In today’s increasingly congested world, space has become a valuable commodity. Major cities that have seen a rise in the cost of living have forced many residents to opt for smaller spaces and businesses are also minimising the spaces they provide their employees. But what does this have to do with exercise?
Well, unless you have the resources to go to a large and fancy gym, you may be stuck having to make due in the space provided by your home or office. This makes it difficult to maintain a regular exercise schedule. More importantly, you might feel limited in the types of activity you can do. But fear not, because where there is a will there is a way. Knowing how to exercise in small spaces like your studio apartment, office, or desk makes it easy to stay in shape.
Small Space Challenges
Small spaces present a number of issues when it comes to exercising. In addition to the limited room for movement, it’s much harder to have access to the type of exercise equipment you’d find at your local gym or park.
Small spaces also have more distractions. If you’re in a small apartment, you may be tempted to sit down at your computer or television. You might decide to lie down for a nap first only to wake up hours later. If you plan to exercise at the office, be aware that you might get interrupted by co-workers. So you’ll need to set a time that you know will work and stick to it.
Small spaces are also limited in the amount of exercise equipment that can be used. Besides the limited space, it may not be appropriate to have a treadmill or large weights in your office depending on your environment.
Exercise Equipment You Can Use in Small Spaces
Limited space doesn’t mean you have to do without. There are some practical tools that enable you to perform a wide range of exercises in your home or office. The following are just a few options you can consider:
- Swiss ball
- Yoga mat
- Resistance bands
- Jump rope
The Swiss ball has become a popular piece of exercise equipment. Originally used in rehabilitation and physical therapy settings, it has become a fixture at many gyms. The Swiss ball can be used for a variety of exercises that target all muscle groups.
Swiss balls are also used by many as a substitute for traditional office chairs. Because they’re less stable, they force you to engage your core muscles when sitting at your desk. This makes it easy to integrate it into your office space. It’s also great for a small apartment, as it won’t take up too much of your limited space.
Yoga mats let you do floor-based exercises. In addition to yoga, you can use these mats for stretching and body weight resistance exercises such as push-ups. They can be rolled up and stored away in seconds.
Resistance bands are lightweight and portable but they allow you to add varying levels of resistance to your exercises. You can use resistance bands for squats, lunges, shoulder presses, back rows, arm curls and extensions, and a host of other common exercises.
A few sets of dumbbells are all you need to exercise in a small space. These can be purchased once you’ve determined what your limitations are with the equipment already mentioned. Dumbbells can give you a broader selection of exercises to do at home or the office.
Most exercises can be performed in a small space. But in order to get a more comprehensive workout, certain exercises should take priority. This is also true if your time is limited (such as when working out at the office).
Exercises that work large muscle groups will provide a greater caloric burn relative to the time spent exercising. Squats, lunges, and push-ups can be done against your own bodyweight or using external resistance (dumbbells, resistance bands, medicine balls, etc.). You can also vary your exercise routine to achieve different results based on your goals. If you’re looking to develop strength, perform exercises slowly and in a "set/station" training manner. For example, do 15 repetitions of squats 3 times before moving on to a different exercise.
If you’re looking for a more cardiovascular workout, you could implement a “circuit” type of training routine. This means you would perform one set of each exercise back to back with little or no rest period.
This keeps your heart rate up and improves cardiovascular endurance. Once you’ve completed all of the exercises in the circuit, you would then rest for 2–3 minutes before repeating the entire circuit.
Exercising in small spaces may not totally replace the work you can do in the gym or outdoors, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get a great workout to stay in shape. Knowing what exercise equipment works for small spaces makes it easy to stay healthy and active no matter where you are.