Creative Solutions for Moving More

When you hear “get in shape,” what does image does that bring to mind? I’m betting you pictured running on a treadmill, lifting weights, or maybe even a group aerobics class. While these are certainly popular ways to be more active, they’re not the only way. For many people, joining a gym is too costly or unappealing. And since the weather has been so cold lately, let’s focus on getting creative to find low-cost or free equipment to use at home for working out.

Low-Cost Option

Free Option

How to Use

Yoga mat Towel Yoga mats or towels are typically used during stretching, yoga, or core exercises. They make it a little more comfortable when lying or kneeling. Yoga mats also help with stability to keep your hands/feet from sliding during exercises.
Resistance bands Water bottles, canned food cans, repurposed milk jugs (filled with water or sand) Resistance bands or improvised weights are great for muscle strengthening exercises. They challenge your muscles more than just the force of gravity or your own body weight.
Exercise ball Think of exercise balls as both an affordable bench and exercise equipment. You can do crunches, push-ups, chest presses, and more. Bonus use – try sitting on an exercise ball to challenge your core muscles while you are using screens (computer, TV, etc.). Check out this sample of exercise ball movements.
Pedometer or fitness apps Preloaded health apps on most smartphones Track your steps and more using your phone! Most smartphones come preloaded with an app with step tracking or exercise logging features. You can also download other health apps for more specific tracking functions, many of which are free.
Sliders Socks or paper plates Ready to up your bodyweight moves? Sliders (and socks or paper plates) can challenge your muscles even more. Check out this collection of exercises using sliders.
Jump rope Most people are pretty familiar with this childhood toy. And most people forget how challenging it is! A jump rope is a great option for cardio workouts at home that’s much more affordable than a treadmill or exercise bike.

We’ve gotten some feedback about not having the same equipment as what is used in our Move More, Virginia! exercise videos. Here are some helpful hints for modifying the moves for the equipment you do have. Different types of resistance bands can all be used for the same moves. You may need to adjust how you get set up for the exercise, though. Shorter bands may require you to use a narrower stance or just one foot to anchor the band. You can also perform the exercise on one side at a time. Or you can sit in a sturdy chair and loop it under the seat. See the images below for different ways to do the same movement – a bicep curl.

If you don’t have a handle on your resistance band, here’s a way to still get a sturdy grip:

Once you get your home gym set up, be sure to try these indoor exercises. What’s your favorite way to move more? What types of creative exercise equipment have you used? We’d love to hear your ideas!

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