Maximizing Workouts Without a Gym
Written by Jamison Splett, a Mayo Clinic registered clinical exercise physiologist
It’s 2021, and we’re still in a global health crisis. The silver lining? You now have a new home gym; though there may not be treadmills, weight machines, and an elliptical. Also missing: the need for fancy gym clothes, judgement, parking, and the excuse of “having to GO to the gym”.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends accumulating 150-300 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise per week. This can happen in increments of 10 or more minutes at a time. At home, if you can find a 5 foot by 5 foot square space, there is a plethora of new tools that can help you exercise within the confines of your own home.
TheBodyCoachTV (YouTube.com) – A youth physical education teacher created a workout library to include fat burning exercises, high intensity interval training (HIIT), low impact exercises, and weekly programs to follow. It’s free, can be done at home, and only requires a smartphone or computer with internet access!
BeachBody On Demand – This exercise company has collected a library of longer term exercise programs (1 week to ~ 3 months) to kick start a weight loss or exercise program. Programs range from HIIT, cardio, yoga, and even dancing! Access to the library costs about $100 for the year, but you get access to everything from the workouts, eating plans, and calendars to help you stay on track. Easy to do at home!
Fit On App – This free (Yes, actually FREE) app allows one to have access to live and on-demand exercise classes that can be completed anywhere. Classes available include cardio, strength, HIIT, dance, Pilates, and pre- and post-natal workouts, to name some of them.
Walking – Walking IS our typical mode of transportation, but we don’t typically do this for long periods of time. If we extend the amount of time we walk (for the purposes of exercise), we increase the amount of cardiovascular benefit and the calories burned. And its FREE!
Not everyone has gym-quality resistance training equipment at home. Resistance bands are an excellent option and readily available online and in many stores.
Because we’re now working out at home, we need to get rid of the misconception that a “weight” has to be shaped like a dumbbell, iron plate, or a machine with more cables and pulleys than you know what to do with. For example, a gallon of water weighs 8 lbs. If you draw three evenly spaced, horizontal lines on the side, you’ve just created the ability to have a 2, 4, 6, or 8 pound weight for resistance training (depending on how much water you add).
Regardless of which tool you use, or if you have a solution that works for you, there are some recommendations made to most patients:
- Never go more than 3 days in a row without exercise
- Set weekly goals (complete 5 workouts of any type, 30 minutes each = 150 minute/week goal)
- Track your progress (minutes of walking, distance walked, steps per day, etc.)