More than two-thirds of Americans with a gym membership (67 percent) never use them, according to Club Industry, a fitness industry source. With the average cost of a gym membership at a whopping $55 per month, that's a lot of money going down the drain.
Exercising at home is much more affordable than paying for a gym membership, but finding the space in a small rental can be difficult. Fortunately, you don't need a state-of-the-art home gym to get active. Here's how you can workout at home – even in the smallest of apartments:
Choose a multifunctional space. You may not have room for a permanent home gym in your small apartment, but you probably have an area that can be transformed with relative ease. Pick a space in your apartment where the furniture is light and easy to move. For example, a lightweight coffee table and chair set can be lifted and moved to the perimeter of the room during your exercise time, but you don't want to have to move your sofa every time you exercise. Moving large or heavy items everyday will begin to feel tedious, and you're less likely to do your workout. When you're not working out in your multifunctional space, you can easily store equipment like weights in an ottoman.
Buy the right equipment. Large pieces of equipment like a treadmill or a cable machine are great for home gyms, but they take up far too much space in a small apartment. Instead, purchase a few small pieces such as a yoga mat, resistance bands, hand weights and a stability ball. These pieces offer a lot of exercise options at a very low cost. If you tend to get bored during your workouts, try a unique workout piece like a Bodyblade, which improves muscle tone and core strength in short amount of time. Plus, it can easily be stored in a corner, under the bed or behind the couch.
While there are many small space-friendly pieces of strength training equipment on the market, cardio equipment can be a bit more challenging. You should probably avoid jumping rope in your apartment, unless you don't mind risking the safety of your porcelain tea pot collection or your relationship with your downstairs neighbor. If you have a spare corner, a small stationary bike is a perfect solution. However, if you don't have the space or a stationary bike is out of your price range, try something as simple as a hula hoop. This childhood favorite will get your heart rate up and tone your midsection. As you progress, you can upgrade to a weighted hula hoop for a more challenging workout.
If you're really on a tight budget and can't afford to invest in any new fitness equipment, get creative and use what you already have in your apartment. Try using one of your dining table chairs to do triceps dips, or do bicep curls with laundry detergent bottles.
Take advantage of free workouts. You have the space and equipment, but where do you start? You can easily find free workouts on websites like YouTube and Pinterest, but if you're looking for more guidance, join a free fitness website like TheDailyHiit or FitnessBlender. In addition to exercises and full-length workouts, you'll find fitness programs and healthy recipes, as well as a community of people to help you stay motivated. Other free workout sites include doyogawithme.com and exercise.com.
Get an online personal trainer. If you're having trouble working out on your own, consider hiring an online personal trainer. Sites like FitOrbit offer virtual personal training for as little as $50 per month, which is much more affordable than in-person personal training at your local gym.
Niccole Schreck is the rental experience expert for rent.com, a free rental site that helps you find an affordable apartment and provides tips on how to move.