7 Tips for Working Out at Home, According to Experts

Couple working out at home

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Working out at home is a great option for individuals who are short on time, looking for a different routine, or simply trying to save money on gym memberships. But it can be overwhelming to try something new! You might have some concerns, such as how to make the most out of a home workout, where to find routines, and what equipment you'll need. 

Once your concerns have been addressed, exercising at home can be a worthwhile shift (or at least a good option!) for your workout routine. Read on for advice regarding types of exercise, necessary equipment, routines, instructors, safety, and taking care of your body as you workout at home. 

Choosing a Workout Space

When you are ready to start your workout routine, you will need to choose a workout space. This space should be easily accessible and have room for equipment storage (if necessary) and exercise movement.

Understandably, not everyone can easily set aside enough room for a dedicated workout spot. If you have minimal room, you may want to incorporate your workout space into another space, like a living room or bedroom. Outdoor settings, like backyards or patios, can also be good options when the weather is nice.

As long as you're able to move through your workout without bumping into furniture or hitting a wall, any space can be adapted into a workout space. No fancy home gym set-up is required to get a solid workout in during your day.

Types of Exercise to Do at Home

There are many different kinds of exercises to look into, so it may be worth starting by learning about a few basic “umbrella” categories. Then, when choosing your routines, include stretching, cardio, and strength exercises.

Stretching

Stretching can help to improve flexibility in muscles and is intended to help avoid injuries when working out. Many people believe you should always stretch when working out, either before or after. An excellent way to target specific muscles would be using active individual muscle stretching.

Cardio

Cardio is aerobic exercise, meaning that it helps keep your cardiovascular system healthy via repetitive movements involving large muscle groups. Types of cardio include walking, jogging, running, dancing, hiking, bicycling, and swimming.

Some of these activities can be more intimidating than others, but there is a type of cardio for everyone. In fact, walking can be an excellent option for almost everyone. If you choose to walk, your workout can be as simple as walking around your block or neighborhood once a day. 

Strength Training

Strength training, also known as weight training, helps maintain muscle mass and function. It’s not always about getting bigger muscles; instead, it's about having healthy muscles.

Keeping your muscles healthy as you get older can prevent muscle loss, bone loss, and improve your quality of life. Not only that, but strength training can improve mood, give a sense of accomplishment, and even boost self-esteem.

How to Vary Your Home Workout Routine

Just because you're working out at home doesn't mean you have to do the same thing every day. Changing it up is good for your body and mind.

Here are some ways to vary your workout routine:

  • Boost your intensity: begin with short intervals of intensity, working your way to longer time periods as your level progresses
  • Cross-train: try different activities to engage different muscles
  • Change the sequence of movements: do things in a different order each day; this will change how your muscles adapt
  • Change the location: if you walk, jog, or run, try changing your environment, such as finding more inclined areas

For some, a repetitive routine is not necessarily a bad thing. If you prefer the comfort and reliability of doing the same thing every day, and you do not mind the possibility of reaching a plateau, then it is perfectly healthy to keep a repetitive routine. Your routine (and the changes you make within it) is really up to personal preference.

Helpful Equipment for Home Workouts

Home workouts can often be done by combining bodyweight exercises, allowing your desired workout area to stay equipment-free! That being said, having a few small things can often help you add to certain exercises, allowing you to add more variations to the movements you've chosen.

Here's some basic gym equipment to add to your home workout routine:

  • Dumbbells
  • Resistance bands
  • Yoga mat
  • Running sneakers
  • Punching bag
  • Ankle weights

Additionally, some safety-inspired workout gear, like a reflective vest, can be helpful if you find yourself adding outdoor cardio to your routine.

How to Set Attainable Goals

While you don't necessarily have to set goals for your workout journey—moving your body because it feels good is equally worthy of celebration—some may find intentional goal-setting helpful and motivating.

Luke Zocchi, Centr Head Trainer and Chris Hemsworth's personal trainer recommends setting a larger goal and then mapping out smaller goals to help you get there. The smaller goals will keep you motivated and provide more common feelings of success.

Studies show that goals should be appropriately challenging and intrinsically motivating. When creating "action plans," (or a roadmap of smaller goals leading to a bigger goal), you should consider the smaller goals an "approach" and the larger goal to be the "mastery."

The approach should involve evaluating your ability, while the mastery should be an expansion of your abilities or learning a new ability. Approach goals should be slightly challenging but within your reach. Mastery goals would be more challenging than approach goals.

By creating this roadmap to your larger goal, you are ensuring clear progress and consistent feelings of success.

Accountability For Home Workouts

Exercising is one of the most cost-effective ways to stay healthy. Even so, only a small percentage of adults get the recommended amount of exercise. One suspected reason for this is a lack of accountability.

If you exercise with a significant other, family member, or friend, they can help to motivate you and promote the healthy habits and behavior you're working toward. Setting specific times to meet that person (even over a video call) can also help hold you accountable.

Staying Safe

Staying safe during home workouts is just as important as staying safe during gym workouts. This means prioritizing proper form, using necessary safety equipment as needed, and seeing a doctor for any lingering aches or pains.

An excellent way to ensure that you are using proper form is to be led by a certified instructor, even if the instruction is through a video. If you are unsure about your form, it may also be good to get a body mirror to check your form. Just because you're at home doesn't mean your safety habits should change.

If anything does go wrong during exercise, stop exercising and assess the injury. It is always safest to see a doctor if you are in pain. If you sustain any head injury, you should see a doctor immediately, even if the head injury appears mild.

A Word From Verywell

If you are working out and experience pain or discomfort, you should see a healthcare professional. If you sustain any injury to the head, even if it appears fine, you should see a doctor immediately. Staying safe is a top priority, no matter what setting you choose to work out in.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the benefits of working out at home?

    Exercising at home can provide accessibility and comfort for those new to working out. It can also help those who are too busy to fit a trip to the gym into their schedules. 

  • What are some challenges of working out from home?

    The biggest concern with working out at home is the lack of instruction. Using improper form can cause a lack of benefits from working out or even injury.

  • Can you get in shape working out at home?

    A study has shown that, if done properly, even four weeks of training at home can improve your muscle strength.

8 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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