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Posted by Hometalk | Jan 05, 2010

New Year's Resolution: Creating a Fitness Area

The biggest challenge of creating a home gym is designating space for it. This home fitness area plan requires literally a corner big enough for a bicycle and enough floor space to roll out a sticky mat.

Making Room for Fitness

Home gyms tend to collect dust because people relegate them to unfinished garages and basements. I favor living rooms, home offices, guest rooms, enclosed insulated porches and finished basements as home gym spaces. The issue is that you have to be willing to sacrifice a little bit of your decorated (or cluttered) space for fitness. My advice to you is to clear your clutter and rearrange your furniture before you rule out a fitness space in your home.

Space-Saving, Energy-Saving (and producing) Fitness Equipment

These are crucial pieces of home fitness equipment. They're also all you need to keep fit through the winter months:

  • Cycle trainer: Convert your own bike to a piece of cardio equipment with a cycle trainer. Cycle trainers are essentially stands that allow you to use a regular bicycle as a stationary bike. You don't have to remove your bike's back wheel - just clip your bike into the trainer. It takes about 30 seconds. They cost about $800 less than treadmills, take up much less space, and don't use electricity. If you're enterprising (and have a sense of humor), you can generate electricity while you work out with a bicycle generator, which is a cycle trainer that allows you to generate around 200 watts of power per hour, which it stores in a battery.
  • Exercise ball: Forget weight benches and those infomercial abdominal contraptions. All you need is a fitness ball. These large, inflatable balls can double as back-friendly desk chairs when not in use. Sit on the ball to strengthen your core while you watch TV at night. Use it for everything from chest presses to stomach crunches.
  • Exercise mat: A very cheap and space-efficient option is to buy a fitness mat that you can roll up and store in a corner, such as a yoga "sticky mat" or a dense foam camping pad.
  • Dumbbells: You need two sets of dumbbells - a lighter set and a heavier set. I also recommend buying a body bar (a weighted bar) or a barbel. Store your weights upright in a large basket with your rolled-up exercise mat.


As I said in "Fight Obesity with Home Decorating," I don't have a coffee table in my living room so that I have plenty of room to roll out my yoga mat. I value fitness more than I value having a coffee table. It's a great time of year to reevaluate your furniture layout and make room in your house for fitness.

Photo credit: REI

Posted by: Chaya Gooodman

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