How to stay active at home | Online workouts, useful kit and top tips

From free Instagram videos to the best at-home fitness equipment
How to stay active at home

For some people, staying fit and healthy without leaving the house is easy, for others, the idea of doing exercise without access to a gym or specialized equipment can seem almost impossible.

When you visit the gym you're there for one reason: to work out. You turn up and everyone is there doing the same thing. You're surrounded by equipment and there are limited distractions to stop you from training. Try and do that at home and suddenly things become significantly more difficult.

As well as the fact that you don't have access to machines that make a training session easier, the biggest problem when exercising at home is that you're surrounded by the rest of your life. There's food in the kitchen, chores to be done, emails popping up on your laptop and much more enjoyable things like Netflix and video games beckoning you over.

But working out at home doesn't have to be difficult. Yes, you'll need to adapt to it and it will inevitably require some mental effort to pull you away from other activities. But once you get into the habit it's a great skill to have and means that you always have it to fall back on if for some reason you can't get to the gym.

Here we run through the best options for staying active at home, whether that's to keep fit, put on muscle or learn a new skill.

Instagram workouts

We're not going to lie, there's an awful lot of Instagram workouts to choose from these days and many of them aren't worth the storage space they've been uploaded to. Some Instagrammers out there know what they're talking about though and offer a great way to train for free with clear and useful advice.

Some of our favourite trainers out there include Andrew Tracey – if you're looking for no-nonsense workout ideas, Joe Wicks – You've probably heard of him, and Laura 'Biceps' Hoggins – for knowledgeable and fun explanations with one of the nicest people in fitness.

Youtube videos

Again, there's a lot of workout videos out there for free, you just need to find the right ones. The key to working out using online videos is to find someone that you like that delivers the workout in a way that you feel comfortable with. For some, that might be a full-on hour-long CrossFit-style WOD that has you dripping sweat across the kitchen floor, for others it may be a more relaxed and fun 15-minute cardio video.

Either way, Youtube will inevitably have an account that fits the bill. On our long list of preferred video workouts is XHIT Daily – for a great range of varied workouts from beginner to more advanced, The Lean Machines – if you like your workouts fun but challenging, Walk at Home – if you're after something low impact to keep you active and Yoga with Adrienne – for a frankly ridiculous amount of great yoga videos.

On-demand workouts

If you want to take you at-home training up a notch from free online videos, the world of on-demand fitness has taken some significant leaps over the past year. You've probably already heard of some of the big names in the home fitness market, with Peloton, Zwift and FIIT topping the list. There are, however, many more popping up all the time.

If you're looking to invest big bucks into your front room fitness set-up – and you're into spin – Peloton offers an incredible home service, although you're looking at $4295 for the basic bike package and a monthly cost of $39 to access the classes.

For our money, one of the best options for home workouts is FIIT, a clever online video system which allows you access to constantly updated workouts from an impressive range of trainers. As well as some of the nicest produced workout videos out there, the range of workout formats covers everything from breathing exercises to yoga, strength and HIIT.

Use of the FIIT monthly service, which is only currently available in the UK and Ireland, will cost you £10 if paid annually (£120), or £20 if you pay for it on a monthly basis. There's also a 14-day free trial as well as access to some videos for non-premium members.

Invest in some kit

You can work out at home without any kit but it's a lot harder to train certain muscles with bodyweight alone. The good news is that you don't need to break the bank to get some equipment that will massively improve your workout experience.

Equipment like resistance bands, skipping ropes and dumbbells can be picked up very cheaply and allow you to add in a variety of new exercises to your home sessions. That not only means you're working muscles that you couldn't train before, but your training becomes less boring. Click here for our guide to the best home gym equipment for all budgets.

Set up a virtual workout

How to stay active at home | Online workouts, useful kit and top tips

One of the major issues with training at home is that you tend to be alone. For some people that can mean a lack of motivation and enjoyment. To make things more social there are a variety of apps out there.

At the top of our list of favourites is House Party, a clever multi-video app that allows lots of people to join in on a social pow wow, whether that's chatting or doing a virtual workout. Log in, set it up in the front room on your phone or computer and invite your friends to join your workout. The best part: It's free. Enjoy.

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