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How to Get Into Great Shape at Home

Updated on March 14, 2021
Sam Montana profile image

Sam is certified in optimal nutrition from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and enjoys writing about health and healing.

Pilates | Source

Getting Into Shape at Home

Maybe you want to lose inches around the middle or tone up those muscles. It all comes down to exercising and sticking with a fitness program. You can join a gym and use their exercise equipment, but studies have found that many people buy a health club membership and then don't go to the health club very often.

It is easier to stay at home and exercise than it is to go to a gym. You can exercise in the privacy of your home, change in your home, and shower in your home without the hassle of going to the gym.

There are many advantages of working out at home including:

  • At the gym, you never know if someone had the flu or some other virus using the exercise bike right before you.
  • You can watch whatever you want on TV when working out including your own workout video.
  • You can listen to the radio station you want to.
  • You can walk or jog around your neighborhood or paths
  • You do not have to wait for your turn to use the exercise equipment.

Exercising in and around your home can be done easily with an exercise bike, stability ball, dumbbells or you can easily do many exercises on a yoga mat. You can also jog, run, and walk around your neighborhood. Fitness equipment like a pedometer or a heart rate monitor works great to let you know how you are doing and track your daily progress.

You Don't Have to Hurt Yourself Exercising

The old saying of "No pain, no gain" is not endorsed by fitness experts any longer. Getting an injury or exercising while in pain is one of the biggest reasons people stop exercising and give up on their fitness programs.

Set goals and realize your own limits and keep reaching for new goals. For many who have not exercised in a long time, maybe since high school, you must start out slow. Keep in mind that doing 5 pushups is far better than not doing any while you sit on the couch eating cookies. Riding the exercise bike at 5 mph for half an hour is far better than not riding the bike at all.

One of the biggest mistakes of those just starting to exercise is to start out too fast. Waking up the next day sore from working out is okay, it feels good in a way, but if you wake up the next day too sore to even walk, you will probably not feel like working out that day. Once you skip a day, it becomes too easy to skip the next day and the next day and before you know it, you have stopped working out all together.

When you start out slow, you will immediately begin to feel better and want to exercise more and stick to your fitness goals. But if you injure yourself, you might just say the heck with it and give up. So do not think you have to go all out when you first start exercising.

It is also important to learn how to do certain exercises properly. Doing an exercise wrong can also lead to an injury and learning the proper way to do a certain will lead to good exercise habits. Books like the Women's Home Workout Bible will show you the proper way to do exercises.

Starting Out Slow

If you have really let yourself go over the years, walking really is a great way to start getting into shape. Once you get used to walking, you might find yourself jogging, just because it feels good. Maybe you walk anyway, but don’t realize just how much you do walk every day. A pedometer is good way to keep track of your walking.

Pedometers can do more than just count your steps. They can count your steps walking around the block, step aerobics, walking on the treadmill and some will also count how many calories you burn.

Be aware that many of the pedometers on the market today are an iPod or MP3 player with a pedometer added in as an afterthought. When looking for a pedometer, look at the accuracy and the ratings of the pedometer since that is why you are buying one. According to customer reviews, many of these MP3 or iPod pedometers don't have the accuracy of a regular pedometer.

Heart Rate Goals

Heart rate monitors are great for measuring your heart rate while exercising, running and walking. Exercising at the proper heart rate will ensure you are getting a good workout without going overboard.

Heart rate monitors will help you make sure you're at your target rate and some heart rate monitors have alarms to alert you if you get above or below your target rate. Some have calorie burning calculators included and others don't.

Your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. There are two heart rate numbers you should be interested in, your resting heart rate and your maximum heart rate. Your resting heart beat can tell you a lot about your fitness level, the lower the better, to a point of course.

The average can range between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm). Athletes and those that are in very good shape can have an average resting heart rate between 40 and 55 beats per minute. The best time to measure your resting heart rate is right after waking up, before eating anything.

Exercise Bikes

I love using an exercise bike at home because they provide a great way to work out at home without having to fight traffic or snowstorms. Stationary bikes can be very expensive with all kinds of options, many options most of us don't really need.

You can really get a great exercise with a stationary bike, whether you are interested in short bursts of intense riding or a long ride. You can build up your entire cardiovascular system and burn calories with an exercise bike.

You can try all kinds of different ways to eat and still not lose those inches around the belly. Exercising is the only way to lose the so-called beer gut. In order to lose it, you have to burn it off and an exercise bike is an excellent way to burn calories and inches.

Track Your Progress

Being able to track your progress and watch you get leaner and healthier is one of the best motivational tools you can use.

As you continue to exercise, you will notice your belly fat disappearing, your lung capacity increasing and your blood pressure dropping. Along with the heart rate monitor, there are other ways to track your healthy progress.

Blood Pressure and Heart Rate Monitors

Checking your blood pressure is also a good measure of how your fitness and healthy eating program is working for you. You can check your blood pressure at some grocery stores, but it is nice to have a blood pressure monitor at home.

Watching your high blood pressure lower as your continue to exercise and eat right is fun and great motivation for you to continue your healthy ways. The perfect blood pressure has always been stated as 110/70 and those numbers are still considered optimum for good health and what your goal should be. The foods you eat along with a simple fitness program should lower your blood pressure closer to the perfect reading.

Over the years, I have used these Omron products and found that they are accurate and last a long time.

Body Fat Monitors

Fat around the middle and those extra inches is bad for our health and a precursor for many diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other illnesses. It can also be frustrating to exercise hard and still not lose those extra inches.

With a healthy diet and exercise, you can lose those unhealthy inches. Being able to monitor the fat loss is very encouraging and will keep you motivated to continue your fitness and exercise workouts. People might focus too much on their actual weight loss, but more important is losing inches and belly fat around the middle.

When a person starts a fitness program, they can build muscles and muscles weigh more than fat. So if you only use the bathroom scale, you might see yourself weighing the same or gaining weight. But you could actually be losing unhealthy fat and inches while gaining muscle weight.

The Omron HBF-514C is an excellent tool to measure your fitness progress as it measures the following fitness indicators:

  • Body fat%
  • Visceral fat level, which is the dangerous fat that accumulates around the organs
  • Skeletal muscle %
  • Resting metabolism
  • Body age
  • Body weight
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)


Dumbbells can give you an excellent workout at home and they do not take up very much room. All you need for a great home workout is a pair of dumbbells. Dumbbell exercises are not for men only, women can certainly gain muscle and tone their body with dumbbell exercises.

There are many different dumbbell exercises that can work out almost every muscle. You can buy a complete dumbbell set with different weights or you can get an adjustable dumbbell set.

During the pandemic with all of the gyms closes, I was able to stay in excellent shape using adjustable dumbbells. I never did gain the Covid curves or the “Quarantine 15”

Stability and Exercise Balls

When I first hurt my sciatic nerve and back, the first thing I did and about the only thing I could do was walking, which kept me in shape while my back healed. Secondly, I started using an exercise ball, which was great for stretching and helping my lower back. I started using and still do is the Exercise Ball for Yoga, Pilates, Therapy, Stability, Posture and Stability.

You can work out almost any part of your body using a stability ball or exercise ball including balance, stabilization and strength exercises. Stability balls come in different sizes ranging from 45 to 80 centimeters (cm).

The different sizes are to fit the person using them. The best way to tell if a certain size exercise ball is the best fit for you is to sit on a properly inflated ball and bend your knees to form a 90-degree angle. Your hips should be even or slightly higher than your knees and your heels should be directly below your knees. SmarterLife Products recommends the following size exercise ball for a specific height:

  • 4'7" to 5'5" height - use the 55 cm ball
  • 5'6" to 6'" height - 65 cm ball
  • 6'1"" to 6' 8" height - 75 cm ball

With a stability or exercise ball, you can also do specific exercises like Pilates and exercises to strengthen an injured back. Each stability ball product page should give a guide to which size stability ball is best for a person's size.


Most people think that starting an exercise program is best at the start of the New Year, but any time of the year is a great time of the year to start getting into shape.

© 2014 Sam Montana


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