I Exercised at Home for 25 Years and So Can You!

Since 1986, I have exercised in the morning with astounding (to me) regularity.  I started when I went back to work after staying home with the kids for a decade and kept it up through 23 years in a career and now through almost 2 years in retirement.  You can do it too, it’s not hard and takes less time than going to the gym.

Wake Up Your Body

Research indicates that people who work out first thing in the morning are more apt to stick to it.  You don’t have time to talk yourself out of exercise.  Other things haven’t popped up to steal your time away.  If you work out at home, there is very little prep work – just jump into your sweats and start.  Working out in the morning wakes up your body and gets the blood flowing to your brain, making you more alert for your work day.

I actually started working out in the morning by accident.  My husband and I staggered our work days so that we could be home more with the kids in the morning and afternoon.  I got the morning shift.  Since I wanted to be home with them and they were old enough to get themselves ready for school, I started exercising to a record (gosh, remember those?) while they were eating breakfast.

Make It Routine

Because I started losing weight after beginning a morning exercise routine, I decided to continue.  To do that, I simply made it part of my routine.  Wake up, fix breakfast, have coffee, exercise, shower, dress for the day.

Routines may be boring, but the right ones can really help you get things done.   This one has worked for me for years.

My routine was to exercise Monday through Friday in the morning for a half hour to 45 minutes – using exercise records, videos or DVDs.  On the weekends, I did not do exercise routines in front of the TV, but I did exercise – by walking, biking, doing housework and yard work.  You would be amazed what an hour of pushing the lawnmower around the yard can do to knock off the pounds!

Do Different Things

Don’t do the very same exercise routine each day.  You will get bored, your body will get too used to it and you won’t be exercising all parts of your body.

I rotate through the various routines I have.  Some days I do step, some days I do aerobics, some days I do hip toning and etc.

Do Something, No Matter How Little

If I overslept, I typically did NOT  skip the exercise – I shortened the time I spent exercising.  This  accomplished several things:  a) it kept me in my routine b) it gave  me a bit of exercise c) I knew that if I got nothing else done that day, I had at least done this and d) it helped me keep my mental superiority about  exercising.

If I didn’t feel good, my rule was, if you are going to work, you are going to exercise.  So even if I had a cold, but didn’t feel bad enough to stay home from work, I did some kind of small exercise.

Feel Superior – Stay Motivated

When I didn’t feel like exercising, I  would give myself a pep talk by thinking about all the people at work  that didn’t exercise in the morning (or apparently at all) –  telling myself how much better I was than them because I did  exercise.  When you do a good thing consistently, you are doing better than most people – you should feel superior (but of course, not act that way towards others).

Be Selfish – Make It ‘ME’ Time

Once you have a morning routine  established, make it a permanent part of your day by making it your own special time. The time in which you take care of you.  You have  to take care of you before you can take care of others.  You deserve at least a half hour of time each day to do what YOU want to do, to do something to help YOU.

Use Electronics

Unlike Miss T and her Sweat at Home, Skip the Gym posts, I’m not too imaginative about making up the right exercises to do.  As I mentioned above, my way around that was to use exercise tapes and DVD –  played through the TV.  You could also use web routines and who knows, maybe soon we will have community web workouts where you can join in from home!

My Equipment

I have spent very little on the small  amount of equipment I do have.

  • TV – but this is also our main form  of entertainment so I can’t really count the cost of it!
  • VCR/DVD player – again, also used for  entertainment
  • Tapes and DVDs – from as little as  zero to as much as $20 for each one.  My total expenditure is  probably around $50 for all 25 years.  I have used Jane Fonda’s Challenge, several of the ‘of steel’ (buns of steel, abs of steel and etc), four or five of Kathy Smith’s routines, Richard Simmons, Slim n 6, pilates, Yoga and many other sources of tape and DVD routines.
  • Step platform with 2 steps – purchased at a garage sale for $2
  • 3 sets of hand weights – a velcro  strap on set of 1 pounders; a set of 8 pounders and a set of 10  pounders – purchased new about 20 years ago – sorry I don’t remember what I spent
  • Chest strap style heart rate monitor – I bought this when I was jogging and spent about $60 on it!  I have
    since passed it along to one of my sons as I no longer jog (hurts the  old knees).
  • Exercise bike – a birthday gift from hubby about 20 years ago.  Don’t buy one!  I used it regularly for about 5 years.  You will never get your money back or your money’s worth in my humble opinion.
  • Sticky mat for yoga – purchased new about 10 years ago for around $15.  I really can’t do yoga on my carpets without sliding out of control!  Well worth the money.
  • Exercise shorts and bras – purchased when I started working out at the gym.  I no longer really need these, but do continue to use them since I have them.

Exercise Other Times as Well

When I was 50, I took up jogging.  On Sunday afternoons my treat was to go to the park with the 3 mile path by the river and jog.  One Thanksgiving I noticed they were having a Turkey Trot so I joined up to do that the next year – it was a 5K so that motivated me to ‘train’ even more.

For several years I worked out at lunch in addition to working out in the morning.  I joined the YMCA downtown, close to my job and used their equipment and joined some of the classes.    The leader of the company’s corporate challenge event
saw me jogging on the treadmill one of those winters and recruited me to participate in the age-handicapped running events.  What great fun to be called ‘an athlete’ (I was not by any measure an athlete!).

My first job was close to an ice skating rink, so when I worked there, I skated at lunch.  It was a blast.

One year, I went for a 20 mile bike ride each evening in spring, summer and fall.  That was the year I lost a lot of weight.  I would fix dinner for the family and then take off for a ride while they ate – not the best for family time, but it helped me burn calories and kept me from eating a big supper.

Now that I am retired, I walk on our property’s private paths – trying for 3 miles each day.  That gets a little rough in the winter when there are twelve inches of snow on the ground, but proper dress and warm up breaks make it doable – and it is such a treat to get outside in the dead of winter!

You can make exercise an integral part of your day too.  You know the health benefits – so just get started and make it part of your routine, you won’t be sorry.


I Exercised at Home for 25 Years and So Can You! — 22 Comments

  1. I have trouble motivating myself to exercise at home by myself, so I go to a friends house to exercise instead! It is really cost efficient if you buy equipment to share and there is the added benefit of others holding you accountable.

  2. I admire your work ethic! I have always wanted to be a morning exerciser, but I just never feel like I have enough sleep. I usually exercise mid-afternoon but would love to transition to first thing in the morning. I am going to try some of your tips and see if I can pull it off!!

  3. Great post!! I have slowly made my way to a morning exerciser (although I don’t do it at home b/c I don’t really have the room) and I’ve found I feel so much better when I get it done for the day! Like you, I have very little time to talk myself out of it and lately, I won’t even let the thought of skipping enter my mind!

  4. I love working out at home as well. It is extremely convenient, and I prefer it to the gym. I haven’t been doing it for nearly as long as you have though, but I applaud your dedication. It does have several benefits beyond fitness, including the “me time” aspect you mentioned.

  5. You have strong self-discipline to work at home so successfully. I don’t pay for exercise, but I do like to get out of the house to walk, run, and ride. In-home workouts are reserved uxclusively for the times when my wife is deployed and I am unable to leave the kids.

  6. I have had a home gym for 15 years. Even if I do not use it, I stretch and do pushups. I always bicycle outdoors during good weather. Staying healthy starts with just moving alot.

    • I agree. My spouse never ‘works out’ but he is physically active for 8 -10 hours a day – cutting grass, chainsawing trees, cutting up brush and the like – very strenuous work. We just have different exercise styles. His works for him, mine works for me.

  7. Routine is key. You have to make exercise a habit just like bathing/brushing your teeth.

    Do you have any other motivational techniques? I find that if I’m exercising with a friend it is easier and I can’t talk myself out of the work

  8. Thank you for the motivation and encouragement. I have not exercised regularly for several years, but I need to. We are moving to a bigger apartment where there will be no one under us, so I can start using my VCR and exercise videos again. Thanks for the inspiration!

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