Exercises you can do at home without expensive equipment

Alternative Exercising at Home

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Can't Afford the Gym?

Exercising at Home

I'm trying to come up with exercise equipment "substitutes." I want household items that can be used in ways different than their intended use, such as a sock filled with beans for weights, using a rope for a stretching device, or a large book for step-aerobics. Also, I am looking for ways to build exercise into my regular daily routine. Can you help?
Mary Lee

Step Into at Home Exercise

A physical therapist recommended taking a discarded, out of date, old phone book (more than one if they are thin) and using it for step aerobics. Be sure to use a lot of tape (masking or duct tape) to wrap around the phone book to create a firm step. You don't want the pages to shift in use.

Bike for at Home Exercise

I live in a town that isn't huge but big enough to have to drive everywhere. When I decided to stay home with my son, I got rid of my car to pay off some bills. I kept a little bit of money to get a trolley to pull behind my bike. The trolley fit my son, our lunch, and some groceries and library books. We had so much fun last summer! I got to know my town better and I got some fresh air. And it got me out of the house. It was very addicting, too. I even started picking locations that were further away just to challenge myself.

Firm Thighs at Home

This is something that I started doing at my office as a way to work out during the day, but I think it could carry over to the home. I use one of my daughter's plastic kick balls to work my inner-thighs. Under my desk (where no one can see me), I hold the ball between my knees while sitting close to the edge of my chair and squeeze my legs together. It's great for the thighs. At least, it's one way to put in my hours and get some athletic benefit as well.

At Home Exercise Equipment

Soup cans can be used as weights for working out your arms. They weigh approximately one pound each and are great for beginners. As you need to, you can go to the larger soup cans that weigh about two pounds or so.

Some libraries have video exercise tapes that can be checked out. This will give you a program to do at home. Write down the exercises that are on the tape and then do them while listening to the radio or your favorite tape or CD.

If you have a long piece of heavy rope, you can use this to jump rope. Get the kids involved. You can make a game out of it, and get your exercise too!

Don't forget the old exercises that we learned in PE class in school, such as jumping jacks, sit ups/crunches, lunges, leg lifts, squats, and waist bends/side bends.

Or try some "speed cleaning." Put on some fast dance music and see just how quickly you can clean house. Speedy sweeping and mopping not only get your floors sparkling, but they raise your heart rate and build some nice firmness to sagging arms.
Candy in AL

Daily Exercise at Home

There are many things around the house that make good exercise equipment. The easiest are right in your pantry! Use one or two-pound cans as weights until they become too easy to lift. You'll know they're too easy when you can do 15 reps without a problem. Use your staircase as a stair stepper and for other exercises to build up leg muscles. Put a large towel on the floor to use as a mat for floor exercises.

To build exercise into your daily routine, forget about being efficient. Be effective instead! Park your car at the far end of parking lots. You won't miss the extra two or three minutes you use to get to the door of the store, but you'll see the difference in no time. Go up and down the stairs at home frequently. Wash your own car, clean your own house, till your own garden, and shovel your own walks and driveway.

All of these activities and many others around the house qualify as exercise. They really make a difference. I've lost and kept off over 85 pounds, going from size 16-18 to size 4, doing all these things. I also walk around the neighborhood and to nearby stores. I even walk to some of the schools where I substitute teach.

Exercise One Step at a Time

A great motivator is to get one of those pedometers that you hook to your waistband. It's fun to see if you can top the number of steps you took from the previous day and to set weekly goals. They aren't very expensive, and some of the fast food places are even giving them away with their salads.

Check sale prices for green cleaning solutions.

Hoola Hoop at Home

My favorite exercise is using the hoola hoop for 15 to 30 minutes a day. It is a great workout and it only cost me a dollar. I keep it behind the TV for convenience. Make sure to keep good posture the whole time.

Momentary Exercise at Home

Here are a few great exercise alternatives:

  1. Walk or march in place, with arms swinging, while watching TV.
  2. While listening to music, dance around the living room.
  3. While listening to music, wave your arms around as if you are the conductor.
  4. If you have a small child, dance around the living room while holding the child in your arms.
  5. Half-gallon milk jugs refilled with water make great hand weights.
  6. While brushing your teeth, do deep knee bends or side leg kicks.
  7. While sitting at the computer, flex your feet.
  8. While sitting at a red light in your car, tighten stomach muscles, hold for a count of 5, and release.

Sue D.

Alternative at Home Treadmill

I, too, was facing this dilemma. I was not willing to invest any more in expensive exercise equipment that would sit unused in a corner of the room after a few weeks of use. Since I am not a fan of exercise, this has happened with equipment I've purchased in the past.

A few months ago, I started to take the bus to work. The nearest bus stop is a mile away from my house. It provides me with two 20-minute walks a day. I don't get sweaty because I don't run, and because the exercise is divided into smaller chunks, I hardly know I'm doing it. I use the time to wake up in the morning and to relax in the evening before I come home to my family. I am now looking at taking a (shorter) bus ride from a bus stop that is two miles away, providing me with four miles of distance to cover each day. The only time I didn't take the bus was in the dead of winter when temperatures reached below zero.

I've started to look forward to my walks and am enjoying my "alternative treadmill" very much.

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