How to Exercise at Home

Medically Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian, MD on October 28, 2021
3 min read

Who needs a gym membership? You can work out from the comfort and convenience of your home, and you have a lot of options besides hopping on a stationary bike or treadmill.

Use these tips to set up your at-home exercise routine.

Choose a location. Designate and declutter a spot in your home for your workouts. Don't automatically pick your basement or garage. If it's not an appealing space, you won't want to spend a lot of time there.

Look for an area near where you often sit. An empty corner or a spot near your TV, for instance, could be perfect. Seeing your exercise place may inspire you to get up and move. You don't want it to be out of sight, out of mind.

Buy the necessities. You don't need a lot of fancy gear. For under $100, you can buy some basics, such as an exercise mat, stability ball, resistance bands, and a few dumbbells. Or make your own list, based on what you want to do. What equipment do you need to support your goals?

Add some comforts. Whatever your favorite way to entertain yourself may be, get it ready to go, and then save it to enjoy during your workout.

Make a playlist with songs you love. Download an audiobook you're excited about. Record a whole season of a great show on your DVR, or add it to your streaming queue.

Use the web. Need an instructor? Check the web for online fitness classes. You can find yoga, dance, strength training, and others that you watch from your iPad or computer.

Some are free. Some are pay-as-you-go. Others require memberships and a monthly fee. Some ideas:

  • Curvy Yoga: Online classes or videos of yoga taught by, well, a curvy woman
  • DailyBurn: Various types of exercise at different challenge levels
  • Physique 57: Videos of a boutique fitness class that combines ballet, Pilates, and isometrics
  • Pound Rockout Workout: Online version of a popular fitness class at Crunch gyms -- simulated drumming with lightly weighted drumsticks for cardio, Pilates, isometric movements, and plyometrics
  • YogaGlo: Videos to download

Or, try streaming workouts through an Apple TV, Google TV, or Roku. This way you can access sites like Hulu while also watching on a big screen.

Play around. If you’re willing to invest a little cash, all the major game systems -- like the Microsoft Xbox One, the Nintendo Wii U, and the Sony PlayStation 4 -- make exercise fun with motion sensors that track your movement.

Get fit as you dance, do yoga or tai chi, go white-water rafting, or fight zombies. Some fitness games estimate the calories you burned afterward.

Make a reservation. When you exercise at home, it's easy to let life interfere. That's why it's especially important to have a set time to work out.

Find a time that feels best for you (in the morning, before dinner, in the evening) to ensure your success.

At the start of every week, look at your calendar and slot in your workouts. If your preferred time slot won't work one day, find another time that will.

Improvise. Once you start feeling energized and burning calories, you'll be even more motivated to keep going. When you're especially crunched for time, try this:

  • Throw on some music and have a dance party.
  • While watching TV, walk in place.
  • When you're cleaning or puttering, maximize your steps. Be less efficient. Carry one bag of groceries in at a time. Make two trips up the stairs instead of one. You'll burn more calories.