Getting In Shape in a Small Space

Sure, your complex has a state-of-the art fitness center. How many times have you been there? Though the equipment’s enticing, the prospect of seeing your neighbors in Spandex not so much. Plus, the TVs are usually tuned to The View, the cacophony of multiple treadmills head-splitting, and it’s too cold to dip in the pool when you’re through. So, stay home instead. You can’t go too cardio if you’re on floors two and above, but you can workout your way. Play great music, put in your favorite flick, and grab something cold from the fridge whenever you’d like. Then step into the steam of your own shower.

Look for fitness equipment that’s relatively quiet, efficient, and packs up small. Keep friends with the neighbors by keeping the jump rope for the sidewalk, or on weekday afternoon when less people are home.

Yoga is ideal apartment exercise. To energize your body and calm your mind, pretzel up with the help of instructional books and DVDs. A.M. and P.M. Yoga for Beginners is a beautifully filmed guide for serenity, power, and flexibility. Borders and Barnes & Noble offer a plethora of yoga and Pilates instruction resources for neophytes. Every hot designer is offering their version of the yoga mat and bag this season. If chic accessories get you in the mood to move, give into it. Saka makes large DuraGrip Prana Yoga Mats in soft colors for about $35, and a fun cruelty free UnFur Mat Bag for $58. You can also find good deals on mats at Target and other superstores.

Whatever workout you choose, you’ll want something easy on your feet, back, and neighbors’ ears. Bathmats or runners with non-skid backing will work well, especially to cushion free weights. Even if it’s a pain to lug them upstairs, the advantage is you can keep changing your workout with more resistance and reps. You’ll probably keep a quality set forever, unlike all of that stuff you ordered off 2 a.m. infomercials. Save money with used equipment at Play It Again Sports. They buy, sell, trade, and consign, so if that ThighMaster is to scary to use, exchange it.

For a spy gadget lover like me, Sharper Image is the best place to shop. They offer four great small space solutions: the Stair Climber with Heart-Rate monitor ($200), the Foldaway Elliptical Strider with Heart-Rate Monitor (($190), the Mini Step & Flex 2.0 ($100), and the Portable Mini Cycle 2.0 ($100). All four have LCD screens to track heart rate, time, calories burned and more. The Strider and the Step & Flex both easily fit under the bed and all will fit in a small closet.

Try the fitness channel if you need a little discipline, but the programs tend to be a bit cheese. If you put on Pulp Fiction or Go, the soundtrack’s sure to keep you moving. Just forget the gadgets, close the blinds, and dance if you’d rather. Keep fridge stocked with healthy treats, too. I know it’s hard this time of year, but don’t squander your hard work with Ben & Jerry’s. As always, be safe and conscientious, and have fun.

The most space-saving gear is a pair of Nikes and an mp3 player. So, once the weather’s warm, escape like Jibari for a romp in the sun.

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