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Plan B: a home gym to go

It can be more difficult to keep a consistent schedule at the gym during summer months. With kids out of school, vacations and heat and humidity zapping your energy, its nice to have an alternative workout plan.

By putting aside just a few minutes a day, you can get a great workout when traveling or in the comfort of your home when its convenient for you. The majority of options for setting up a home gym require little to no maintenance, don’t take up much floor space and are far less expensive than a gym membership.

Dumbbells: A staple of most home gyms, dumbbells allow you to work all major muscle groups and move in a non-restrictive way during exercise.

Ankle weights: Exercises using ankle weights include hip abduction, adduction and extension, leg curls and leg extensions. Hip abduction can be performed by lying on your side and slowly raising the top leg upward, adduction by bringing the lower leg upward. Standing hip extensions can be performed by bringing the leg straight behind you, with standing leg curls, the heel is raised toward the rear end. Seated leg extensions are performed by simply straightening the leg.

Resistance tubing/bands: Exercise bands/tubing can be used for both upper and lower body strengthening, as well as for flexibility. Lightweight and easy to store, they are ideal for home or when traveling. Although strength gains can be achieved, there are a few drawbacks. The amount of resistance is not measurable with bands, making it different than most other exercise equipment. With bands, the greatest amount of resistance is only felt at the end of the movement when it is fully stretched, while the body normally generates the most force at the start of the movement.

Hand/wrist weights: If you are restricted to doing light-weight resistance training, or have difficulty grasping and/or holding on to objects, hand and/or wrist weights are a good choice. Most have adjustable velcro straps, or come in different sizes that slip right over the hand onto the wrist, making the need to hold onto weights unnecessary. Tip: Wrist weights usually range from ½ pound to as much as 5 pounds, and can be used as additional resistance when exercising with dumbbells or resistance bands.

Exercise videos can be helpful if you are a beginner, or are looking for variety in your workouts. Great for cardio, strength training and flexibility, exercise videos can also help teach you how to use home gym equipment and can be found to fit nearly any exercise goal and fitness level.

Body weight exercises: It is also possible to get an effective workout at home or on the road by doing body weight exercises. Options include lunges, squats, calf raises, leg lifts, crunches, pushups and pull-ups.

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