We are fast approaching that time of year when we start thinking about setting goals and making this year better than the last. Don’t worry… I’m not going to use the “R” word. As a 10+ year veteran of the fitness industry, I can say that I’ve heard many of them…
- “Lose weight”
- “Quit smoking”
- “Start working out… again”
- “Get in shape”
- “Drink more water”
- “Eat Better”
… I could go on and on. However, each one of these popular New Year’s… oops, I almost said it… GOALS have one big benefit in common – BETTER HEALTH.
At this point it is widely known and accepted that physical activity and good health go hand in hand.
According to the CDC, adults over 18 years of age need 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity weekly along with weight training activities that work all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.
That may sound like a lot at first, but remember, we are setting goals here and something is certainly better than nothing.
With that in mind, how can you set yourself up for success? If you can’t go to a gym on a regular basis, there are still plenty of exercises that you can do with a few pieces of simple equipment in your own home. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a BowFlex or a Treadmill to create a “home gym”. Here are a few basic and affordable items to get you started:
You probably don’t want to be lying directly on the floor of your garage or spare bedroom while you are working up a sweat. An exercise mat provides excellent support during basic floor exercises such as crunches, push-ups, sit ups, and leg lifts.
If you prefer Yoga for your workout either home or away, consider a mat specifically for that practice. A Yoga mat is safer to use than a generic mat. This is because the secure and textured surface will ensure that neither you nor the mat slips during practice. Even if you aren’t a “yogi” just yet, but you might want to be in the future, a Yoga mat can still provide a good base of support for floor exercises.
While you are lying or sitting on your mat, you might also think about working on your flexibility. Adding a foam roller to your stretching routine will help you increase blood flow to the muscle and lead to greater flexibility and range of motion over time. Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release (SMR) that mimics the feel and benefits of a deep tissue massage. Mid length (18”) and long (36”) round rollers offer better surface area and support for both small and large muscle groups.
If you are new to foam rolling techniques or are turned off by the phrase “deep tissue massage”, start out with the Closed Cell Foam Roller. This will provide you a lighter SMR experience. The High Density Foam Roller is firmer than its Closed Cell counterpart and provides durable support for moderate intensity SMR.
One of our all-time best sellers! You can find them in use from a physical therapy clinic to an athletic training room. Perhaps it is due to the fact that Versa Tubes are one of the most lightweight, versatile, and portable solutions for resistance training. Not only are they available in different resistance levels, but also in different lengths to accommodate user height. The Versa Tube Short is great for users 5’ tall or less, while the Versa Tube Long is great for users over 6’.
Not sure which resistance level is right for you? No worries. Here is a quick reference chart to help you decide. The range is based on stretching the tube up to three times its resting length.
|Color||Approx. lbs of Force Range|
|Orange||4 – 8 lbs|
|Lime Green||5 – 13 lbs|
|Red||8 – 16 lbs|
|Light Blue||11 – 22 lbs|
|Purple||13 – 27 lbs|
|Gray||15 – 31 lbs|
No gym is complete without Versa-Tubes. Not to mention that you can take them with you when you travel! Check out the complete Versa-Tube Kit for one of each resistance bundled at a discounted price!
It has been called many things… “Yoga Ball”, “Swiss Ball”, “Exercise Ball”… we call it a VersaBall. These can be used for a variety of exercises from core training, to flexibility, to body weight training. You can even reap the benefits from swapping one out for your desk chair. Check out the blog post from this summer on Promotive Active Sitting for a full list of benefits.
One of the most common questions I receive about stability balls is,
“How do I know what size I need?”
Choose a stability ball based on your height.
|Ball Diameter||User Height|
|45 cm (17.7”)||4’6” to 5’0”|
|55 cm (21.6”)||5’1” to 5’7”|
|65 cm (25.5”)||5’8” to 6’1”|
|75 cm (29.5”)||6’2” to 6’7”|
Fitness technology has grown exponentially over the past few years. The range of products seems to increase each year in both variety and accessibility to the public. Many of the devices that were once reserved for the clinical setting are now small, sleek, and portable and found on wrists and smartphones. However, you don’t need to invest in the newest, latest, and greatest to experience health benefits.
A digital scale and a body fat monitor can be used at home to keep an eye on your weight and body composition. Set a small goal of reaching 10,000 steps per day and track it with a pedometer. If you do have a smartphone, start to keep a food journal on the MyFitnessPal app or one of the many other free fitness and nutrition tracking apps available. Use a Heart Rate Monitor to reach and track your target heart rate during a workout.
Tracking your fitness goals and progress with technology can be fun! Choose an option that meets your needs, be consistent, and you might just develop a healthy habit or two before Spring.
These are just a few simple tools to provide an effective total body workout at home. On those days that you don’t have time to get to the gym, simply grab one or two of these items and commit to at least 20 minutes of activity. It is one of the best things that you can do to set yourself up for a Healthy New Year!