Home Workouts With Little Gear

The temperature is dropping outside, which makes it hard to motivate us to go to the gym. So how can we stay in shape during the winter months?

Petra Kolber, a contributing editor to Health magazine, visited The Saturday Early Show to demonstrate some exercises we can do in the warmth of our homes and share equipment suggestions.

Here are some of the benefits, she says, to working out at home:
  • You do not have to deal with the weather.

  • You avoid the hassle of traffic and parking.

  • You save time without the commute.

  • You can keep an eye on your children, if you have them, or even get your children involved in your workout.

  • You can save time because you do not have to wait in line for the equipment at a gym.

  • You do not have to feel intimidated walking into a gym if you are a beginner.

The following are her tips:

Treat your home workout like a regular workout. Dress in the appropriate footwear and clothing for the activity you are doing, and set aside your personal space for the workout. Move furniture, if needed, so that you can really do your workout fully.

Set goals and chart your progress. Write down your goals. Goals need to be: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time measurable.

Set aside time in your day and mark it in your daily planner. If you would normally work out in the morning at the gym, then set the same time aside at home. Treat your workout as a non-negotiable appointment.

Have a plan. Is today going to be a video day, or perhaps your own workout that you enjoy doing? Will you focus today on cardio? Or perhaps today is for strength and flexibility?

Warm Up Whether you are doing cardio, strength training, or flexibility, you want to make sure that you warm up. The best way to warm up is to prepare the muscles that you are using such as shoulders, chest, or legs with shoulder rolls, opening up chest and hips, and stretches for legs. Also, a good cardio warm-up is walking in place.

Here are some of the workouts Kolber demonstrates:

Cardio Workout This can be one of the hardest areas of our fitness routines to commit to at home. There are hundreds of great fitness videos out there to keep you motivated, whether you like to dance/walk or do sports training, there is a video out there for you.

Pick and mix your videos to make sure you get all three components of fitness. Create a video exchange club with your friends and mix and match your workouts to keep it interesting. Here is the good news: The instructor on the video is going to tell you every workout how great you look.

Jumping rope is a great way to get your cardio workout in, and there are some good videos out there to help get you started. It does require a bit of space and the understanding of your downstairs neighbors, but it is inexpensive and works.

If you decide this is going to be a full-time commitment and you are not a video person, you may want to consider investing in a treadmill, cross trainer or stationary bike. But do your research. Consumer Reports is a great way to look for equipment that has been tried and tested. You want equipment that is within your budget, but sturdy and will last.

You may also want to consider purchasing a heart rate monitor so that you can make sure that your cardio workout is effective. Often, at home, we either work too hard or not hard enough. This piece of equipment goes a long way toward making sure that your workout is effective.

Strength Training A stability ball, some tubing, and a variety of hand weights can be a great start to that in home gym. These, with your own body weight, can create a full body functional strength and endurance workout. Great for both men and women.

These three pieces of equipment can be used for functional real-life strength training. Just because the equipment is not large and bulky does not mean that it will not challenge the body.

Again: If starting out, begin with lighter weights and focus on quality of movement versus quantity. A good strength video can also help you learn correct techniques, as well as exercises that are interesting and effective.

Suggested products:
Stability ball - about $21
Pump - $18
Tubing - $9 a piece
Weights - As low as $4.99 (average $12). Adjustable sets cost about $50.

Available at: Resistaball.com; Spriproducts.com; and Reebok.com.

Flexibility Training Great stretching videos and incorporating a yoga workout into your weekly home routine will be beneficial both physically and mentally. Stretching, you need a mat or towel on the floor and also can use a towel to help you get in and out of stretches easily and comfortably.

Strength And Cardio Easy-to-afford home equipment is becoming more and more available. Here are some relatively inexpensive pieces of equipment that are moving from the gym to home use and are featured in the March issue of Health magazine:
  • The Reebok Deck It is a combination step and weight bench. You can get great full body workouts. It is developed by Reebok University, which created step, and the National Academy of Sports Medicine, one of the most respected groups within the fitness industry. It is easy and quick to alternate between cardio and strength. There are 16 different configurations for the deck, and it allows for pulling motions that, in the past, were hard to do at home.

    Includes Reebok deck, two pieces of tubing of different resistance and an instructional DVD or video.
    Available in home around mid-2005 at reebokdeck.com
    Cost: Under $200

  • The Gliding Discs: You place these plastic discs under your shoes and hands and then slowly slide them in different directions. They also can be used for both cardio and strength training. They are a fun, creative, and inexpensive piece of equipment with creative workouts. Developed by Mindy Mylrea, they are available at WalMart. It includes gliding discs and video or DVD with instructional workout and three additional workouts. It has a library of 14 workouts, so it is hard to get bored.

    Available at: glidingdiscs.com
    Cost: $39.99

  • The Katamibar: It is a weighted, curved, metal bar. It has foam grips on the end and the length can be adjusted.

    It is available at certain clubs around the country so you can also try a class to see if this is a good fit for your own home gym. This bar is developed to help you recruit your core muscles during both your cardio and strength workouts. The shape of the bar is designed to encourage good posture and technique.

    This package includes two weighted bars (one 2 pounds and one 5 pounds), a stability ball, pump and four 4 videos or DVDs.

    Available at katamibar.com
    Cost: $180 for complete package but you can also pick and mix from this package.
  • Tatiana Morales

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