So many of us wish we could get more use out of our gym memberships, but with hectic lives and unpredictable schedules, it's not always so easy. If you find it too hard to get out of your house every day for a workout, why not bring the gym to you?

Creating a gym in your home can save time and money — there's no need to own the same heavy, expensive equipment so ubiquitous at a standard gym. You may be surprised at how easy it is to tailor a home gym to fit your personal needs. All you need are a few tangible pieces and a motivational vibe! Here, five necessities for an optimal at-home gym.

1. Atmosphere

Think about what you like most about the gym and figure out how to bring some of that atmosphere to your own space. If natural light is a must have for you, find a space upstairs with great windows to create the look you want. If you like to watch TV while you sweat, start working out in a room in your house that has screen.

Need a little aspirational motivation? Try something simple like a bulletin board full of motivational photos, calendars and quotes to inspire you to always make time to exercise while tracking your progress. Instead of comparing yourself to other gym members, compare yourself to yourself!

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2. Music

If you're finding it hard to stay motivated or get in the zone, make a playlist that'll make you want to move while also elevating your mood. Not only can music increase physical performance — improved artery function! — it can also motivate, make you feel stronger, prolong workouts and speed recovery.

3. Hand Weights

Whether yoga, running or weight training is your workout of choice, having a set of dumbbells is a great idea for your home gym. They take up very little space and are relatively affordable. By simply incorporating light weight, full body exercises into your regimen, you can improve your strength, balance, flexibility and overall health.

4. Medicine Ball

This is a great tool for building core strength and testing your balance. Not only are you adding another excellent piece of equipment to your home gym, you're keeping it clutter-free. What should you do with it? Crossover lunges, medicine ball planks and wall sits, just to name a few.

5. Foam Roller

One of the most forgotten exercises out there is stretching. Having a foam roller at home can really loosen up stiff, tight muscles. Spend a few minutes every day using a foam roller for a proper warm up and cool down, which will in turn lead to a much more effective workout.

Working out at home doesn't mean you won't be able to get in as good of a workout. You can actually become more efficient, spend less money and feel energized without having to sacrifice something else in your day to make time to get to the gym. No need to run out and buy a treadmill or a new weight set for an at-home gym ... just focus on these five things and you'll have a perfect, personalized gym in no time!

Photo courtesy of the author


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