A gym membership may not be your cup of tea, but this does not mean that you have to give up on keeping fit

Whether the weather is less than favourable, or you’ve given up your gym membership, you still need to keep active. Plus, the year-end feasting may be added motivitation to start a workout regime.

Exercising at home can be just as effective.

"Even without sophisticated exercise machines, with the right attitude and guidance, an effective workout is still possible. But you will need some essentials to begin with," says the team ​at the Department of Physiotherapy and LIFE Centre at Singapore General Hospital, a member of the SingHealth​ group.

Home fitness essentials

Elastic resistance bands can be used to train the muscles of the arms, chest, shoulders and hips. It gives a similar toning effect as some gym equipment if you select the appropriate band resistance.

Many machines in the gym use stacked weights as resistance to add load to movements, leading to strengthening effects. Body weight can be used as a substitute for the stacked weights to achieve the same effect.

Toning exercises such as push-ups, dips, partial crunches and half-squats are useful to strengthen and tone major muscle groups.

Other affordable and useful items are a skipping rope for a good cardiovascular workout, free weights for strength-building and toning, and a gym ball to improve flexibility and maintain body balance. A good exercise mat is useful too.

For cardiovascular or aerobic training, the most important item to have is an appropriate pair of walking or running shoes. Inappropriate footwear can potentially lead to injuries. If you are unsure, it is best to seek the advice of a sports physician, podiatrist or physiotherapist.

Fitness books and DVDs are widely available and provide useful instructions for home-based workouts. Otherwise, you can consider talking to a fitness instructor or a professional.

The main thing is to listen to your body. You should not experience any pain during or after the exercise. Mild soreness over one to two days is normal but acute bone or joint pain that does not subside with time means you are doing something wrong.

Staying safe

​To safely and effectively work out at home, the trick is to stay focused and minimise distractions. To add variety and a change of environment and fresh air to your fitness regime, you could consider cycling, jogging, swimming or taking up a sport. Target at least 30 minutes’ exercise at moderate intensity, several days a week, to stay fit.

Once you have established a routine, home workouts can be as effective as working out in a gym. The best part is that everyone can afford it.

Ref: O17​