Most people have a desire to be physically fit, as keeping active grants you a longer and happier life with fewer health issues. But between work, family and other responsibilities, getting to the gym can sometimes feel a step too far. It leaves many of us asking ourselves: do I need to leave home to get fit?
Home workouts have exploded in popularity in recent decades, spurred on by easy access to instructors via the internet, and more recently the home lockdowns of the pandemic.
But do home workouts work? What do the best look like? And what equipment should you invest in to meet your fitness goals? Read on to find out.
Do workouts at home really work?
First things first: do home workouts really work? In short, yes they do, though whether they work for you will depend on your commitment to the cause.
If you commit to a carefully structured home workout plan, one that is built around your fitness goals and gets you exercising consistently, you can enjoy incredible results without ever needing to step foot in a gym again. Issues only arise when commitment starts to wane.
Many people choose to do home workouts because they no longer have the time and/or energy to get to the gym often enough. The issue with that is the same attitude can soon bleed into your home workouts – you simply feel too busy or tired to do them.
If you don’t exercise regularly, or if your workout isn’t adapted to your goals, you may not see the results you were hoping for, which can further discourage you from fully committing.
One thing that can help with your commitment to home fitness is choosing a workout that you truly enjoy – something that you look forward to, that you genuinely see as fun. This is where a fitness system like an Endless Pools swim spa can be more than worth the investment.
How long should a home workout last?
The ideal length of your home workout will depend on what you hope to achieve from it.
If you’re trying to build muscle, 45-60 minutes of strength training per session is about right. Your muscles need time to heal after this type of training, so it’s wise to keep these sessions to 2-3 times per week, and focus on different muscle groups on different days.
Cardio training can be undertaken in shorter, more regular bursts: 30-60 minute sessions 3-6 times per week (it’s wise to have at least one rest day per week). The same goes for callisthenics and yoga.
That said, if you don’t have time to do the amount of exercise listed above, 15 minutes is far better than none. Do as much as you reasonably can, as you’ll feel all the better for it.
Swimming and other aquacise are particularly good forms of home fitness as they are the ideal combination of low impact and high intensity. By taking weight off muscles, bones and joints, exercise becomes more comfortable, and your workout can last longer.
How long does it take to get in shape?
Exercise can be particularly difficult at the beginning, when you’re still building your fitness base, and it’s natural to want to see the fruits of your labour sooner rather than later. So how long until you notice the difference?
Unfortunately, we might as well be asking ‘how long is a piece of string?’, because there are so many factors at play:
- What is your body type?
- How does it react to exercise?
- What are your fitness goals?
- What is your workout regime?
- How healthy is your diet?
The answer to each of these questions will influence how long it takes your home workout routine to deliver results.
‘In shape’ can also mean different things to different people. To some it’s a feeling, to some it’s a look, and most often it’s a combination of both.
All that being said, we can work on an average across the board… provided it isn’t treated as gospel. According to Healthline, the average person will ‘notice some changes’ after 6-8 weeks of consistent exercise, and ‘can do a pretty good overhaul to their health and fitness’ over 3-4 months.
Should you exercise every day?
Regular physical activity is critical to leading a long, healthy and happy life. But what does ‘regular’ mean? Do you need to exercise every day?
The answer to that question will depend on what your definition of exercise is. It’s good to be physically active every day, but that can be as simple as logging the 6000 steps that your smartwatch keeps reminding you about. If you’re talking about a full-length workout, then seven days a week may be too much for a lot of people, as your body may need time to rest and recuperate in between these sessions.
The ideal exercise schedule will vary from person to person. Some people are more than capable of daily, high-level exercise (being sure to cut back at times of illness or injury). Others will be best to aim for the figures mentioned above – 2-6 times per week, depending on the exercise undertaken.
Others still, particularly the elderly and those with limited mobility, will need to listen closely to their body to ensure that their exercise schedule is appropriate. For this last group, lower impact activities, such as hydrotherapy and aquacise, can be fantastic options.
Can you lose weight with a home workout?
The short answer: you can definitely lose weight with a home workout. The slightly longer answer: you can lose weight with a home exercise program if you plan it well, stick to that plan, and combine it with the right diet.
As mentioned above, how your body reacts to diet and exercise will be different to how someone else’s body reacts to exercise. It’s wise to gain the guidance of a health or fitness professional to understand the sort of home workout that will be most effective for you.
Sustainable weight loss is often another kettle of fish. Exercising hard for a month or two is simple when compared to exercising regularly for the rest of your life. This is where a fitness tool like an Endless Pools swim spa can prove invaluable: by offering comfort and variety, a swim spa makes exercise fun and interesting, to keep you coming back for more.
Can you build muscle without weights?
The image most associated with muscle gain is the bodybuilder hauling the huge weights above his or her head. And there’s no doubt that lifting heavy things – in combination with the right diet – is a great way to build muscle. But it’s far from the only way.
Muscle growth is predicated on three factors:
- Mechanical tension: The tension at which muscles are held while they expand and contract.
- Microtears: The microscopic damage to muscle tissue that leads to repair, which in turn leads to muscle growth.
- Metabolic stress: Intense aerobic workouts have been shown to stimulate muscle growth.
Weightlifting ticks these three boxes. But so do a wealth of other exercises. Think bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups, chin-ups and planks. Think resistance training, where elasticised bands simulate the effects of weights, and can even be utilised in water, where bodyweight isn’t even a factor.
Is it OK to work out at night?
Between work, kids and other responsibilities, many Kiwis have to wait until well into the evening before enjoying a bit of ‘me’ time, which may form the first real opportunity to get active. But is night time a good, or even OK, time to work out?
The short answer is that the jury is still out. Traditionally many experts have argued that exercising before bed can be bad for sleep hygiene, although a 2018 meta study found that evening exercise didn’t have an adverse effect on sleep, and actually seemed to get people falling asleep faster and sleeping deeper, but only if vigorous exercise was completed an hour or more before bedtime.
Given the above, perhaps the best night workout is that delivered by an Endless Pools swim spa. Not only do you get to enjoy exercise that is the perfect combination of low impact and high intensity, and that can be enjoyed in perfect temperature water all year round, our swim spas also feature what could be described as built-in sleep enhancers.
As we start to get tired in the evening, our body temperature starts to drop, leading to reduced brain activity and a release of melatonin that helps us to fall asleep faster. By soaking in the spa pool side of your Endless Pool after your workout, an hour or two before bed, you elevate your body temperature, which leads to a greater decline towards bedtime, and helps you to fall asleep faster and deeper.
What is the best home workout?
Given the need to be consistent with your exercise, the best home workout is one that gets you excited. This is where so many home fitness routines fall down: you’re expected to be eager to pop on a 30-minute YouTube video from the same series that you’ve been watching for months, working as hard the fiftieth time as you did the first.
There have been attempts by many companies to gamify the home workout experience, pitting you against friends and strangers through smartwatches and Peloton bikes. But the fun and competitive edge of these solutions can also wear off.
Imagine a home workout that delivers a truly unique fitness experience, that offers a diverse range of low impact and high intensity workouts, and that offers a place to not just exercise, but to rest and recover, and even socialise and party.
If that sounds like the best kind of home workout to you, then an Endless Pools swim spa might be the answer to your fitness prayers.
Endless Pools swim spas: the ultimate home workout
Measuring just a few metres long, an Endless Pools swim spa can fit comfortably in most Kiwi backyards. But thanks to a powerful propulsion system, it delivers a swim that is 100% tumble-turn free, and that offers a wealth of other home workouts too.
- Swimming: The deep, wide and turbulence-free current feels like swimming in open water. You can set your machine from a doggy paddle to an almost Olympic 1:14/100m. A swim tether, underwater mirror and pace display can add to the experience.
- Jogging: The Underwater Treadmill allows you to walk, jog and run in low-impact comfort, while offering a high-intensity cardio workout.
- Cycling: The Endless Pools Aquabike is a truly unique piece of equipment, bringing the fun and fitness of cycling to the water.
- Rowing: Work your body from top to toe with the Water Rower, which attaches to either side of the pool and allows you to train at whatever intensity you like.
- Resistance training: Focus in on any and every muscle group with our range of resistance bands.
Add in the entertainment systems, the temperature-controlled water and the healing powers of the built-in hydromassage seating, and there’s no home workout, or even lifestyle enhancement, quite like an Endless Pool. If you’re looking to get fit, a swim spa is a perfect – and perfectly fun – way to do it!