ideas for all budgets 

The type of exercises you can do at home will ultimately depend on how much free space you’ve got as well as your budget. Fortunately, you don’t need fancy equipment to start working out. Alright, let’s get started. Here are the best fitness tips for people working at home! 

Home workout tips and ideas for all budgets

Level 1: Investment needed – Zero / Free

You don’t need to shell out any money to burn calories at home. You just need to get creative. Fortunately, if you’ve got a lot of furniture and stuff lying around, you can use them as alternative exercise accessories. How? Well, check our list below!

  • Household chores – it’s also called ‘housework’ for a reason. You can burn some serious calories while keeping your house neat at the same time! 
Vacuuming the entire houseCleaning the bathroom
Shoveling the snow outsideWiping the windows clean
Sweeping and mopping floorsRearranging the furniture
Doing the laundry  Mowing the lawn
Wiping all surfacesIroning clothes
  • Bodyweight exercises for cardio, endurance, and strength training – these exercises require no equipment, just your body!
JumpsSquats
Jumping jacksPlanks
Jogging in placePush ups
SkipsSit ups
Side shuffleCrunches
LungesPull ups
KicksBurpees
Minimal investment workouts

Level 2: Investment needed – Minimal

If you want more variety in your home workouts, check out these options which require minimal investment:

  • Fitness accessories – there are plenty of fitness accessories to choose from. Figure out your fitness goals and then buy the accessories that will help you achieve those goals.
Jump ropeFoam roller
Resistance bandsGliding core discs
Yoga matDumbbells
Exercise ballKettlebells
Ab rollerPull up bar
  • An online workout subscription – if you need extra motivation and you need guidance from a pro, then subscribing to a workout subscription plan may be worth your money. Perhaps your local gym even offers such a plan, so give them a call too!  
A home gym can require significant investment

Level 3: Investment needed – Significant

If you’ve got the space and the budget, then these are the best equipment for working out at home.

  • Home gym equipment – with your very own gym, you can workout any time you like and even invite friends over. Of course, you don’t need to buy all of these machines, one or two will probably be enough to help you reach your fitness goals.
TreadmillBoxing gear, such as:
Elliptical machineHeavy bags
Stationary bikeBoxing gloves
Rowing machineHand wraps
Power towerRacks and hangers
  • Hire a personal trainer – a personal trainer is a more expensive option than an online workout subscription, but if you’re serious about meeting your fitness goals (and your budget allows it), this is the way to go. Trainers can customize your training program, hold you accountable, and give you the motivation you need!
you can achieve different fitness goals at home

Fitness goals you can achieve when working out at home

It’s important to know your “why” when it comes to exercising at home. With everything going on in the world right now, it’s easy to procrastinate. Figure out what you want to achieve so you can start working to make that happen! Fortunately, by consistently working out at home you can hit these different goals – all at the same time! Talk about hitting multiple birds with one stone!

  • Stay in shape and lose the excess weight

The pandemic has brought about a new trend. It’s called ‘quarantine weight gain.’ Now, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, we all need to cope in one way or another. But now it’s time to start taking action and go back down to your pre-pandemic weight!  

  • Build muscle

Who said home workouts are boring?! There are so many different ways you can work out and exercise at home, you won’t even miss going to the gym. To build some muscle, you can invest in barbells and weight plates. Or you can use your own bodyweight, or simply lift heavy stuff at home. As long as you’re consistently challenging the muscles you want to build, you’ll soon see some progress!

  • Boost mental health

If you’re feeling like a prisoner in your own home, try working out. Exercise can do a lot for your mental health. It reduces anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions. It improves your mood and makes you more alert mentally (1).

  • Improve immunity

Exercise is part and parcel of a healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activity helps boost antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, which improves the body’s immune system as a whole (2).

  • Protect yourself and your family

By staying indoors and working out at home, you’re limiting your exposure to the virus. If you’re living with someone immunocompromised, this simple act demonstrates your love and unselfishness, too!

  • Save some cash

Yep, you get to save a ton of money by not paying for a gym membership, buying snacks at the vending machine, parking, and gas for your car. You also have the freedom to workout anytime you like – and in any outfit you prefer!

girl on exercise ball

Which of the following is not a short-term fitness goal?

There are two types of fitness goals: short term and long term. Short term goals are goals you want to achieve in the near future, e.g. in a month, next week, in a few days, or even today. On the other hand, long term goals are those that will take some time to achieve, maybe six months to a year or so.

So, which of these are NOT short-term fitness goals?

Do 10 push ups in a rowDevelop 6-pack abs
Jog in place for 5 minutes without wheezingLower body fat percentage
Walk a mile in the treadmillLose 30 pounds
Do 10 sit ups in 2 repetitionsRun a marathon
Use the jump rope for 5 minutes straightWear clothes that are 2 sizes smaller
Run a mile in under 30 minutesImprove your blood test results on next appointment
Exercise at least 10 minutes everydayClimb the tallest mountain in the country

Answer: Everything in the left-hand column are short term goals and everything in the right-hand column are long term fitness goals.

it’s hard to maintain a fitness program

Why is it often easier to start a fitness program than it is to maintain one?

Well, in the beginning, your motivation is off the charts. You can’t wait to see the scales move, you feel great after exercising, and you’re super excited to see an improved you! However, life soon gets in the way – work, classes, family, out of town trips, etc. And before you know it, you find yourself struggling to even do your warmup exercises. You start making excuses, like you’re “too tired” or “too busy” or “I’ll do it next week” and so on.

So, how do you make sure you stick to your program?

Well, for starters, you can print out both short term and long term goals and put them up where you can read them every day! Better yet, have a reward system in place. For every goal you achieve, treat yourself to something nice. Also, find a balanced routine and make exercising part of your daily habit. And find a supportive fitness buddy who will hold you accountable to your fitness goals!

Why does weight training improve muscular strength more than cardiorespiratory fitness?

Weight training exercises are great for muscle building and improving muscular strength. It does this by literally stressing the muscles to force them to adapt and get stronger. This type of exercise typically uses barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, and weight machines to create resistance and promote muscle growth.

Cardio exercises, on the other hand, may not do much for muscle strength, but it’s great for people who want to burn calories and lose some weight. It helps improve lung capacity and it even strengthens your heart. Cardio includes brisk walking, running, jogging, swimming, and cycling, to name a few.  

outdoor fitness tips if you need a change of scenery

Bonus Section: Outdoor fitness tips (for when you need a change of scenery!)

Right, so you’ve tried all of the home fitness tips above. And you’re tired of seeing the same wallpaper and doing the same routine every day. Now, a lot of playgrounds and parks are still closed to the public, so depending on where you are, some of these outdoor activities may or may not apply to you. Don’t forget to bring a mask and physically distance from other people, too.  

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Running
  • Take dogs out for a walk
  • Hiking
  • Nature walk with kids
  • Biking

Conclusion

Working out at home may take some getting used to, especially if you’re a gym bunny.  However, the pandemic has brought about a new era of fitness and it’s important to adapt. Hopefully, these tips for working out at home gave you a few ideas, so you can crush your fitness goals! Remember, you’re doing yourself and your loved ones a favor by staying indoors and keeping safe.  You are also improving your overall health and boosting your immune system. In addition to regular workouts, you should also aim to eat a balanced diet and to take enough vitamins and minerals (at the right time of a day!).

References:

(1) Sharma, Ashish et al. “Exercise for mental health.” Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry vol. 8,2 (2006): 106. doi:10.4088/pcc.v08n0208a

(2) Nieman, David C, and Laurel M Wentz. “The compelling link between physical activity and the body’s defense system.” Journal of sport and health science vol. 8,3 (2019): 201-217. doi:10.1016/j.jshs.2018.09.009

(3) Ralston, Grant W et al. “The Effect of Weekly Set Volume on Strength Gain: A Meta-Analysis.” Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.) vol. 47,12 (2017): 2585-2601. doi:10.1007/s40279-017-0762-7