Fit­ness zones should be fun

The Prince George Citizen - The Citizen - Real Estate Weekly - - Real Estate -

A home gym or per­sonal work­out space is just as im­por­tant as find­ing the right equip­ment. The key is to make the space invit­ing, ex­perts say.

“Paint’s in­ex­pen­sive, but it can re­ally make a dif­fer­ence,” says Ruth Tara, a New York-based home gym de­signer and for­mer trainer. “Pick a colour you love that isn’t white or off-white. Add good lighting so you can see what you’re do­ing.”

Put the gym in an area that will keep you ac­tive, en­gaged and com­ing back for more.

Do you like fit­ness videos, or Wii? In­vest in a good, well-po­si­tioned TV, and an equally good sound sys­tem, so you can play what will mo­ti­vate you to keep ex­er­cis­ing. Have re­mote con­trols ac­ces­si­ble for ev­ery­thing.

Then, what about that ex­er­cise gear? Ex­perts rec­om­mend equip­ment that works mus­cles, heart rate, flex­i­bil­ity and mind. With that in mind, here are five hom­e­gym equip­ment must-haves:

1. Strength-build­ing: You no longer need a cum­ber­some rack filled with dif­fer­ent weights. “Selec­tor­ized” dumb­bells can be weight-ad­justed with just a click. Bowflex makes a pop­u­lar ver­sion. Add an ab ma­chine and bench press if you want to get se­ri­ous.

2. Car­dio and Heart Rate: Por­ta­ble fit­ness op­tions and small ac­ces­sories can help you go the ex­tra mile. Eric Her­man, fit­ness cat­e­gory man­ager for Bos­ton-based CSN, likes Stamina’s el­lip­ti­cal trainer that’s com­pact, light­weight, and stores eas­ily un­der a desk or in a closet. They make fold­ing tread­mills and bikes, too. Tara likes the Bowflex/Nau­tilus Tread­climber. Ga­iam has a fun mini-tram­po­line with a han­dle; it comes with a 35-minute work­out DVD. And a few rounds in Wii Fit’s hula-hoop ac­tiv­ity are ef­fec­tive too.

3. Flex­i­bil­ity and Bal­ance. Re­sis- tance bands are an in­ex­pen­sive, ef­fec­tive op­tion for mus­cle ton­ing. Bal­ance balls work your core; Ga­iam makes sev­eral. And for some­thing dif­fer­ent, con­sider Ga­iam’s T’ai Chi Fan Dance Kit; it in­cludes a cloth fan and in­struc­tional DVD.

4. Mind. Work mind and body at the same time with mu­sic or a favourite in­ter­ac­tive video. In­vest in a good mat, one that doesn’t have a strong odour, and think about the colour as well. Co-or­di­nate your equip­ment with the hues of your work­out space. Do you work best in a bright, en­er­giz­ing en­vi­ron­ment, or are you bet­ter in a calm­ing, zen-like at­mos­phere? Hang some mir­rors and mo­ti­va­tional im­ages to in­spire you.

5. Safety. A non-slip, cush­ioned sur­face un­der­foot is es­sen­tial. Give your­self enough space to ex­tend your arms and legs without wing­ing the vases off the ta­bles. Po­si­tion a phone nearby for emer­gen­cies. Pre­pare a por­ta­ble first-aid box, with gel ice and Band-Aids. And make sure any mov­ing equip- ment you buy has an auto-stop safe­guard.

Ded­i­cat­ing a room with a full ar­ray of gym equip­ment and prob­a­bly a new floor will run from $1,500 to more than $20,000. While a sim­ple gym can be set up in a three-by-3.5-me­tre ex­tra room, many peo­ple will turn over half of a ren­o­vated base­ment - per­haps six-by-six me­tres - to a work­out area.

“Peo­ple may splurge on an el­lip­ti­cal or a tread­mill, and then a year later, they’ll add more equip­ment as they’ve proven to them­selves that they’re se­ri­ous about work­ing out,” notes Her­man.

Tara has done some large and elab­o­rate home gyms, com­plete with re­mote lighting and sound, tilt-mounted TVs, cli­mate con­trol and a steam room. Fridges, bal­let bars and colour-matched equip­ment are of­ten added.

For a typ­i­cal home, she ad­vises putting the work­out area “where you like to spend your time. Bet­ter to put it in a cor­ner of the liv­ing room than in the bed­room - that’s where you go to sleep.”

She also ad­vises against or­der­ing a com­pli­cated, multi-com­po­nent piece from an in­fomer­cial. “Eight car­tons show up with 3,000 pieces you have to put to­gether. Once as­sem­bled, they’re of­ten too big for the space, too com­pli­cated and noisy.” Try out equip­ment in fit­ness or sport­ing goods stores; read on­line re­views.

If you’re strapped for both cash and space, a mat, some weights and a cou­ple of tow­els will do, says Tara. “Just get your­self mov­ing. You don’t need all the giz­mos. There are 24-hour fit­ness chan­nels on TV. In­vite a friend over. The goal’s to stave off bore­dom so you keep ex­er­cis­ing.” Source­book:­ - Core Ad­van­tage Sta­bil­ity Ball, $20; T’ai Chi Fan Kit, $29.98; Tram­po­line, $99.­nesse­quip­men­tand­more.c om - Stamina In-Mo­tion el­lip­ti­cal trainer, $94.99; Stamina fold­ing bike, $179.

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