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LiveWell: Health
From Soup to Nuts:
Create Your Own Home Gym
Any craftsman worth his tool belt will tell
you that you need the right tools to do
the job right.
That may be true, but when it comes to
home ftness, a little creativity can get
the job done.
“Working out at a ftness center or
gym isn’t an option for everyone. They
can be expensive, and you have to get there every day,”
says Matthew A. Saval, M.S., C.C.R.P., clinical exercise
physiologist at Henry Ford Health System. “The good news
is you don’t need a gym for a good workout.”
That’s because you can create your own workout routine at
home for a fraction of the cost. Simple household items like
soup cans and water jugs suddenly take on new meaning
when viewed through the eye of a ftness instructor.
As always, start with a physical exam from your doctor* and
get clearance to exercise. Then start a walking routine at the
mall, in your neighborhood or even indoors with a DVD
“If you live in an apartment complex, you can develop a
regular walking path from one building to another or up and
down the stairs, so you can workout in any kind of weather,”
Matthew says. “Do that for 30 minutes per day, fve days per
Next up? Strength training to improve your balance
and posture and lower your risk of falling.
An easy in-home tool is an exercise stretch band, available at
sporting goods stores. Use it two to three times a week to
strengthen your muscles.
Or, use typical household items to improve your strength
and range of motion. Try a can of soup or jar of nuts to
perform bicep curls, tricep extensions and even a simple
rowing motion. For advanced bicep curls, you can use a
half-gallon jug of water, milk or juice. Small dumbbells also
work. And don’t forget about the old-school basics that
don’t require any equipment at all: Sit-ups, push-ups,
jumping jacks and lunges are still great exercises.
Matthew recommends talking with a trainer to develop your
home routine or checking online for pictures or videos of
exercises. And fnd a partner to keep you motivated and
“Start slowly and build up to the goal of 150 minutes of
exercise every week or about 20 minutes a day,” he says.
“You’ll be surprised how easy it is to stay ft right in your
own home.”
Matthew A. Saval,
M.S., C.C.R.P.
* For most people, beginning a light,
low intensity workout program is
safe. However, if you are new to
exercising, have been inactive for an
extended period of time, have any
medical issues or are looking to
start an intense program, you
should speak to your doctor.