In February 2020 Italy went into a strict lockdown. All shops and businesses were closed, and even local transit was suspended. The only place you could go to was to a supermarket or a pharmacy.
It has been a year now and during this lockdown gyms have been closed. Unless you are going to a specialized center for physiotherapy or training for a national, competitive tournament all gyms and sport centers are closed.
There was a short pause during the summer months when restrictions were lifted, and some sport centers, pools and tennis clubs opened.
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This article is not meant to be fitness advice. Consult a doctor or professional trainer before starting a new exercise routine. This post features products I have purchased on Amazon.com.
I can’t say that I am a fitness freak, but I like to stay in shape. I like wearing fitted clothing, I love my jeggings! but that’s not the only reason I work out. I am over 50 and have osteopenia (the precursor to osteoporosis) and body weight and weigh lifting exercises have been proven to be effective in preventing a decline in bone mass.
I live outside Milan on Lake Como and there are plenty of beautiful places to go walking and hiking, but in the winter months it is cold and windy. I decided to get some gym equipment and set up a home gym.
Home gym equipment
Setting up a home gym was not difficult. I am fortunate, I have the space. I have a hobby room where I make jewelry. If you don’t have an extra room, clearing out some space in the garage or asking your kids to share the playroom can be a good solution.
As far as beginner equipment, I started with some large stones I had found by the river which I use like a medicine ball. For weights, I used large water bottles filled with water. Water bottles can also be filled with pebbles for heavier weight.
I already had some miscellaneous equipment like a jump rope, a balance board, a resistance band and a yoga mat but I wanted a few more pieces of equipment that would vary my routine and work all muscles and joints.
This is how I made a home gym for under 240 euro
In total I spent about 234 euro:
- €33.88 – Fitness Ball
- €30.33 – Step
- €16.50 – Weighted gloves
- €28.22 – Ankle weights
- €125.00 – Weight bar
€233.93 – TOTAL ($280.56 USD)
I am quite tall, so I got the extra-large 75cm fitness ball. Sometimes called a Yoga ball, or Pilates ball, it’s great for doing core strengthening exercises. It comes with a poster illustrating exercises for upper body, core and leg strengthening. It also comes with a stability base and detachable elastic bands that can be used for additional strengthening exercises or on their own for a resistance workout. Euro 33.88
One of my favorite classes at the gym was step. I wasn’t sure I would remember the moves but once you turn on the music and start stepping up and down it comes back. I make it up as I go along; up and down, side to side, knee lifts and the best of all- burpees! There are two or three songs on my playlist that are dedicated to burpees. Like Tsunami by Dvbbs & Borgeous – when that song comes on it’s burpees nonstop! Euro 30.33
I saw that the ladies on some fitness videos were wearing padded and weighted gloves while doing aerobics. Weighted gloves provide light resistance and help tone flabby arms; every girl’s nightmare! Euro 16.50
I started out with the lightest ones (250 grams/about half pound each) then worked my way up to heavier weight (500 grams/ about one pound each).
I was a bit undecided about getting ankle weights. I had tried them at the gym and had a sore back for a week. It was because I used a weight that was too heavy for my fitness level. I decided on adjustable ankle weights. These have little sandbag pockets that you can add or remove to adjust the weight. Euro 28.22
The bar was the most expensive item. I ordered it from a specialist shop, as I was not able to find a weight bar on Amazon, they were all sold out. I only got the bar, not the weights. I’m not that advanced yet! The bar itself weighs 9 kilos (almost 20 pounds). I’m not looking to bulk up, just tone. I do many repetitions at a constant rhythm. One day, when it becomes too easy, I’ll add more weight, but for now I feel the burn after my workout. Euro 125.00
Going back to the gym after lockdown
I don’t know if I will go back to a traditional gym when they open after lockdown. Although the gym I used to go to was literally 3 minutes from my home, the convenience and privacy I have at home are invaluable.
In a gym, the feeling of being observed is inevitable. In my home gym, nobody is watching me, judging me or listening to me. When I feel good, I let out a big “WHOOP!” when I am trying to push myself, I grunt to do that last push up.
I do miss the social aspect of going to the gym. The gym was a common meeting place for seeing friends and meeting new ones. I also looked forward to the morning Pilates course and the fun-loving group of ladies in the class.
Following the gym course schedule guaranteed that I would go to the gym 2-3 times a week and it gave my daily and weekly routine more structure. On one hand, the home gym schedule forces me to be more self disciplined, but distractions often get in the way.
Who knows, maybe when the lockdown measures are lifted, I will once again change my exercise routine. The import thing is to keep moving, eat well and stay healthy.