[Week 10 of 12 Weeks to a Healthy New Year]
What are Definite Workout Spaces?
Creating definite spaces for working out at home has many advantages. Even if you like the gym or spend a fair amount of time outside, having quick options at home can give you flexibility no matter the weather or schedule issues. Such spaces don’t need to be complicated, they just need to be reliably quick and easy to use.
I say definite spaces to try to describe spaces that are ready to easily use, but not separate from the typical rooms found in a home. There are 3 types of definite workout spaces you can create in your home:
- Dedicated – equipment that stays put and uses floor space
- Integrated – equipment that is always there, but doesn’t take up much, if any, floor space, nor does it interfere with other furniture being used there or non-workout activity in the area
- Transitional – an area kept basically available and easy to use with minimal change
I have all 3 types at my house and I will describe them to you as I talk about each of them.
Dedicated workout spaces
This is what most people think of when they think of creating a place to workout at home. While a gym may be the ultimate example of a dedicated workout space, you do not need a whole room. You just need enough space for a specific piece of equipment. One thing we make space for is spin bikes.
We are able to fit 2 spin bikes side by side in our bedroom. They do not need to be as spaced as you usually see them in spin classes. For one thing, they are not always used at the same time. For another thing, two people are using them at the same time at home usually want to talk to each other. There just needs to be enough room for pedals to turn.
[Edit (11.27.2021): Since moving to our new house, I organized my sewing room to have my spin bike and treadmill there. I find it fun and useful to be able to see many of my supplies and brainstorm while exercising indoors. I also have a couple of nice windows that I can easily look out.
My husband integrates his spin bike and weights into his office, where he also has a TV he can watch on the bike. He also built a peg board and hung a bar from the ceiling for pull ups and resistance straps.]
One key to this arrangement is positioning them so that it is not inconvenient to walk places in the room. Another thing that helps some people is having a TV in view.
I personally prefer to have a TV tray beside me with things for reading, listening, or writing while I bike. If you want to know how my husband put the odometers on the spin bikes, click here. (click on any photo to enlarge)
Even though my swimming pool is outside, I will mention it because it IS the kind of pool you can fit in an average room or garage. It is also an example of having multiple uses, even though exercise is the main reason we built it. The swimming pool is used for playing with grandkids, lounging with friends, and even the occasional evening dance party! Having something take up space for exercise can be done in creative ways.
Integrated workout spaces
Having equipment handy will make it more likely that you will use it and exercise, but it doesn’t always have to dominate the space. Most of our equipment in this category has to do with isotonic exercises, or exercises thought of as ‘muscle building’. I don’t just say “weight-lifting,” because although we are doing similar exercises, most of this equipment is taking advantage of our own body weight.
The TRX strap is very popular around our house. Almost everyone has their own, which is easy since a TRX strap basically takes up as much room as a big belt.
A TRX strap can hang over a door anywhere that you have enough room to work with it. How much room you need will depend on which exercises you want to do. The space we usually use is a little more than a door wide and about a body length long. There are a LOT of videos online with exercise ideas. The TRX also comes with a basic guide.
When not in use, the TRX basically has no 3-D imprint. We leave ours hanging on a bedroom door. Once in a while it swings enough to get in the way of closing the door, but not very often so it is worth that small inconvenience to have the important convenience of having it up and ready.
Rock rings in our kitchen have provided some of the most fun, most social, and most spontaneous exercise at our home. You may want to read how my husband mounted our rock rings to avoid destroying your ceiling. These rings are great for a set of impromptu pull-ups while cooking dinner, although I will admit that I am the one person in the family that doesn’t do anything other than hang on them…
I asked for some small free weights for Christmas. I just like the feel of them. I plan to have them mounted ‘decoratively’ on the bedroom wall, so they will also not take up much room, but will be easy to pull down and use.
Transitional workout spaces
To be truly everyday transitional, it must not take very much time or effort to get the space ready to use. Pulling out a yoga mat or moving the coffee table count as transitional in our house.
My husband recently added a balance board to the mix based on a physical therapist’s recommendation for strengthening his hip. It actually ended up being huge advantage when he tried out the paddle board in Maui. He was able to stay up much better than two years ago. He even did a 1.5 mile out into the ocean on one trip out, so, yeah, 3 miles round trip on the paddle board standing up the whole time except for a short rest on his knees at the turn around point. He was with a friend, too.
I also tried a little paddle boarding, but I had the flu most of the time we were in Maui, so I am satisfied with the 50 meters off shore that I managed.
There are ways to transition spaces that you wouldn’t do every day, but still might want to keep in mind. For instance, you probably don’t have to move a lot of furniture to have as good of a dance floor as most pubs do. Clearing a path to chase the grandkids can be pretty fun, too.
Making your house useful
I don’t feel like I live in a gym. I like to decorate and have colors be coordinated. However, I am also big on practicality. Make the spaces you have work for you and your life. People don’t live in magazine presentations.
Don’t forget that you can also decorate around and in ways that incorporate your exercise equipment. Maybe some fun stenciling will be in order around my free weights? Or a nice looking basket to keep ready-to-use yoga mats in? This might also keep the dust off of them!
How can you optimize the space in your home for your workout goals?