Q: I work at home, and miss the easy access I had to a gym at our old condo building. What should I be thinking about for a nice workout room in our new house? My husband and I both want to get our exercise program back on track, and the garage just isn’t cutting it.
A: Any home big or small can have a place for working out, from simply rolling out a yoga mat in your living room to a dedicated room with an Olympic-worthy weight set and machines. As with any change to your house, what are your intentions of using this space? What is your dream workout program, and what will help you accomplish that? How do you want to feel when you are in that space? Relaxed or energized? Will one person work out at a time or do you exercise as a couple or family? Write down a list of your desired features and equipment, and collect pictures to use as a guide.
For the most part, features for a workout room include features that would make any room a nice place to be. Ventilation, heating and cooling, good lighting, storage space, and enough floor space to stretch out are important aspects. Access to a TV and the internet is important, because there are so many resources online for working out. And a large mirror will help you check your form.
Can you streamline other functions of your house to make room for exercise? The furthest room in your house might be perfect to isolate noise or vibrations from music and machines. But if you have to move stacks of boxes to get down the hall, you might not be very motivated! If that is the case or if you don’t mind the action being central to your house, perhaps that unused dining or living room or bonus room, den or office space would work better. Or even a large bathroom or corner in your laundry area. It’s amazing how much less home office space most of us need these days, thanks to laptop computers and everything going digital.
Your exercise area can go anyplace in your home except your bedroom! That’s the only room in your house that should not multitask. Keep your bedroom for sleeping, dressing, and relaxing only. If you need that space for more tasks, consider switching to a smaller bedroom instead and using the bigger room for work.