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Health

How your home can be good for your health

Dec 9, 2019 by William Lewis.

Sometimes, the thought of getting off the sofa can be enough to put us off exercise or wellness, but there's no need to cross the doorstep to make positive change, says Emma Guns.

gyms are great but, if you’re anything like me, you might find them a wee bit intimidating. Amy Schumer captured the feeling of inadequacy in her film I Feel Pretty – of hiding in the changing rooms at the spin studios until the very last minute before a class and not making eye contact with anyone while you’re there. Gyms can be brutal and, as much as I’d like to be the kind of person who feels supremely comfortable, the truth is I’m not. True story: I used to work out every day in the same gym, at the same time, and, after two years, one of my colleagues told me he’d seen me there every single morning. I just kept my head down so much I’d never even noticed him... Do you know where I do feel great, though? At home, in my living room – a space I've created, curated and already feel relaxed in. I love running and I’ll head out at least five times a week to get some good, clean fresh air into my lungs, but high-intensity workouts, cooldowns, yoga – they all happen in the comfort of my living room, in front of my TV. As long as you have enough room to reach up, lunge to the front, back and to the sides, you can do pretty much anything at home. And before you say that calories burned in the gym are different to those burned at home, they’re not. Or that the gains you make at home will be slower or less than those that can be made in a sweaty gym with hardcore music playing. It’s empowering to know that all you need is a bit of space, time and, well, you, to achieve your fitness goals Have you seen the video of Arthur the former paratrooper, who could barely walk unaided because years of parachute jumps had damaged his knees? Following DDP Yoga in his front room, without a stitch of yoga gear, gave him his mobility, strength and life back. It’s way more impressive than someone in top-to-toe designer kit doing a shoulder stand. The Rock might have his own Iron Paradise (a fully equipped gym that follows him around the world), but head over to Instagram and search #bodytransformations, and it’s incredible how many rock-hard abs have been carved from home workouts by people who use the home as a fitness space, not just a place to chill out. The trick is, just because there’s a soft furnishing there, you don’t have to sit on it — there’s plenty of time for that... I’ll often put on a Davina DVD and get a 45-minute workout in or give myself a quick hit of fitness with a Jillian Michaels workout. Neither of those is easy, but, boy, do I feel good afterwards. It’s empowering to know that all you need is a bit of space in your living room, time and, well, you, to achieve your fitness goals. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that if I had a trainer or a nutritionist on staff that life would be better, but there’s something incredibly powerful in knowing that you alone can gain enough knowledge to keep yourself on track and pointed towards your own goals, don’t you think? Perhaps the best thing I’ve brought into my home is a yoga mat and Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. When my stress levels skyrocket the second I wake up because I’ve taken on too much, or I’m restless and can’t sleep, I can find the perfect video to bring me back from the brink. Or, if I’m feeling tight and sore after a run, I can gently stretch out in one of her post-running videos. It puts me firmly in control and, while I don’t rule out the occasional soft-tissue treatment or group session, I love that I don’t need those things in order to tick off my fitness goals each week.

TIPS FOR AT-HOME FITNESS AND WELLNESS

Buy a yoga mat. The floor might feel comfortable and a towel may do the job, but unfurling a yoga mat sets an intention and makes that strip of space feel like your own yoga studio. Get an aromatherapy diffuser. Find an invigorating or stimulating oil blend and pump it through your home to gee you up on days when you might not be feeling it. A foam roller for five minutes every day is no bad thing. My glutes and hamstrings have a love-hate relationship with mine, but it’s like a DIY massage that really loosens muscles after a workout.