The winter chill may stop a lot of physical activities, but your fitness shouldn’t be one of them. Though you can still run outdoors with the right tools, you can stay just as fit within the warm walls of your house. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of the must-have indoor gym items that won’t break your budget.
To create a successful winter fitness routine, start off by choosing the right equipment for your goals. Any of the following are great choices for building your own home gym:
1) Resistance Band – Compact, portable and allowing for a wide range of motion, these bands can be used pretty much any way that a dumbbell can. Plus, you can adjust the amount of resistance in seconds.
2) Stability Ball – A fun, yet challenging way to stretch, tone and tighten your body, the unstable surface of a stability ball strengthens the core muscles, resulting in improved balance, alignment and posture.
3) Jump Rope – Adding cardio to your regimen is a great way to achieve weight loss, strengthen the heart and lungs, and increase bone density, all while staying in the same place.
4) Medicine Ball – Suitable for all ages, fitness levels and sizes, the medicine ball allows for increased range of motion and improves core strength, coordination, flexibility, joint integrity and upper and lower body strength.
5) Velcro Ankle Bands – Strap these soft, padded ankle cuffs so that the Velcro strap is on the inside of your ankles, then step forward, backward, side-to-side or diagonally – keeping tension in the band – to strengthen the entire lower body.
6) Walking Shoes – As walking is the number one exercise for strengthening bones and joints, choose the proper footwear: walking shoes provide more support and tend to be stiffer and heavier than running shoes.
7) Foam Roller – This is a great body-training tool to help relieve muscle tension, improve core strength, balance and flexibility, while also improving posture and skeletal alignment.
8) Exercise Mat – This staple item is perfect for any floor exercise program – such as Yoga or Pilates – and can be lightweight and easy to carry.
9) Kettlebell – A great whole-body conditioning tool used for rotational training and improving core function, the kettlebell allows you to mimic many of the same exercises you would do in a gym with machines or free weights but with more control, building both core strength and stability.
10) Dumbbells – Perfect for aerobics, step training, walking or home workouts, start slowly with the dumbbells then gradually build up duration and intensity by increasing repetitions and weight.
Keeping your muscles in shape during the winter months is important because it improves your heart health, overall balance and strength, and your metabolism – so one extra Christmas cookie won’t hurt.