Cardiovascular fitness is all about getting your heart rate up, so technically you could make do with a good pair of athletic walking or running shoes. If you like variety, you can mix up your regimen with some simple and inexpensive pieces of equipment. A jump rope is great for getting your heart rate up quickly. Opt for a quality speed rope that doesn't get twisted with repetitive motion. Hula hoops work your core, and you can find cheap versions at a discount retailer. Special weighted workout hoops are also an inexpensive choice, averaging around $20. For low-impact cardio, trampolines and roller blades are equally frugal options.
When you imagine your home gym, you probably include a piece of cardio equipment like the ones you see at your local YMCA. Treadmills, stationary bicycles and elliptical machines are extremely popular for at-home fitness. If you are going to invest in one of these, do your research to find durable machines that will allow you to vary your workouts through options like adjustable speed and inclines. A manual treadmill is great if you find a good one with adjustable settings; however, a completely non-adjustable machine won't allow you to get the most out of your workout. If you prefer a more full-body workout experience, you can purchase a rowing machine, cross-country skiing machine or splurge on a resistance training pool.
Core and Strength
Along with cardiovascular training, you need to give your muscles some anaerobic exercise as well. Repetitive motion and increasing resistance are the keys to this type of exercise, and are easy to do on a budget. Use an exercise ball to help with core work and pushups. Resistance bands of varying strengths can be used to exercise all muscles in a similar fashion to free weights, but without the high cost. Inexpensive yoga blocks are also a great tool for core exercises. Medicine balls can be used for upper body strength and to supplement core workouts. They are pretty cheap to buy, but you can make your own medicine ball by filling a basketball or playground ball with sand.
A weight bench and a good set of free weights is an excellent choice for your home gym. This is usually less expensive than a machine, and the motion of free weights allows you to work stabilizer muscles in addition to main muscle groups. However, you need to make sure you have a spotter nearby if you choose this method. If you prefer to work out on your own, then you should opt for a multi-function weight machine. Purchase one that allows you to both pull and push with all muscle groups. For example, you may want a machine with a pull bar, bench press and leg press. You will also want a station to work your core and abs, which is available as part of a weight system or as a stand-alone item.
Balance and flexibility
When you purchase fitness equipment for home use, it is easy to overlook the areas of balance and flexibility. However, strengthening and stretching all muscle groups will help keep injuries at bay and will give you more effective aerobic and anaerobic workouts. A simple yoga mat is all you need to do a few minutes of stretching each day, and balance work can be done with a pillow. All you need is a slightly unstable surface in order to practice balancing.
A yoga class is great for working both on flexibility and balance, as well as strength. If you want to spend money for a complete and thorough balance and flexibility regimen, then this is the way to go. While you can't stay at home, you will get expert instruction. If you want to keep your workouts in the den, then purchase a balance ball, balance board or trampoline to work on balance skills, and use a good DVD for proper stretching.
Form and instruction
Your gym should contain more than just fitness equipment. Home workouts need to be done safely and accurately to ensure you maximize your workouts and avoid injury. The easiest way to do this is to get proper instruction on form and style. YouTube is a good place to start, but you should at least buy some DVDs from trained professionals in order to see proper lifting, cardio and stretching techniques and form.
If you want instruction tailored exactly to you, nothing does the job better than a personal trainer. Once found only in gyms, many trainers will now come to your home so that you can work out in the comfort and privacy of your own surroundings. While trainers cost a pretty penny, they get results and monitor your progress so that you are working out to your maximum potential. Plus, they can help you select the perfect home gym equipment for your needs.
Whether you are looking to build a home gym on a budget or you are willing to invest in a complete home gym, you can get fit in no time with Sears. Come browse a great selection of fitness equipment, machines and instructional DVDs and opt for home delivery and installation so you can sweat off some calories soon.