By now, we all know that exercise is a crucial component to living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Exercising regularly burns calories, reduces the risk of obesity and protects the heart, not to mention it increases your confidence and just makes you feel better all around.
But reality is, we don’t always have the time or money to hit the gym. So what can we do if we’re obsessed with staying fit, but tight on time and cash? Well, thanks to the rise of new and innovative fitness products, as well as high-intensity workouts that are available via YouTube, websites and DVDs, it’s totally possible to burn those cals wherever and whenever you please.
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From high-tech gadgets — such as Fitbit bracelets to workouts classics, like jump ropes and dumbbells — there are plenty of ways to stay on top of your A-game. And the best part is… they don’t require a trip to the gym.
So, where and how do you get started? You can begin by checking out these at-home fitness products.
1. Jump rope
Sure, jumping rope might seem like a bit of an outdated way of exercising, but it’s actually one of the most effective cardio techniques.
The jump rope offers a ton of physical benefits — including melting away body fat at record rates. Jumping rope is also a great way to strengthen and shape your stems.
Bonus: Quality jump ropes are super-affordable and portable. (Rogue Fitness, $22)
2. TRX strap
You’ve probably seen people hanging around on these yellow and black straps at the gym, but believe me, they’re working more muscles than it may seem.
The TRX Suspension Trainer was developed by Navy SEALs and uses gravity and your body weight to tone every muscle in your body, especially the core. Another major bonus? You can easily hang these from your door or even a tree, which makes them perfect for at-home exercising. (TRX, $200)
Looking to slim down and tone up? Then you definitely want to add a kettlebell to your list of at-home fitness products.
Kettlebells help you achieve a leaner, tighter figure by working your body as one unit without wasting too much time. High-rep sets of kettlebell swings, snatches and clean and jerks get your body in major fat-burning mode by building strength in the lower back, shoulders and hip flexors. Another perk? You can totally tailor kettlebell workouts to your body’s specific needs, making it more intense with higher reps, or taking a slow and steady approach to build strength. (Power Systems, $35)
All true workout gurus know that dumbbells are where it’s at.
Sure, they may be small (depending on the weight you use), but they will certainly make you strong and mighty! Dumbbells are inexpensive, versatile and easy-to-use weights that can be added to a variety of workouts and help to improve your cardiovascular fitness, burn calories, build muscle and increase endurance. (Amazon, $28)
5. Balance board
Balance boards, also known as wobble boards, are another great tool for toning your bod.
These boards have a flat, hard top that you stand on and an unstable, rounded bottom, which makes for one heck of a balancing act! These boards require you to really engage your core (as well as other muscles) to find your center of balance. This is a great training mechanism for almost any other activity you do. Balance boards can be incorporated into sports and fitness training as well as rehabilitation. (Sportsmith, $86)
6. Yoga mat
Of course, I had to throw a yoga mat into the mix!
By now, we’ve all heard of the amazing physical and mental benefits of a consistent yoga practice, so there’s really no excuse to not own your own mat (not to mention it’s way more sanitary). So go ahead, improve your flexibility, strengthen your muscles, perfect your posture, curb your cravings, calm your mind, boost your immune system, improve your balance (and the list goes on) all from the comfort of home. (Lululemon, $68)
More: Where to do yoga online
7. Resistance bands
Adding resistance is certainly one way to work every major muscle group in your body.
Regardless of your fitness level, resistance bands are a great way to add a little more challenge to your at-home workouts. These bands come in a variety of resistances — including light, medium and heavy — allowing you to adjust the intensity of your workouts and helping you boost stamina, flexibility and range of motion. They can even take the place of dumbbells and weights for basic moves such as bicep curls. And the best part? Resistance bands require basically no space to store, and you can also easily stash them in your suitcase when you’re on the road. (Amazon, $34)
8. Foam roller
Just as important as your workout itself is your warm up and cool down.
Enter the foam roller: a long, log-looking item that can be a valuable part of any fitness fanatic’s workout routine, especially if you’re keen on running. Using a foam roller improves circulation, which gets the body ready for a workout, preps muscles for stretching and also helps the body recover afterwards. (Amazon, $22)
9. Fitbit bracelet
If you’re wanting to make sure your at-home workouts are as efficient as possible, consider buying yourself a Fitbit bracelet.
This fashionable fitness statement tracks your steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes to keep you on top of your game. It also manages how long and well you sleep, wakes you up with a silent alarm and has LED lights to show you how your day is stacking up against your goal — sleek, stylish and fitness savvy. (Amazon, $90)