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At one time or another, many of us think about joining a gym – whether we want to lose weight, take better overall care of ourselves, or simply enjoy a new hobby, various motivating factors can encourage us to sign up. But not all of us actually go through with it, for various reasons.

Gym memberships can be expensive, particularly those with a wealth of extras (spas, massages), and those of us with families to support may be unable to find the spare cash. Gyms can also be intimidating, regardless of your current physical condition: even the most slender, attractive people may feel as if all eyes are on them when they first walk in, head-to-toe in Lycra, surrounded by well-defined heavy-lifters. The fear of being judged, or making a fool of ourselves using equipment incorrectly, can put off even the most confident people.

The truth is, you don’t need a gym to get in shape: many people work out at home, either with a personal weight bench or using simple callisthenics. The beauty of working out at home is that it’s free (bar the cost of any equipment you want to use, of course), and you can do it whenever you have the time: get up half an hour earlier and get a few exercises done before work; give yourself a 20-minute workout while you wait for your dinner to cook; or even come home and work up a sweat on your lunch break if you live close enough to work.

Another bonus of working out at home is the privacy: no one is there to watch, and this may help you feel more confident as you work out. You can also take a nice hot shower afterwards without any awkwardness, too! To help you get started, here are a few ideas for home-based exercise you can enjoy:

Jumping Jacks

 You may remember these from gym class at school, and the reason so many teachers get kids doing jumping jacks is their effectiveness as a cardio exercise. If you live in an apartment with little soundproofing, you may want to wait until your neighbours are out, or perform these outside if possible. Try to do as many as you can, and ensure proper form – start off slowly to make sure you have the rhythm right. Don’t push yourself at first: aim to do at least one more with each successive workout.