Gyms are sweaty, expensive and they never have the sound or the subtitles on the telly but you don’t need to go to the gym to keep fit. Here are five pieces of cheap kit which will keep you fit in the comfort your own home.
1 Hula hoop – I run fitness classes with hula hoops which I do because it’s a fun workout that doesn’t feel like a workout. It’s great for cardio, flexibility and is the ultimate waist whittler. Don’t buy a weighted one thinking you will get a better work out though – bigger than 1kg isn’t good for you and note that the smaller the hoop, the harder your body has to work to make it go round. I get mine from Juggling, Fire Spinning – Flames N Games – Buy Diabolos, Juggling Balls, Yo Yo, Fire Staff, Unicycles, Fire Poi, Hula Hoops |
2 Skipping rope – There’s a reason why it’s the warm-up exercise of choice for boxers: it raises the heart rate, works on muscle tone and concentration and the co-ordination needed helps with all that fancy footwork.
3 Resistance bands – versatile, portable and cheap. These can be used to build muscle strength, flexibility and aid stretching exercises. I use one whilst hooping to strengthen my upper body whilst the hoop takes care of my waist. They also pack away to be taken on holiday and can be used in the smallest of spaces. they come in various strengths, I recommend medium (red) it’s not so light (like the yellow) that you have to double it over to get an effective resistance and not so tough as black which will make you feel you have the strength of a 90 year old if you are new to them.
4 Swiss Ball – great for balance, strengthening the core and adding another dimension to stretches (hold above the head, make ball circles) and just bouncing around! Check out Exercise Balls for Dummies which will open your eyes to the huge range of exercises you can do with this cheap bit of kit.
6 Exercise Mat – because lying with your body on a rug, your head on the laminate floor and your legs squashed against the coffee table is not conducive to a good work out. There are so many exercises that can done on a mat from early rise stretches to full Pilates work outs.
Also, don’t forget your own equipment at the end of your legs. Walking is a brilliant all round exercise!