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How to Exercise at Home in a Small Space

No way of getting to the gym this week? No problem. Sometimes life gets in the way and you can’t make it out of the house for a workout. Whether it’s a busy schedule or something more serious like having to self-isolate at home due to a global pandemic like COVID-19, there are numerous ways to stay fit.

Fancy equipment and complicated machines are a fun way to work up a sweat, but they aren’t essential. All you need for a good workout is a soft surface (yoga mats and towels both work fine) and a body. A set of dumbbells or a resistance band kicks things up a notch if you have them to hand, but there are plenty of equipment-free workouts that work for small spaces like a hotel room, apartment, or a bedroom.

HIIT At Home

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be done anywhere with no equipment. HIIT involves doing a high-intensity exercise like squat-jumps, burpees or jumping jacks, for short intervals with rests between each set. Make your sequence and use a stopwatch or timer on your smartphone to keep track of time. 

For example, a HIIT circuit at home could feature 30 seconds of jumping jacks, 30 seconds of squats and 30 seconds of lunges with 20 seconds rest time in between each exercise. This sequence would be done four times, with an option to rest between each set if required. 

Need inspiration? YouTube fitness channels like FitnessBlender, SELF and PopSugar Fitness have dozens of videos available to stream for free.

Low Impact Cardio

Worried about disturbing your downstairs neighbours? Low impact cardio is the way to go. These moves are designed to get the heart racing without jumping or running. Low impact exercises differ from their high impact siblings.

High impact exercise is supposed to get your heart pumping and push your body to its limit. Low impact moves are often used by athletes who have injuries, mobility issues or have been training too hard.

Search for low-impact home workouts on YouTube for inspiration. Useful moves include planks, mountain climbers and reverse lunges. Your knees – and neighbours – will be grateful. 

Yoga And Pilates

If you have never tried pilates or yoga before, there is no time like the present. Most yoga and pilates sequences only require the space of a floor mat, so they are ideal for home workouts. Pilates involves a series of movements designed to work on core strength, flexibility, posture and balance. Workouts are usually split into three levels of ability, with beginners starting at level one and pilates veterans opting for level three.

Yoga focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing. There are a dozen different forms of yoga. Vinyasa, for example, involves movement with breath, while yin is about relaxation and meditation. Try out a handful of classes online and find out which one works best for you.

Get Creative

Most of us don’t have access to equipment like a leg press, barbell or chest press machine at home. Luckily there are plenty of alternatives to traditional gym equipment if you are prepared to think outside the box. Bottles of water or tinned soup make excellent dumbbells. A backpack filled with books becomes a useful weight for squats, Russian twists and lunges. A broom handle with weighted bags hanging on either end becomes a barbell for squats, deadlifts and calf raises. Chairs are perfect for step-up exercises or tricep dips. Paper plates can be used as glider replacements for ab and leg workouts. The possibilities are right under your nose if you get creative!

There is no excuse to skip a workout when you can’t get to the gym. Working up a sweat does wonders for both the mind and body and will help burn off all your excess energy for a good night’s sleep. Whether you love getting Zen with a yoga flow or challenging yourself with a HIIT workout, there are plenty of ways to get your fitness fix in small spaces.