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Expert Shopper Sports & Fitness

The best home gym products for a safe, sanitary workout

We’re healthiest when we move. Experts recommend that adults engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day, and many of us accomplish this by leaving our houses and heading for the gym. That’s not as easy as it once was, though. Social distancing measures continue to close down businesses and common spaces, which makes the home workout a great option for both individual and public health. 

Thankfully, people have been enjoying the benefits of home gyms for years. Home workouts are extremely convenient and economical in the long term, and they’re especially relevant these days as they cut down on social exposure. In fact, there’s no better time to set up a home workout station, as exercise can improve your immune system and help restore a sense of normalcy in uncertain times. 

Top cardio equipment for home workouts

Given the right tools and mindset, you can maintain a healthy and happy life even with limited social interactions. One of the best ways to do this is with a regular cardio routine. Cardio burns fat and calories as well as reduces the negative effects of stagnation like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

If you’re unable to jog or run outside or if doing so makes you uncomfortable, we recommend in-home cardio equipment like the NordicTrack. This bike works your legs, core, and even your upper body. Change between different workouts with a simple knob, and store the bike easily with built-in wheels. 

If you’re more of a treadmill-type person, budget a bit more for something like this model. Not looking to spend much money? Pick up a jump rope for inexpensive, versatile cardio anywhere.

Strength workout home gym essentials

Strength routines offer many of the same benefits as cardio routines, with the added plus of building lean muscle mass, adding balance, preserving bone strength, and improving metabolism.

The simplest and cheapest way to strength train at home is with a small set of weights, medicine balls, or resistance bands. These target specific places on the body, adding resistance to workouts like bicep curls, leg curls, glute bridges, and others.

If you’re after a more comprehensive workout and you have the disposable income, consider a full home gym like the Bowflex PR1000. It includes 200 pounds of resistance for 25 full-body exercises such as seat lat rows, bicep curls, abdominal crunches, and cardio rowing.

Our favorite mobility tools for your home gym

Strength training is one of the best ways to improve overall health, as it combines cardiovascular exercise with muscle growth and increased metabolism. Don’t forget about mobility and flexibility though, as these are vital to proper recovery and injury prevention.

The good news is, mobility tools are inexpensive and simple to use. Consider a foam roller to massage dense muscle tissues and knots. For quads or calves, for instance, sit flat with the roller under your legs, then roll back and forth to improve muscle mobility. Yoga mats are also fantastic for stretching, as they get you off the ground and provide a comfortable surface.

Quarantine workout tips

  • Find a workout buddy. The hardest part about working out during quarantine isn’t buying the equipment, setting it up, or arranging pre-workout supplements. It’s staying motivated. We suggest finding a workout buddy to help with that, setting up a regular time to exercise over Skype, FaceTime, or a similar platform. This way, you can push each other and stay consistent while practicing healthy social distancing. If you need an extra push, consider this fitness coach/tracker tool from Noom.

  • Bodyweight exercises are free. Technically, all you need to work out at home is some free space. Pushups, planks, squats, jumping jacks, crunches, and shadowboxing require no special equipment or setup, and they can go a long way toward maintaining physical health. If you have a free chair or sofa, try tricep dips or leg raises. You can get the absolute best in bodyweight-workouts through the TRX system.

  • Let the internet be your trainer. Isolation makes professional workout advice hard to come by. Thankfully, many trainers are offering online tutorials from quarantine, and there are more fitness apps and instructional YouTube videos than you can shake a stick at. However, remember to only engage in exercises you’re healthy enough to do, and seek out accredited, well-reviewed trainers. 

  • Clean your workout equipment after use. This is a required practice at all respectable gyms, and it’s a habit you should definitely take home with you. Use EPA-registered disinfectant products if you have them. 

  • Don’t forget about your mental health. Staying physically fit is great, but your mental health is just as important. Talk to friends or loved ones if you’re feeling overwhelmed, do things you enjoy, and take breaks from the news to clear your mind. That being said, exercise is a fantastic way to improve physical and mental health at the same time!

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