6 At-Home Fitness Fixes

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on March 31, 2020

According to recent studies, an active lifestyle lowers your risk of getting a communicable disease. By getting more exercise, you can help ward off viral and bacterial infections.

Can’t get out? Not a problem. You can get a full workout even if you’re home all day, says Sylvia Nasser, an NASM-certified personal trainer.

Stream It

If you love group gym classes, try the next best thing: live online workouts. “Follow your favorite instructors or fitness media channels,” Nasser says. “Many now host Zoom, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube livestreams.”

Look online for gyms or personal trainers offering live workouts that you can join on your computer or on your smartphone. Or, try prerecorded workouts on YouTube or one of many fitness websites.

Go Social

Schedule a Zoom workout with friends or family. Having exercise buddies is great for connection and socialization, Nasser says. Plus, it keeps you accountable. If you know everyone’s jumping on the computer at 8 a.m., you have extra reason to show up.

Play Cards

In a pinch, Nasser says, reach for a deck of cards and let it be your fitness instructor. Each suit represents one body-weight exercise, like squats or lunges. Each number represents the number of reps. If hearts represent squats and you pull a 10 of hearts, you do 10 squats. Jokers can be dealer’s choice or one-offs like 60 seconds of jumping jacks. “You can do this with very simple exercises,” Nasser says. “Have fun with it.”

Use Your Stuff

“Get creative with things around your home,” Nasser says. “One of my favorites is taking a school bag and filling it up, then wearing it while you do lunges and lower body exercises.” Get your arms involved by holding onto the straps and doing bicep curls or wearing it as you do pushups.

Devise a Circuit Workout

Create stations around your home and move through each one for a full-body workout. Your home is filled with exercise-ready objects. Think stairs, chairs, and walls, Nasser says. Run up and down the stairs. Use chairs for tricep dips, pushups, and step-ups. Lean against the wall for wall sits.

Try Rep Challenges

Pick a number and challenge yourself to complete that amount of reps for a variety of simple exercises. For example, aim for 50 or 100 reps of four to five body-weight exercises. Start with 50 squats. Then do 50 lunges, 50 pushups, 50 mountain climbers, and 50 sit-ups. When you reach your goal, your workout is done.


4 Tools

Body weight exercises like squats and planks make for easy, effective at-home workouts, Nasser says. To mix it up, she recommends this basic gear.

1. Dumbbells

Try adjustable dumbbells, which take up less space than a full set of weights. To adjust the weight, you load and unload plated weights or flip a switch.

2. Resistance Bands

Bands come in all lengths and resistance levels, are excellent for building strength, and take up very little space in your home. Simply toss them in a drawer when you’re done.

3. Yoga Mat

Make your workout comfy and cushiony with a mat, which is especially handy if you have hard floors. After each workout, wipe it clean and roll it up.

4. Tech Options

A Fitbit, Apple Watch, or any watch with a timer makes a good workout buddy. Use it to time your exercises, count your steps, and see your progress.

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Show Sources


Sylvia Nasser, NASM-certified personal trainer.

Frontiers in Immunology: “Debunking the Myth of Exercise-Induced Immune Suppression: Redefining the Impact of Exercise on Immunological Health Across the Lifespan.”

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