Winter is coming. Sometimes, you don’t want to, or simply can’t, step out of your home. But that doesn’t mean you skip essential exercise. And hey, you can make it a lot of fun even if it’s indoors!
We’ve already shown you some of the best YouTube channels to exercise at home, but that’s not what we’re going for here. It’s time to have fun with workouts because the moment it becomes a chore, you’ll stop doing it.
Your Music, Your TV!
The most enjoyable part of working out from home is how you can control everything and not have to wait your turn for stuff. Of course, you can download a free workout playlist or grab a beat syncing app of your favorite music, but why not go one step better.
It’s all about customization at home, so make a workout playlist of your favorite songs that are set to the tempo of your desired heart rate. All you need is BeaTunes to analyze your library and choose songs according to the best BPM (beats per minute).
Fabio Comana, a faculty instructor at the US National Academy of Sports Medicine, told Real Simple you should match your workout with the music’s beats. He recommends:
- Warm-ups: 100 to 110 BPM
- Strength exercises: 110 to 120 BPM
- Endurance, speed, and agility exercises: Higher than 120 BPM
- Stretching: 90 to 100 BPM
Pro Tip: TV makes cardio a lot of fun! Walking on the treadmill or cycling at home is tedious, but if you ration it as “two episodes of Modern Family”, it’s a good way to get your workout while having fun.
I recommend catching up on TV while doing cardio (like the exercise cycle), since it’s easier to keep your eye on one thing at that time, and listening to songs or podcasts while doing aerobics, weights, or stretches.
Play In to Work Out
Speaking of the TV, being at home means that you can fire up your video game console and play a motion-activated game to try and lose some weight! Yup, it actually works, and there are plenty of real-world users who attest to that.
While you can choose anything that works with the Wii U, Xbox Kinect or PlayStation Move, your best bet is to go with a game like boxing. In the above study, researchers found that boxing burnt the most amount of calories (216) in 30 minutes compared to dancing (159), tennis (159), baseball (135), bowling (117), and golf (93).
That said, you could pick up any intensive video game to help lose weight. The objective is to really exert yourself and get immersed in that environment, don’t take it easy or cheat with less forceful moves.
Several gamers also recommend dance-based titles like Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) for consoles or the PC-based StepMania. Kotaku’s Richard Eisenbeis lost weight with DDR, and Reddit’s Fittit community also gives a thumbs-up to dance games.
Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
The best part about working out from home is that you have zero chance of embarrassing yourself. That hot guy on the elliptical won’t see you make a fool of yourself during aerobics, and that cute girl at the leg press isn’t going to smirk when she sees you struggling with the 10th push-up. But more than that, it means you can be uninhibited and experiment!
Dancing is a fantastic exercise and it gives you a full-body workout, but it’s embarrassing enough that you probably won’t do it in public often. At home, that’s not a problem anymore. So dance like no one’s watching and have a blast!
You can obviously start with any song you like. Just search and play it on YouTube and shake a leg.
If you have trouble deciding, then check out Beyonce’s Move Your Body workout routine, made for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign. And Greatist has collected some great dance workouts, among other free YouTube workouts.
Go Back to School
Taking the “no embarrassment at home” idea further, you can also do fun exercises that you dropped a long time ago because it’s just not cool to do them as an adult. Remember the hula hoop you loved as a kid? It’s a great way to burn calories! Researchers and hips don’t lie.
Hark back to other childhood favorites, like doing sets of jumping jacks while watching TV, or grab that old jump rope and start bouncing! Even if you trip and fall (and yes, you’re going to trip and fall), there’s no one around to point and laugh.
Change Up Your Workout
A workout at home is a great time to experiment and try something new. And there are some really cool workout apps that focus on making things fun.
For starters, try the Superhero Workout game, a free app for Android and iOS, which made it to our list of the best last-minute gift apps. You need to save the world, completing exercise after exercise to unlock new missions and build your character (and yourself).
If time is a constraint, then check out some of the best quick workout apps for Android. I recommend starting with the scientifically proven 7-minute workout, which puts you through a series of tough exercises in quick succession. There are 7-minute workout apps already, but you should look at free 7-minute workout videos, especially Jonathan Mann’s musical version.
And if you haven’t yet given it a try, yoga apps make home workouts fun.
Skype Your Buddy or Trainer
While the solitude of exercising at home means no embarrassments, some people prefer traditional workouts even at home. So how do you get to your gym buddy or personal trainer while at home? Simple, video calling!
You can use good old Skype or any of the best free video calling alternatives to start a session, provided your friend or trainer is using it too. Try out Appear.in for a one-click, no-signup, fuss-free, cross-platform service.
Apps and services like Wello actually let you hire remote trainers over video calls, even letting you choose group or solo activities. Several trainers even offer such services over Skype or Hangouts, and a quick Google search will help you find such providers.
Just make sure you have set up a good webcam, and have a stable Internet connection.
Share Your Workout-From-Home Ideas
Whether you’re snowed in, rained in, or just too lazy to go to the gym, you’ve worked out at home at some point, right?
How did you make it fun? Share your experience and any tips in the comments.