Everyone appreciates convenience, and nothing is more convenient than having an exercise room in your home: no more running outside in 110-degree heat to drive to the gym just to work up a sweat.
Committing home space to a fitness and exercise room is more than just setting up a treadmill next to a table with a few towels and several bottles of water. The actual exercises and equipment planned for the space will determine size and location; therefore, make sure there is enough room to be able to move freely and without risk of injury.
Flooring is important. Consider self-adhesive carpet squares or commercial rubber flooring to cushion floor exercises. Blinds offer privacy and darken the room while watching television. Putting mirrored panels on the back wall reflects light and gives the room a more open feel. If there is a closet in the room, install shelving or drawers for towels and exercise clothes.
Peter Oh, CEO of Pacific Fitness, a specialty fitness equipment company, said the area should be inviting and motivating.
“This room is going to be your place for your personal time,” he said. “Be motivated by it so when you walk in, you don’t worry about anything other than your workout. That’s why you’re building this room and buying exercise equipment in the first place. Create an environment where you want to be.
“And that’s where we can help,” Oh continued. “Tell us your goals. Are you training for a marathon? Going to your 25-year reunion and want to look a little better than you do now? What kind of exercises are you interested in, and how many other people will be using the equipment? Do you have previous knee, shoulder or back injuries? We gather this info and make solid suggestions, because Pacific Fitness employees live this lifestyle and understand what you want to do and why.”
For many, an exercise room is a treadmill or stationary bicycle in the living room next to the sofa or across from the television. Manufacturers know this and have designed newer equipment so that the frame is at a right angle and can be placed in a corner to maximize space.
“I’ve seen people place their treadmill in a closet, and I personally have a bike in my bedroom where I watch television when I want a quick workout,” said Oh, a certified master trainer. “Not everyone has the luxury of a $30,000 home gym.”
“Keep in mind that a proper exercise room is an investment in your health,” he said. “It can be expensive, but compare it to the medical costs of a heart attack or stroke or diabetes and the additional costs for medical bills and prescriptions. Good exercise equipment is an investment in one’s quality of life.”
The first step in building the exercise room is selecting equipment. Larger pieces, such as a stationary bike, stair climber or treadmill, are heavy and require a dedicated space because they are difficult to move in and out of an area. Manipulative pieces, such as hand weights, resistance bands and even jumping ropes, are helpful and much easier to store.
Some exercise rooms have an area designated for yoga, Pilates, ballet or other types of dance or martial arts. The area, once established, can allow a personal trainer or instructor to come to the comfort of your home for private lessons.
Elliptical equipment and treadmills are the most popular pieces of exercise machines, with treadmills exhibiting new technology and entertainment options. Today’s treadmills can do everything from announcing an incoming email to planning marathon training. It can showcase a running trail halfway around the world and update your course position on a responsive LCD touch screen.
Health metrics displays are standard equipment, and most offer heart rate, pace, mileage, and calories burned. WiFi connections allow movies and streaming music, and some are compatible with an MP3 player.
“Treadmills and other equipment can now be found in the office,” Oh said. “There are treadmills that come with a desk, and we’ve sold these to lawyers so they can work while working out. Another popular office item is a stability ball. Sit on the ball and balance your body core, as opposed to just sitting or leaning back in an office chair. Then there are desks that lift up so you stand and work, which is better than sitting all day.”
Elliptical trainers offer a nonimpact cardiovascular workout that varies from light to high intensity based on the speed of the exercise and the resistance preference set by the user. An exercise bike can be placed anywhere in any room and saves the body unnecessary stress on tendons and ankles that may occur when running outside on hard pavement.
“We encourage customers to come into one of our showrooms (three locations in Southern Nevada) and use our equipment to see what works for them,” said Oh. “At the same time, bring in the dimensions of the area where you want to create the exercise room and we’ll feed that info into our computer software. We’ll drop equipment into the layout with 3-D renderings that illustrate what it will look like. From there, add or take away equipment to build according to your needs.”