Exercise in Small Spaces

I don’t like gyms.  I dislike waiting on equipment to be ready.  I dislike having to wipe sweat off things.  I dislike paying for the equipment thrice over.  I dislike the peak hours, and the MASS of people that show up for 3 weeks in January.  I dislike the folks that just stare into mirrors, or take up space to talk IG shots.  I really dislike having to travel back and forth.  There are benefits though, namely in classes and swimming pools.


Many a year ago I got an exercise machine.  One of those all-in-one things that allowed me to do a bunch of exercises with a consistent resistance (something bowflex doesn’t really do).  I replaced that about 8 years ago now with a cage, Olympic barbells, and some dumbbells.  There’s a page on all that equipment.  It was less than $1000 to get all of it, and that was brand new gear.  I’m sure with some judicial used shopping it could go for half.  Figure a gym membership is $50 a month, and that’s ~18 months of membership to pay for it.  So the money part is pretty straightforward.


The real issue is the room required.  I have this set up in my basement, along with a treadmill.  I’d say it takes up a 14’x10′ space.  Gives enough room for some yoga/stretching exercises as well.  Space is a premium for a lot of people, I get that.  Some would rather have a bar, or a pool table, or a wine cellar.  Some it’s office space.  Most people in apartments and condos don’t even have that option.

So maybe you don’t get a home gym.  Maybe you just get some basic equipment to run body exercises.  $50 will get you a pull up bar that fits in most doorframes.  A yoga mat & block are dirt cheap.  Resistance bands come in all sizes and store very easily.  There are way more body weight exercises than people realize, and that doesn’t take up much more room than a coffee table.  Beachbody’s Insanity program requires a tiny foot print, and it will beat you into the ground.


Money and space are covered then.  Now it’s time.  Aside from essential positions, the general population has an insane amount of time on their hands.  My kids don’t have any activities, and my hockey is cancelled…. so that’s ~ 12 hours a week back into my schedule.  My commute is gone.  There’s another 5 hours (I have employees who commuted 90min each way, so they are looking at 15+ hours back).

Maybe you have kids who are driving you mad?  If they can’t go outside, then bring them into the exercise program too.  Of all the habits we teach kids, physical activity is one of the best possible ones.  I’ve done weight lifting sessions with my youngest, and yoga with my eldest.  They see me do something every day.

I used to have a stationary bike, swapped that for a treadmill.  For both, I’ve built a laptop stand that allows me to work and move at the same time.  A flat board usually covers the handles and provides a stable platform.  The hard part is finding the right elevation so your wrists feel comfortable.  Or if you’re on calls all the time, just use a headset and walk/bike while you’re listening.  Heck, nearly every machine nowdays comes with a tablet/cell holder to watch vids while you do your thing.

Just Move

Even moderate exercise has tremendous benefits.  The endorphins alone allow for a better mental space, as well as helping get most restful nights.  For those socially isolated, there are plenty of social media groups where people share their efforts, progress, and support.  Now’s the absolutely best time to start a new habit.


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