woman doing a home workout
Fitness

12 Ideas to Make Home Workouts Less Boring

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As a class person, I always struggle with home workouts. For me, it’s just not the same. Yet I still have tons of home workout options for when I need them. (Because something is always better than nothing.)

Some of my best home workouts have been what I refer to as my “snowstorm workouts.” I had nowhere to be and wasn’t constantly checking my watch. Somehow that narrative was more motivating than “I could have gone to a class, but I didn’t.”

At one time or another, you’ve needed to do a home workout. During these uncertain times, you may be faced with home workouts as your only option for more than a few days. Dare I say weeks? Especially for class lovers like me, not having access to a gym is super disappointing.

So here we are. Everything that is the slightest bit entertaining is now on hold. Fear and uncertainty are high, which why it’s more important than ever to maintain a fitness routine to help manage those stress levels.

Social distancing doesn’t have to mean you’re destined to spend the next umpteen days like a zombie on the couch mindlessly scrolling through your phone in misery.

If you’re perfectly healthy and just grounded at home for a while, let’s take a look at some home workout options to pass the time that aren’t the same old tired ten squats, ten lunges, ten burpees, yada yada yada, repeat. (Unless that makes you happy in which case, more power to you.) I just get bored quickly.

P.S. – Don’t forget to check out my value packed Resource page, where you can find where you can find information about products and free resources around the web that I mention in my articles, all in one place.

Disclaimer: Always seek proper instruction before initiating an exercise program. Not everything is great for everyone! Consult with your qualified health care practitioners for an exercise program tailored to your needs. Stay healthy and injury-free people! Read the full disclaimer.

1. Play the 10/10/10 game

What is that? It’s my secret mental trick for when I can’t seem to muster up the energy to get started. I pick a 10 min workout video. Then another 10 minute home workout video. And so on, you get the idea.

I string together several small workouts to get that little win. Altogether, they turn into a big win, of getting a decent workout done.

Even if you only did a 10 minute home workout video, isn’t that better than no workout? Where do I get these 10 minute home workout videos? That leads me to number two.

2. Video Home Workouts

YouTube is a sea of free fitness options for home workouts.

For class people, this is the closest thing. Who knows, you might discover something new and look to try a live group class when you can get to the gym.

You can also check out the app selection on your phone for free trials to workout subscription services.

One of my favorite YouTube yoga options is Yoga with Kassandra.

This is not a paid plug. I just really enjoy her content and know that my readers would enjoy a tip on a free yoga source with tremendous value.

Kassandra’s channel has a wide range of options, from 10 minutes to full-length classes. Her styles include Vinyasa, Hatha, power yoga, and Yin yoga. There are options for all levels.

So if you’ve wanted to give yoga a try, this might be a good time to start and help decrease some of that stress.

Studies have shown that yoga is an effective, natural way of decreasing cortisol levels, the “stress” hormone, which contributes to many vital functions of the body. Too much of it is not a good thing.

Check out my article on the benefits of yoga.

For those looking for a little more, definitely check out the My Fitness app by Jillian Michaels. There’s a ton of different workouts to customize time, intensity, areas to focus on, and even what equipment you have access to. Never fear, all of her classic DVD workouts are available on the app also.

Get a 7-day free trial of the My Fitness app by Jillian Michaels here!

3. Try Tabata

If you struggle to get your heart rate up at home, Tabata can help give you a boost. It’s also a convenient option when you’re short on time.

Tabata is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Don’t be intimidated by the words “high intensity.” It only means high intensity for you. Do what you can do, everyone is different.

Traditional Tabata consists of 4-minute workouts. Eight rounds alternate between 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. With a 1 minute rest in between sets. It’s a super-easy way to get a cardio blast without equipment. 

It can be used as a workout on its own with several different 4 min sets or added to boost the intensity of other workouts.

Not sure how to modify exercises to your level? Read this article all about exercise modifications!

Woman planking on a mat, home workout next to a tablet.
Yakobchuck Elena / bigstockphoto.com

4. Guided audio workouts

Slightly different than video workouts, audio workouts don’t require that you glue your attention to a screen.

When you want to take your workout outside or don’t have a workout space that has a TV or tablet, enter guided audio workouts. If you lack the motivation to get a workout started, following a guided audio workout can help push you to start.

I use Aaptiv for guided audio workouts very frequently on the elliptical, spin bike, treadmill, and stair climber to make cardio machines more exciting. It’s like having your own personal class right in your headphones.

Aaptiv also has options for strength training, outdoor running, yoga, meditation, Pilates, and more.

5. Improvise (safely) for equipment

Strength training doesn’t have to stop just because you don’t have any equipment. Don’t underestimate the difficulty of bodyweight strengthening exercises.

Water bottles can sub for some weights in a pinch.

A sturdy chair can also sub in for a place to do dips, incline push-ups, or as a “barre” for barre workouts.

6. Use home cardio equipment (for things other than hanging laundry.)

Got a treadmill or bike that you never use? It’s time.

Do a whole workout or just a warm-up. Use that available resource.

If you’re not using it in a time like this, does it need to be in your house taking up valuable space?

Serious question for those who also have decluttering goals during this extended stay at home.

7. Dust off those active video game consoles

You know, the ones that encourage activity that everyone had to have, but are probably collecting a lot of dust on your shelf?

Give them a try to switch things up. Plus fun for the whole family. Maybe it’s not the best workout, but it’s also not sitting on the couch.

woman stretching outside on a yoga mat sunny day home workout
Maridav / bigstockphoto.com

8. Utilize outdoor space

Don’t just hibernate in your home. There are numerous health benefits to something so simple as breathing fresh air. Being outdoors can help boost immunity, decrease feelings of anxiety and depression, and give you a natural dose of Vitamin D.

If you’re able to take a walk, run, or ride a bike, it’s a change of scenery for your home workout.

9. Involve the family

Play some games. Jump rope, hopscotch, hula hoop, tag, dance party, have a catch. Whatever, just move. This all counts as activity, and it isn’t sitting on the couch.

10. Remix your playlist

Is your workout playlist getting a little stale?

Nothing kicks up the excitement like some new (or old) music. Spend some time revamping your playlist and inject some motivation back into your routine.

11. Keep a workout schedule

Your regular routine has been tossed upside down. Actively plan time for your fitness. If you don’t, it won’t happen. The home is full of distractions.

12. Designate some space

Not everyone has the luxury of a home gym space. Still, try to find a spot in your home, even if you need to slide a table out of the way.

Make yourself a little yoga corner. Pretend you’re at the studio. Put a candle out and roll up a towel like you just picked it up at the front desk. Make yourself a cup of tea. Namaste. You’ve got this.

Try these ideas for your at-home workouts to keep your fitness and your spirits up during these scary times. You’ll be back in the gym before you know it.

Don’t forget to make these proactive tips part of your regular prevention routine.

Comment below and let me know what you’re doing for home workouts.

References

Barton J, Hine R, Pretty, J. The health benefits of walking in greenspaces of high natural and heritage value. Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences. (2009);6(4):261-278. DOI: 10.1080/19438150903378425

John S. Y. Chan, Guanmin Liu, Danxia Liang, Kanfeng Deng, Jiamin Wu & Jin H. Yan (2019) Special Issue – Therapeutic Benefits of Physical Activity for Mood: A Systematic Review on the Effects of Exercise Intensity, Duration, and Modality, The Journal of Psychology, 153:1, 102-125, DOI: 10.1080/00223980.2018.1470487

Nieman DC, Wentz LM. The compelling link between physical activity and the body’s defense system. J Sport Health Sci. 2019;8(3):201–217. doi:10.1016/j.jshs.2018.09.009

Sarris J, de Manincor M, Hargraves F, Tsonis J. Harnessing the Four Elements for Mental Health. Front Psychiatry. 2019;10:256. Published 2019 Apr 24. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00256

Sharma A, Madaan V, Petty FD. Exercise for mental health. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2006;8(2):106. doi:10.4088/pcc.v08n0208a

Thirthalli J, Naveen GH, Rao MG, Varambally S, Christopher R, Gangadhar BN. Cortisol and antidepressant effects of yoga. Indian J Psychiatry. 2013;55(Suppl 3):S405–S408. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.116315

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