Home gym rooms are one of the most popular special-purpose spaces in today’s homes, especially as more and more people work from home or find that their work-home life doesn’t allow for a lot of time to go to a gym. Many people are converting basements, extra bedrooms and garages into a place to work out. Having a room set up as a fitness facility can make your home attractive to those people who may be thinking of saving money by exercising at home.
A basement makes a great spot for a home gym, since it is below the living areas and the noise of plates clinking and cardio machines churning isn’t as likely to disturb other residents of the home. It also provides a solid floor for heavy machines and equipment. Lastly, a home gym in the basement can spur improvements that turn the basement into a useful room for other purposes than fitness.
Your basement should be of enough size and height clearance to allow for your activities. Jumping rope can mean that a low ceiling can interfere with your workout. A too-small room can leave you feeling cramped and claustrophobic. In cases like these, consider whether you can open up the room more or if another structure or an addition to the home would be preferable.
Before you start renovations, map out where your equipment will go and any additions, for instance a chin-up bar, towel rack or shelving, stereo/TV, etc. Make sure you measure all equipment you propose moving into this space so that you don’t get unpleasantly surprised when your new $3000 treadmill doesn’t fit into the space it was supposed to go into. Consulting with a professional contractor can help you maximize your basement’s potential.
Look for electrical outlets. If any of your equipment requires electricity to run, are they or will they be convenient to it? Can you install outlets if there are none convenient? What about a TV or stereo system that makes exercising easier? If you want to watch TV or DVDs while you do cardio, make sure that you can put them where you can easily watch the screen.
In order to maximize the usefulness and appeal of a home gym setup in the basement, you may have to do some renovations. The basement needs flooring that can withstand the stresses that weights and physical activity can place upon it. While you should have some kind of foam or rubber cover that will protect the floor from scratches and dents, your floor still will be taking on the weight of your equipment. This should also be easy to clean, so you can keep your workout area free of dirt and bad smells.
Paint your walls a bright color if the windows do not let in a lot of light. A pale yellow or white can help. Installing ample lighting is not just for the sake of visibility; it can also help your workout. Soft lighting can be easier on the eyes, especially in a room with little or no natural light. Some people find that installing a dimmer switch can make their workout space more flexible if they do a lot of yoga or meditation.
In order for a home gym to be truly effective, adequate ventilation must be in place. If there are no windows in the basement or the windows aren’t big enough to provide enough air circulation, a fan or two should be installed to provide this. Don’t skimp on this, as good air circulation plays a big part in keeping the air fresh, preventing mold and rot, and helping you avoid the room smelling of sweat. Keep in mind that a cooler room is better, since you will (hopefully!) be working up a sweat through exercise.
A large mirror or a wall of mirror panels is another key part of the home gym and can contribute both to proper exercise form and the perceived size of the room. Other accessories shelving for small pieces of equipment and towels, an area covered with matting or foam for calisthenics, stretching and/or yoga and meditation, and a small refrigerator for water, energy drinks and snacks.
More and more homeowners are looking at personal exercise machines, free weights and other home exercise solutions. Basements are often underutilized spaces and a home gym makeover can mean that the basement gains some usefulness as an extra room in its own right. As a homeowner, if you are a fitness buff and are thinking of expanding your exercise opportunities, creating a space for a home gym can be beneficial to both your health and your home’s value.