It is hard to overstate the benefit of regular exercise to a healthy lifestyle. Getting enough physical activity reduces the risk of illness, improves brain function, increases energy, and even puts you in a better mood. But a lot of adults admit they do not get as much physical exercise as they need or want.
Many different factors can get in the way of your ideal exercise routine, including motivation, time, energy, and money. For these reasons, many people are looking for alternatives to a gym membership. It is possible to get an effective workout without ever leaving the comfort of your own home.
Whether hopping on an exercise bike or watching a video online in lieu of an in-person class, more and more are looking to get sweaty in their living rooms. Is working out at home as beneficial as it is at the gym? There are certainly differences between hitting the gym versus going at it alone but working out at home can be just as effective – and fun – as the alternative.
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Exercise is Vital to Physical and Mental Health
Before we get into the details of working out at home, it is important to discuss why exercise in general is so important to a healthy lifestyle. In our modern age, a quick internet search will yield hundreds of results for different remedies and cures for any number of health issues. But you would be hard-pressed to find an ailment that would not be at least somewhat improved with increased physical activity, and that includes your entire body – from muscle structure to immune system to brain function.
How does simply moving your body achieve these incredible results? Simply put, evolution has designed our bodies to be active, thanks to our nomadic ancestors. The longer we remain stationary and miss out on the blood pumping, sweat-inducing movement that our body desires, the more problems can develop, from aches and pains to more serious conditions.
One of the biggest incentives to exercise more is the benefit to your mood and overall mental health. Regular exercise has consistently been shown to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression, which are the most common psychiatric conditions among the general public.
On the other side of the coin, inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle are known to exacerbate these same issues and can even lead to the development of certain psychological disorders. This is why no matter where you are or how you choose to get that activity in, any exercise is going to lead to a healthier body and mind.
Do at Home Workouts Work for Building Muscle?
There have been numerous studies done that have concluded that at-home workouts are just as effective as gym workouts. In fact, a 2013 study determined that just 1-3 workouts per week were sufficient for maintaining muscle and strength. It is true that losing weight and gaining muscle is harder to do than just maintaining muscle but that does not mean that it cannot be done. With hard work and the proper diet, home workouts can be just as effective as time spent at the gym.
Home Workout vs Gym Workout: Pros and Cons
There are real differences between working out at home versus at a gym or fitness studio, but they do not have to get in the way of a good workout! Here are some of the key aspects to compare, and how they might affect your experience:
Equipment: Gyms and fitness classes generally come with equipment for you to use, whereas working out at home requires you to find no-equipment options or purchase your own. It should come as no surprise that purchasing your own gym equipment can be pricey and cumbersome depending on the type of machines that you plan to use. But there are myriad types of exercise that require little or no equipment and are just as effective as those that do.
Cost: This is a huge bonus for the pros of working out at home – there’s no membership fee! Even on the lower end, gyms charge a monthly or yearly fee that can be prohibitive to some. Exercise classes at studios are even more expensive and might require additional costs for facility rentals.
Convenience: A lot of people find the biggest obstacle to working out is simply getting to the gym, and at the end of a long day an extra commute can seem extra daunting, or maybe today you forgot your gym bag and sneakers. These are not problems when you decide to work out at home, because you can do so at any hour of the day without calling a babysitter or figuring out transportation.
How to Stay Motivated When Your Home is Your Gym?
It is no surprise that so many of us fall short on our exercise goals given how hectic modern life is: so many things – work, family, commitments – pull us in different directions. If you are used to motivating yourself to work out by stepping foot in the gym, it is going to be a tricky transition to working out at home. Sometimes being in a public place surrounded by people doing the same thing as you are is all the motivation you need, and that is why at home you must make your new routine work for you.
Depending on your needs, consistency is one of the most important aspects of regular exercise, even more so than the type of activity you participate in. Remind yourself of this when you pick your workout for the day and choose one that will not leave you so burnt out you won’t want to look at the treadmill for a week.
It is also important to make sure you choose an at home workout that suits your current fitness level. You do not want to choose a workout regimen that is so easy that you don’t break a sweat, depriving you of those great endorphins that reward you for your hard work. Finding the right balance is key to consistency, and once you get started with consistency, your body starts to crave the exercise, and that will be your biggest motivation.
A good way to ensure you get in a well-rounded workout that will leave you ready for more is to always include the 5 essential elements of fitness: a warm-up, some cardio, some strength training, followed by stretching for flexibility, and finally a cool-down. You can tailor these basic elements to exactly your needs. Whether that’s a quick 5 minute activity or an intense 30 minute adventure, there is a home-based workout to fit any fitness goal.
When exercising at home, it’s all about finding what’s right for you, so do your research and let the wealth of information guide you to your next exciting workout. Your body and mind will thank you!