Gym memberships are expensive and often you’ll find yourself opting to sit on the sofa rather than hitting the treadmill. According to recent statistics, 36 per cent of us have gym memberships we never or rarely use.
In an ideal world, we’d have cross trainers and step machines in our living rooms, but those are pricey too. Luckily there are lots of cheaper, effective options for doing your workout at home.
With the help of health and fitness expert Charlotte Ord (empowerproject.co.uk), we’ve found the best equipment to help you tone up, build strength and burn fat in the comfort of your own home. The aids range from the fun, like ResultSport’s weighted Hula Hoop and Tanita’s Calorie Jump skipping rope, to the serious bits of kit like PowerBlock Sport dumbbells.
Click on the gallery to see the IndyBest buys
The 10 best home fitness aids
The 10 best home fitness aids
1/10 Z-trainer, £89.99
“The Z-Trainer’s like having your own, very effective portable gym,” says Charlotte. You attach the straps to something sturdy; a beam, a tree in the garden or your bedroom door, and use them for a full-body workout. It comes in a handy carry bag with exercise tips, so is fairly idiot-proof. Take note, the door attachment is sold separately.
2/10 York Kettlebell set, £19.99
“Kettlebells are great for strength training and cardiovascular in one,” says Charlotte. “Because they’re weighted they help boost metabolism, too.” This set (2, 3 and 4kgs) is excellent value, with handles that are easy to grip.
3/10 Reebok gym ball, £14.99
Exercise balls might take up a bit of space but they’re a good one for a low-impact workout. Use for sit-ups, back exercises and improving posture and balance. This ball from Reebok is a hardwearing example and the bright colour’s cheery, too, if you do have to keep it in the corner of the room.
4/10 John Lewis hand weights, £3-£13 (0.5kg-4kg)
Whether you’re doing squats, star star-jumps or lunges, using hand weights will add resistance — and increase fat burn. These from John Lewis are pleasingly easy to hold and ideal for smaller hands. It’s a shame you can’t buy them in pairs, though.
5/10 PowerBlock Sport 9.0 Stage I, £349.99
PowerBlock, a US import, are Charlotte’s dumbbells of choice. This compact, adjustable set is for someone serious about their strength training. You can set them from 2kg to 22.5kgs in each hand. They’re not cheap, but this set is equivalent to 16 pairs of dumbbells.
6/10 V-fit 36in Trampoline Jogger, £24.89
This good-value trampoline is great for getting the heart rate up if you’re holed up at home. It won’t take up too much space and little ones will enjoy having a bounce when you’re not.
7/10 ResultSport Level 1 Weighted Hula Hoop, £17.99
Hula hooping’s ideal for toning and firming tummies and bums. This large, weighted hoop is padded so there’s no danger of bruising. The 1.2kg weight is heavier than some on the market but it means you really notice the difference once you’ve mastered the technique. It collapses into six sections for storage.
8/10 Tanita CJ-688 Calorie Jump, £9.18
According to the British Rope Skipping Association, 10 minutes of skipping can be as effective as a 45-minute run. This nifty adjustable rope – it goes to 2.9m — has an integrated calorie and jump counter to keep tabs on your progress.
9/10 Fitness Mad Resistance Bands, £16.99
“You can use these bands for toning up every part of the body,” says Charlotte. This handy kit has three strengths of band which can be combined. It also comes with a guide to exercises.
10/10 Pro Fitness Exercise Foam Roller, £9.99
Using a foam roller post-workout massages your muscles, leaving you less likely to suffer from aches and pains. This one’s half the price of many out there, but does its job very well and comes with an exercise sheet to get you started on technique. Great for runners, too.
It’s hard to beat the Z-trainer for the range of exercises it allows. The York Kettlebell set is great value compared to others on the market and John Lewis’s hand weights will make an effective – but inexpensive - addition to your workout.