A Home Gym Win

Home gym with sport equipment

Most of us want to do the right thing to keep our bodies healthy. We carry around water bottles, keep vegetables and quinoa on hand and try to take the stairs instead of the elevator. But the recommended amount of exercise, according to the Mayo Clinic, is at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. That’s a minimum of 20 minutes every day—of moderate or vigorous exercise. Loading the dishwasher and whisking pancake batter doesn’t count. A brisk and intentional walk would do the trick, but this time of year the cold is brutal and the sidewalks slick making it a risky proposition. That means you probably need to get to a gym, and there are plenty around if you don’t mind the hassle of setting aside the time, packing a bag, finding a parking spot, etc. which can easily turn the 30 minutes you set aside for exercise into 60 or more. And then there are monthly membership dues (and by some accounts up to 67 percent of them go unused), so that’s not necessarily money well spent. Makes a good case for having a home gym—a space set aside for your preferred (or prescribed) form of exercise where you can blast the music or TV, wear whatever you want and skip wiping down the machines (hey, it’s just your germs and you’re already well-acquainted). Here are some things to consider if building a home gym is part of your 2018 resolutions.

(Courtesy of Revision LLC, Reena Sotropa In House Design Group, and Phil Crozier)

Return on Investment

According to real estate agent and custom home builder Rod Helm, home gyms are a popular feature and one he includes in all of his new construction. “Consumers are busier in today’s world, and any home amenity that allows them more ‘home’ time is popular.” He cautions homeowners to avoid trading off a needed space such as a guest bedroom or home office, which most home buyers want, unless the space could be easily converted.


Most fitness goals revolve around cardiovascular health (walking, running, biking, swimming, dancing, aerobics, stair climbing, etc. ) and strength (weight-bearing exercise like lifting weights, using tension bands/straps and yoga), so choose equipment that fits your preferences. If you’re not sure, it might be a good idea to go to a gym or personal trainer to get an assessment and try out various kinds of equipment. Cardio machines are expensive and you want ones you’ll actually use. If you’re a dancer or prefer aerobics or yoga, you may not need any at all. Keep in mind that some employers health plans offer rebates or credits for the purchase of fitness equipment, so it might be a good idea to check.

Young woman doing stretching exercise on yoga mat. Fitness, sport, training and lifestyle concept.


At least one large mirror where you can see your whole body is important for proper form and…a little company. Since you won’t be judged by other people at the gym you’ll need something to keep you honest, and a glance in the mirror will tell you if you’re slacking off on those squats.


It’s tempting to stash a workout space in an unused corner of the basement, but try to choose one with windows for some natural light to lift your spirits and connect with the outdoors. If that’s not possible, put in bright, flattering light fixtures and bulbs. Consider dimmers if the space will also be used for yoga and/or meditation.


Inexpensive industrial carpet squares are available in many colors and patterns, and are a good choice for rooms used predominately for machine, mat and weight work. For dance and aerobics, choose wood, vinyl or rubber for freedom of movement and shock absorption.

natural light, home gym
Courtesy Fotolia/3DarcaStudio


You’ll want a mat or two for stretching, calisthenics (i.e., ab crunches) and/or yoga. TRX bands and a skipping rope are inexpensive and an easy way to build cardiovascular and muscle strength. Try to make the space clutter-free to keep your purpose and priorities clear, and leave enough space to move around. A TV to stream workout videos or watch programs, a speaker and something to play music on are also good to have and will help motivate and/or make workout time go by quicker.


You can’t go wrong with clean and bright. If you’re converting a spare bedroom and it has tired paint colors or mind jarring wallpaper, consider a fresh coat of neutral paint and invest in some decent size wall mirrors to open up the space.

(Courtesy of Revision LLC, Reena Sotropa In House Design Group, and Phil Crozier)

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