Some people are too shy to go to a commercial gym and some just don’t have the time to go during normal gym hours. Yet others just prefer to have their equipment to themselves, but whatever the reason, home gyms are becoming an increasingly sought-after feature among homebuyers. With some forward planning, it’s relatively easy for homeowners to convert an unused spare bedroom or garage into a great workout space.
What you need for a home gym
Here’s a list of things you’ll need to make the perfect home workout space:
- Good ventilation, which might mean installing a powerful overhead fan or adding an extra window
- Smooth, cool floors that can take lots of wear and tear, so you might have to take out a carpet and lay tiles perhaps, or put rubber matting in over a concrete floor
- Enough electrical outlets if you want to run power equipment such as a treadmill, bike or orbital trainer
- Soundproofing if you like to exercise to loud music
- A large mirror on one wall to enable you to observe form and technique and so reduce the chances of injury from certain types of exercise.
However, the experts say, if your home does not already have a gym, it’s best not to spend a lot of money on making these changes or buying expensive exercise equipment until you’re sure you will make frequent use of it. The treadmill that has become a clothes-horse is a cliché for good reason.
So set aside the space you would like to convert and start small with some simple items such as a yoga mat, a basic set of dumbbells or kettlebells, and a stability ball for resistance training. If you want to get your heart-rate up, try skipping, a basic stepper, or a cardio dance “class” on your laptop.
If after a few months of consistent training you find that you still want a “big ticket” item like a stationary bike, start by looking in the classifieds (the best time is about two months after Christmas).
Bring in the professionals
At that stage, it will probably also be worth starting to upgrade your spare space and turning it into a slick home gym that will add value to your property, something particularly useful for if and when you decide to sell one day. But as with any DIY, unfamiliarity with the tools and process can be dangerous. If you live in an upstairs apartment, for example, you need to make sure that the floor of your gym space will support the weight of any heavy equipment you plan to install.
Similarly, if you are planning any changes or additions to the electrical system such as adding more lights or plug sockets, you really must get the work done by a qualified electrician who can then also update your electrical safety certificate. And finally, if you need to access some of the equity in your home to make some structural changes, you should consult with a reputable mortgage originator like BetterLife Home Loans about extending your home loan.
Please note: If you are at all uncomfortable or inexperienced working on DIY projects (especially projects involving dangerous tools or tasks), please reconsider doing the job yourself. It is very possible on any DIY to damage your property, create a hazardous condition, or harm yourself or others.
It is becoming increasingly common for people to “refire” in their sixties rather than retire. One significant implication for the property market as a result of this trend is the accompanying preference for “ageing in place” as opposed to selling the family home and moving to a retirement village or old-age home.
One of the main reasons for wanting to “age in place”
Chances are that the existing home will need some modifications to make it comfortable and safe for the owners as they get older, but another reason that many senior citizens prefer not to move is the fear that they will not be approved for a home loan if they need one to buy another property. They would rather seek approval for a “further loan” to pay for the alterations they need to make – or pay for these piecemeal if that application is turned down.
Recommended home adaptions
Meanwhile, the National Association of Home Builders in the US already offers specialist courses and qualifications for contractors who are interested in helping people adapt their homes to make life easier as they get older, without making it look like an institution. The following are among some of the most important home modifications recommended:
Natural light, more lamps, recessed lighting and task lighting in the kitchen all make it easier to see what you’re doing, no matter what your age. What’s more, adding more lighting as you get older can help reduce the chances of injury. Contrasting surfaces, such as countertops that are a different colour from the floor and colour changes at steps, also help to make homes safer.
Smooth your path
Choosing flooring is a bit of a tricky issue because while hard surfaces or low-pile carpet are best for wheelchairs, they can be slippery or too cold, especially in big rooms. The most important thing is to get rid of trip hazards such as throw rugs, create clear paths through the home and eliminate stairs wherever possible.
Deal early with staircases
For people who live in double-storey homes, it’s a really good idea to rearrange or renovate in such a way so as to create a bedroom suite with a full bathroom downstairs. While most people can’t afford an elevator, a chair lift is also a good option for those who are getting a little frail or too unsteady to manage the stairs alone.
Embrace modern aids
When altering kitchens to make it easier to age in place, homeowners should look out for really helpful products and aids such as:
- Motion-activated taps
- Pull-out shelves (that make it easier to see and retrieve items without bending down and peering into a dark cabinet)
- Levers instead of twist-controls
- Pedestals that make front-loading appliances and ovens easier to use.
Don’t forget the bathroom
In the bathroom, grab bars can be attractive enough these days to be mistaken for accent pieces, and can even double up as towel rails and soap dishes. Old-fashioned bathtubs can be replaced with glamorous steam and massage showers, complete with seating and slip-resistant flooring to make them safer.
The easiest way to do this is to use offset hinges that move the actual doors right out of the way. It’s also may be worth removing any moulding around doorways as well.
Improve the access area
Add a railing to your front steps, for example, or better yet, replace them with a tapered walkway. Add a shelf where you can put things down while you unlock the door and a roof so you don’t get wet if it’s raining. Lay some paving and pathways to make it easier to get around the garden, and get an electrician to move light switches and plug points to make them easier to reach.
Growing older doesn’t have to mean selling your family home but more than likely, it will mean having to make multiple modifications in order for it to remain a safe place in which to live.