Have you been skipping the gym too many times? Enough with the excuses. Just because you can’t get out (or don’t want to join a gym), doesn’t mean you can’t stay fit. Here’s everything you need to work out at home successfully without going into debt.
1. The Right Surface
If you have a spare area in your home to call your own, create a cushioned surface with a foam mat. Interlocking mats are handy because you can customize the square footage.
If your workout space needs to be convertible, a yoga mat is a good way to go. I like the extra wide, extra thick mats from Yoga Direct. They give you a lot of surface area and are thick enough to provide a soft surface on hard flooring. I’ve had mine for over three years and it’s juuust about time to replace it.
You might think you’re just working out at home, so why wear anything special? Think again.
“Gearing up in clothing that’s designed for you to work out is one of the most powerful reminders to get into your fitness practice,” said Tara Mackey, health expert, author of “Cured By Nature” and founder of The Organic Life blog. “When I was first starting to change my exercise habits, I simply left my workout clothes and running shoes out by my bed the night before. This becomes an automatic reminder to make fitness a priority — first thing in the morning.”
No matter what kind of workouts you prefer, it’s wise to stock up on a few essentials should you decide to branch out. A good place to start is with an all-in-one kit like the FitKit — Total Fitness in a Kit. This kit contains essentials like resistance bands, a door anchor and a jump rope. It’s also weighs only 2 pounds so it’s good for travel. It includes fitness cards to help get you started and you’ll have access to a library of more than 250 exercises. For more workout options, check out YouTube, where you’ll find hundreds — if not thousands — of free fitness videos of any style, length or discipline you can imagine.
Mackey suggests weights as well. “Even if you have to use soup cans (which is what I did before I could afford a set of weights), make sure you are lifting at least a little bit every day,” she said. “Today, the investment is minimal; you can find five-pound weights for less than $20 on Amazon.” I also like to have a couple of kettle bells and an exercise ball on hand. Check out my quick video about my home workout setup, i.e. the living room.
Even if you’re working out at home, you can go overboard. For days when you are experiencing soreness, keep a muscle rub, like the Procure Epsom Salt Rub on hand. This lightweight gel is a blend of of Epsom salt and aloe vera to sooth sore muscles. And it’s fragrance-free so you won’t smell like a walking bottle of menthol. I also strongly recommend a heating pad.
5. Keep on working
And for those days when you don’t feel like doing anything at all, you can at least keep your muscles engaged as you’re sitting around. Place a Back Posture Cushion on the chair at your desk. Not only is it helpful for back pain and is comfortable to sit on, it functions like a fitness ball. Its unstable surface forces your body to sit actively to stay balanced, which, in turn, strengthens your core. Or, invest in a fitness ball, which you can use as a desk chair replacement, for a similar effect. Fitness balls are also great to use during your workouts.
As you begin your new workout regimen you’ll want to meet with your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough to do the workouts you’re planning. Likewise, you’ll want to check your financial health before buying a bunch of equipment. You don’t want to gain physical fitness at the cost of fiscal fitness. You can start by checking your credit scores absolutely free on Credit.com.
This article originally appeared on Credit.com.