From the Heart and Stroke Foundation

With work, kids, dogs and aging parents, sometimes it’s difficult to fit activity into your busy life on a regular basis. But by setting up a fitness area in your own home, you may find you can reach your goals of being physically active 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. Just follow these steps.

Find your space
Look for an area in your home free of clutter such as the den, the basement or your bedroom. If you live in a condo or apartment, consider using the shared activity room.

Choose something fun to do
The key to any successful activity program is to enjoy what you’re doing. How about dancing, skipping or running in place? Yoga or stretching might offer the flexibility you’re looking for. Strength training may also be an option. Learn more about the many types and amounts of physical activity available to do at home.

Tool up
Most of the equipment you may need can be found in your home. Use a chair as a weight training bench and easy to grip objects, like small soup cans, as your weights . The back of the chair can be used as a bar to help stabilize your balance for stretching. Your rug can double as a mat for yoga poses. The stairs in your home are perfect for some high-intensity cardio. If you’re skipping or running in place, make sure you choose a wood floor or a broadloomed area to cushion the impact making it easier on your back and knees. Always wear proper shoes (barefoot or stockinged feet will not provide protection or support).

Consider fitness videos and books
To help you get started, you may want to look for fitness books or DVDs. Choose products created by well-known, licensed fitness experts to assure quality and proper technique. When choosing an exercise DVD always remember to be realistic about the level of activity you can handle to prevent possible injury. Read or listen carefully to the instructions in the book or on the DVD.

Make a commitment
Just because you’ve got a space to be active in your home, doesn’t guarantee you’ll do it. You still need a plan. Set aside a time you can be sure to get to your activity. After the kids go to bed? First thing in the morning before work?

This physical activity column was written by a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor and reviewed by Foundation experts. Before starting a physical activity program, it’s best to speak to your healthcare provider first to discuss what is right for you.

Posted February 2009

Heart and Stroke Foundation


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