Inexpensive Must Have Home Gym Equipment

Gym memberships can be expensive and sometimes your busy schedule or bad weather gets in the way of gym time. One way to beat the busy holiday season and stay fit is to exercise at home. You don’t need a fully equipped, professional home gym to exercise safely and effectively. You need only a few items, most under $100 each, to get the benefits of a light gym workout at home. Use extra caution when using exercise equipment at home if you are alone. 
While a treadmill or elliptical machine are effective for cardio exercise, you can get the benefits of a cardio workout at home  using something as simple as a jump rope. Stretch your muscles for about 10 minutes prior to beginning your jump rope exercise and then get heart beat up by jumping rope. Jump rope for about 20 minutes to get the maximum benefit from this tough cardio exercise. Cardio exercises not only strengthens your heart and lungs, but also burns calories and helps with weight loss. Practice jump rope exercises on a smooth, solid floor. 
Using a step-block is a great way to get cardio exercise, increase your leg strength and burn calories. Pick  up a set of step-blocks in different heights so that as your balance and strength increase, you can take your step exercise workout to the next level. Make sure your step-block has non-skid surface for safety.
Photo Credit: Public Domain
You don’t have to invest in a full set of professional weights or a weight lifting machine. A set of dumbbells that can be adapted for more or less weight can work well to help keep you toned and strong. Add some resistance bands to your home gym inventory to help strengthen your legs, arms, back and core. Hand weights and resistance bands are easy to use and to store away when not in use. Ankle and wrist weights can help increase your arm and leg strength during any exercise, such as walking or jogging. A bench is good investment if you plan to lift weights at home. 
To help improve your balance and get the most from your home exercise routine, pick up a balance ball. Balance ball exercises strengthen your core muscles, as well as improves functional strength, flexibility and balance. Balance balls are available from about $50 and should last several years with proper care. There are different sizes of balance balls, so be sure to select a size that is comfortable for you. Wobble boards or balance boards are an inexpensive addition to your home exercise equipment. Balance on a wobble board while holding a 5 pound dumbbell in each hand to improve your balance, core and arm strength and increase your stamina. 
For more information and equipment options, see:

WebMD, At-Home Workouts: 5 Essential Items for a Home Gym, by Colette Bouchez, reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD, 2009.

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