To say you're a busy parent is the height of redundancy. No matter their ages, there's always something to do or some place to be that involves your children. Laundry (lots of it), changing diapers, preparing meals, soccer practice, field hockey games, and school plays. *Exhale* Most days you feel like you have no time to yourself to enjoy a relaxing bath or sneak in some quick exercise. If you don't have time to hit the gym, then bring the gym to you. Having workout equipment in your home helps to maintain your health (and sanity) all with a simple trip to the basement. Here are ten pieces of workout equipment guaranteed to help you improve your fitness.
Heart Rate Monitor
Changes in your body are one way to visually see progress, but it can take quite some time before those changes are noticeable to the naked eye. So why not try a heart rate monitor? This handy gadget will show you what percentage of your maximum heart rate you're using as it keeps count of every calorie you torch. You know you're working hard as you gasp for air. A heart rate monitor lets you track just how hard you worked.
Jumping rope isn't just an activity for second graders during recess - it's also a great way to build up cardiovascular endurance while working up quite the sweat in a short amount of time. With enough practice, you'll be schooling your second grader.
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Think you can't get a good workout with just dumbbells? Think again. Dumbbells allow you to work all the major parts of your body. Hit your biceps and triceps with curls and overhead extensions. Build your shoulders with side lateral raises. Increase the size of your pectorals with presses. Your legs can get in on the act with walking lunges. You'll get a better overall workout if you pick up an adjustable bench, as many of the routines are ideally performed on a bench.
Photo Source: Flickr/Adrian Clark
Whether you walk or run, protecting your joints is a must. Pounding the pavement can wreak havoc on your feet and knees. Look after them with a quality pair of running shoes that provide good support and a thick heel to absorb the impact from every stride. And running isn't a time consuming workout unless your goal is a long run. Before you know it, you've gone a mile or two.
Sometimes you just need a good stretch. Your own yoga mat is just the place to unwind while rewarding your muscles for a job well done. You can also perform yoga routines right in front of your TV.
Push-ups are an excellent exercise to increase your upper body strength, especially your pecs. Incorporate push-up stands to allow you to go deeper on each repetition and try holding at the top for a second or two. You'll learn to love the burn.
Six-pack abs are quite popular during beach season. An ab roller is a fantastic way to strengthen your core as you hunt for those elusive abs. The roller is also inexpensive and lightweight, so you can take it anywhere.
If quick, hard cardio is your calling, then a speed ladder is for you. Very portable, these ladders are ideal for putting yourself through a tough workout with a variety of different footwork drills. You can even drop to the ground for push-ups in each square. Be sure to use your heart rate monitor to track those calories burned.
Doorway Chin-Up Bar
Rest assured you're not the only one who didn't like doing chins in high school gym class. But they are a great way to build up your biceps. Turn your hands around to the pull-up position and get to work on constructing a strong, chiseled back.
You're going to be sore the next day after a good workout. Reduce the pending muscle aches by foam rolling. It's not the same as 60 minutes on a massage table, but it will help alleviate some stiffness you'll feel.
Some people thrive on going to a gym and working out with a personal trainer, but working out doesn't have to require daily trips to a big box gym. With the right workout equipment, you can improve your fitness in the privacy of your own home. As always, consult your physician before starting any exercise program.
What's your favorite type of exercise to do at home and what type of workout equipment do you use? Tell us in the comments below!
Featured Photo Source: Flickr/Ih