Exercise is a vital part of keeping well both mentally and physically.

Even when the gym’s off limits, there are plenty of ways to work out effectively at home. Social media gives us direct access to so some of the world’s top trainers, whether you prefer yoga or something more strenuous. Investing in a few bits of kit can help take your workouts to the next level. Here’s our pick of the best home gym kit…

Yoga mat

If you have hard floors, this is an essential for bodyweight work, as well as stretching, Pilates and Yoga. Look for one with a durable, cushioned and non-slip surface. It also prevents us sweating over our carpets and shaggy rugs – double bonus!

Skipping rope

Skipping confers the same cardio benefits as running but in less time which is why it’s top of our home gym essential list. Skipping challenges your balance and coordination and goes easier on your joints than a distance run does. A basic rope will set you back roughly £8 for a fun cardio workout. You won’t even realise how hard you’ve been working!

Resistance bands

Resistance bands are really cheap, generally ranging from £3 – 12 per band or for a set of bands. They are ideal for yoga and at-home HIIT workouts but also to take to the gym when lockdown is over. Resistance bands exert force on your muscles when stretched and can increase mobility and flexibility. You can use them to help you improve your form in yoga asanas or assist in stretching that little bit further.

Suspension trainer

Suspension trainers are straps with padded handles that can be attached to something sturdy. It allows you to use your body weight in a huge variety of angles and exercises. You can perform a full body resistance workout in a limited space, and it will fit in a drawer when you’re done. The TRX training system is the best known, but there are competitor brands from about £15 upwards to around £150. Make sure before you purchase your suspension trainer that you have a sturdy anchor point for the ropes, e.g. a door, tree branch or ceiling beam that can take the weight.

Hand weights

Dumbbells are of the most popular and arguably the most versatile of free weight purchases. They’re cheap, and they’re usually adjustable so you can change the weight as you build strength. Dumbbells are a fantastic piece of kit to have if you’re looking to build muscle and tone up. There are hundreds of exercises you can do with a pair of dumbbells, including clean and press, bicep curls, chest presses, squats, deadlifts, renegade rows, tricep kickbacks – the list is endless!

Rowing Machine

So far, our choices have been small bits of kit that can easily be stowed away, but if space is not an issue, then consider buying a rowing machine. Rowing is a great way to improve your core and your upper body strength while engaging in low-impact, high-intensity cardio – It’s truly a fantastic calorie-burning exercise! Decent rowing machines cost around £900, but basic models are available for around £100, or they do pop up regularly on Gumtree or local sales sites if you can collect in a socially-distanced way. If you have the space and want a full body workout that promises to torch calories this would be the perfect purchase!

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