As most you already know I am a medical doctor practicing family medicine but what you probably don't know is that I have special interests in lifestyle. Well, how could I not? I see patients everyday with diabetes or hypertension or both and aside my diet counselling, I also give some counsel on exercise because a lot of them need to loose some weight. Let's face it, in Africa, we eat without counting calories and 90% of us live sedentary lifestyles. We want to park our cars at the door of our offices or malls. No one wants to walk even for a little bit. Armed with the information that they need to exercise, many of my patients set out to look for a gym to register with? My question now is "how many people actually have the time to visit these gyms regularly after registration in the midst of our crazy schedules? And my answer was "why not have a home gym?" to either supplement your professional gym where you have a trainer so you don't miss a day of workout or to avoid going to an outside gym altogether to work into your schedule conveniently, a time to exercise.
Yes I know, how can my home gym be designed? Well let's see, first you have to choose your location. Gym are usually great in the basement or garage where you have solid ground because some of the equipment needed for a gym are quite heavy. If you are into lighter exercises like yoga and aerobics you can use the attic. If you do not have any of these or they are already been put into something useful, then you can pick any other space in the house as long as it doesn't interfere with the normal ambiance of the environment. Some people may do one form of sport for exercise e.g. boxing, basketball e.t.c. well if you have the space you can install such items as a basketball ring on one side of the gym.
Secondly, determine the kind of exercise you want to carry out. Are you into yoga and aerobics or do you prefer the full cardio? Determining your type of exercise gives you an idea the kind of equipment you want to go shopping for. It's of no use buying a treadmill if you'll never use it. It's a waste of money.
Thirdly, because most houses are not built with gyms in it, creating one may require some renovations on your part. You may need to create more windows or build in a harder floor, so know your budget. How much money do you want to put into designing a home gym.
Now in designing your gym, you have to create a space that gets you in the mood to exercise, a place you feel comfortable in and can spend a lot of time exercising. Gyms usually are bright with either lots of windows on one wall or lots of mirrors. You have to create a feature wall. Deciding whether you want a wall of windows or mirrors may have already been done for you by the original builders but if not, then go for the windows if you have a great view and mirrors if you don't. Next move in your equipment. Ensure that the floors are not the slippery type. Whether it is a big "state of the art" home gym or a small one, you need an audiovisual system to play your music while you workout (helps to make you relax) or to watch your workout video and move along with them. Another very important factor is ventilation. The gym needs to be properly ventilated to avoid you get overheated and easily tiring out before you have had the chance to put in a proper workout.
I can not end this post without a dose of what to accessorize with. Apart from the mirrors and television, you can put in a few furniture; a couch with arm chairs and a coffee table to entertain your friends incase they come when it's time for your workout session. An artwork or two, don't forget your clock not all gym equipment come with a timer. Towels are very important too. A mini refrigerator for cool drinks when the need arises.
Lighting can not be left out and there are funky ways to incorporate your lighting, they can be embedded in the mirrors just the way televisions can be. You may decide to use a chandelier too, whatever you choose, the space has to come out bright. For the windows, you may use light drapes or blinds, something that doesn't block out the natural light.
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