Easing into longer-term work/life balance with at-home exercise

I made a quick list when I started this work assignment, of things I thought were the best balance of cost & time investment for getting more workout time into the week. I thought I’d share that, and how that can help shave off wasted time I don’t have to spare.

  1. An inexpensive (no, I mean actually inexpensive) spin-type bike.
    They’re simpler, they don’t have sophisticated circuit boards (they don’t have them at all) that can fail, and they’re slightly smaller & lighter than a traditional gym-quality upright or recumbent stationary bike. And they’re much, much cheaper to buy new. I found a lightning-type deal on Amazon, and was able to get a decent spin bike for around $150 with some rewards points I threw in too. It’s still new to me – I’ve had it since Thursday, and haven’t put many hours on it yet, but will update with how it’s handling it.
    I don’t have time to drive to the gym every time I want to use a bike, and don’t want to use my car/use gas to get short bouts of exercise that I can do elsewhere. I’m lucky enough that my folks’ house can accommodate it, and my mother can also use it to augment her warm-season cycling (yes, 80-year olds can be avid cyclists!). So this arrangement suits 2 people, possibly 3 if my partner Craig wants to use it. So, yeah, it’s no cushy Peloton, but it didn’t come with the cushy price tag either.
  2. A heavy sandbag. Ok, to be fair, I made one myself. But I’ve also recently acquired a 45-pound sandbag (the empty bag only) for slam/drop/pickup drills, because I’m too busy to sit down and sew another one. This is a versatile piece of equipment, and compared to the cost of a pre-filled medicine ball, is much much cheaper. Typically, you can buy sand for a few dollars for a 5-gallon bucket, and that’s about all you need. Picking up heavy things is really what lifting is all about, and the shape of a sandbag really tests your ability to manage something that isn’t easy to grab, like a barbell is.
  3. Kettlebells. I used to hate them, but I’ve grown to love how versatile they are. You don’t need a lot of them, and they are designed for multiple muscle workouts, which not only are more time-efficient, they help your muscles understand better how to work together, which just make you stronger overall.
  4. So that’s it. Bike, sandbag, kettlebells.
  5. What happened to the hula hoop? The only sad thing is that the hula hoop doesn’t give me as much of a workout as I need for real cardiopulmonary fitness anymore – I can’t get my heart really going since I started regular bike sessions, so I’m going to save it for low-key fun workouts where I’m not trying to improve my heart-lung fitness so much. I still super duper love the hula hoop, it’s just not working into a time-crunch fitness regimen right now.

Anyway, I hope that was interesting or helpful in some way. I’m always looking to help people figure out how to work out more by reducing the friction that life contributes – when you have the luxury of being able to work out at home, it’s a great time-saver, and you don’t need to break the bank, either.