Fitness

Beginner’s fitness tips! How to turn your living room into a gym

Our fitness expert, Jennie Gadsby, reveals how to create an effective workout space with some smart tips and essential kit

First, arrange your space: Being able to transform swiftly from comfy home to workout oasis is key. Choose a room with floor space or where furniture can be moved quickly. Store everything you will need in there, including a water bottle, towel and trainers, so you’re always ready to get going. I’ve seen loads of clever ways to store equipment, including storage footstools, decorative baskets or even just in a well organised spare drawer.

Next, create an atmosphere: You could build a workout playlist with all your favourite energising songs and, just before getting started, open the windows or switch on a fan to keep your space cool and fresh. Put up a motivational poster or print, too. My one says: ‘Today’s struggles are tomorrow’s results.’

Finally, find the right workout: Check out the Fitness hub for free workouts you can do with me. Don’t like squinting at a small screen? Hook your laptop up to the TV using a HDMI cable.

Some essential kit to get you started:

Yoga mat
Some of the most effective tummy, back and bottom exercises are done seated or lying down. A mat will make these exercises more comfortable and hygienic. Yoga mats are easily rolled up and stashed away. You can buy one here.

Try: Crunches. Lie on your back with your feet flat and knees bent. Pull your tummy muscles in and keep your chin lifted as you bring your head, neck and shoulders up off the floor. Hold for a second and lower slowly.

Resistance bands
These give you a full-body workout, working your muscles in a similar way to weights, which helps you to improve your strength. Anchor bands to solid furniture, or hook them under your feet for a wide variety of low-impact exercises. 

Try: Front and side raises. Hold one end of the band in each hand and place one foot on the middle of the band. With knuckles facing up and arms straight, slowly raise your arms up in front of you, then lower with control. Next, raise your arms slowly to the sides and lower. Keep your back, hips and tummy still throughout.

Medicine ball
Medicine balls look like basketballs – they’re solid rubber with a textured surface for good grip – but are much heavier. They vary from 1-10kg, so you can choose one suited to your level (try 2kg first and work your way up). They allow you to add weight to a variety of exercises.

Try: Lunge and twist. Hold the ball in front of you, step back on your left leg and lower the knee towards the floor, twist your upper body to the right, so the ball passes over your right leg. Carefully return to the start position and repeat on the other side.

Consult your GP before starting a new exercise regime.