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Make room for family fitness

Work it out: the key to a good home fitness area is comfort and convenience.

Creating a family fitness room makes it easier than ever to stick to your workout -and it’s a great place for the kids to chill out, too.

Obviously choose the biggest space you can for the fitness area, but don’t forget to create an atmosphere of warmth. That way it will be an inviting space for the whole family.

Experiment with different types of lighting and use cherry or walnut trim for added luxury. Durable, self-adhesive carpet squares help cushion floor exercises. Blinds offer privacy while one person is working out and others are watching TV. Conversely, keeping the blinds up allows exercisers to watch TV or even incorporate exercise videos into the workout.

Putting mirrored panels on the back wall not only reflects light and gives the room a more open feel, but also has a practical function. Being able to see yourself when performing strength-training exercises helps you check your posture for better results and less risk of injury. And for the kids, why not make the centrepiece of the room a wild, wavy climbing wall? It will create an interesting design element, and provide endless fun for the youngsters. More importantly though, it will ensure kids make exercise a lifelong habit.

Variation keeps families committed to exercise and improves fitness because it encourages working out different muscle groups in different ways.

There are other practical considerations to a family fitness room. Safety aside, exercisers should be able to secure or stow gear that little ones could hurt themselves on. When everyone is done using the room, there should be a place to put everything. So make sure there’s plenty of storage room and space for everyone to exercise.

A wardrobe with ample shelving and drawers for each person’s towel and exercise clothes is essential. As is ample shelving for holding equipment such as dumbbells, and a few towel racks would be a good idea too.

The space behind the climbing wall could also serve to store equipment when you need more floor space for aerobics or the next time the kids want to roll out the mats to do a little tumbling.

For most families, the key to fitness can be summed up in one word: convenience. Few things are more convenient than having all the essentials of a fitness club right in the middle of your house. But the room ideally has to work as part of a home and as a part of the lives of the family using it. So remember, if you’re going to commit a space in your home to fitness and exercise, you have to make it inviting and motivating.

A weight bench and an old treadmill down in a dark corner of the cellar won’t really work. You should want to spend time there and make it so there’s something for everyone: yourself, your spouse, and even the youngest children.

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