Have you set a new exercise goal but are unsure where to start or find it difficult to remain consistent? You may have an upcoming trip, the weather is not ideal, or you are short on money, so you consider postponing your health goals for a better time. You may even prefer to workout at home but are not sure where to begin. Whether you are traveling, find it too cold or hot to move outdoors, do not have the funds for a gym membership or equipment, or prefer to move more at home, you can still get in quality movement in the comfort of your own home or hotel by creatively taking steps to improve your health and fitness routine. Try these seven strategies below with common household items to use in place of exercise equipment.


  1. Start with light weights by using full water bottles or canned vegetables for bicep curls, overhead tricep extensions, or a chest press. If you are looking for something heavier, consider a bag of flour, a jug of milk, or a container of laundry detergent.
  2. Looking for additional cardio? Run up and down your stairs. If you do not have stairs, run in place, incorporate jumping jacks, knee lifts, place a broom on the floor and jump from one side to the other.
  3. Strengthen your legs with wall sits, yes, those wall sits you used to do in P.E. class. Walls can also be helpful for standing pushups.
  4. Strengthen your ab muscles by placing your hands on a towel or paper plates and slowly slide your arms back and forth while on your hands and knees.
  5. Use your couch, a chair, or a bench for tricep dips. Be sure that the piece of furniture you select is secure and will not move. A chair can also be used for reassurance that your squat is in proper form.
  6. Do you have a lot of laundry piling up? If so, strengthen your lower back with dead lifts with the help of the laundry basket. Stand while folding the laundry and practice balance poses such as alternating Tree pose or Eagle legs.
  7. If you are in a remote area or have limited supplies, you always have your own body weight. Do squats or lunges while brushing your teeth in the morning, sit ups and pushups in the afternoon, and burpees in the evening to get more movement in.


The seven ideas above are a starting point to build some creativity into your fitness routine. Before you begin any form of activity, be sure to speak with your health care provider for any potential activity restrictions. Remember it is important to warm up your muscles and stretch to reduce the likelihood of injury. There are more activity ideas for activity at home with or without gym equipment through the exercise library at acefitness.org. For more tips, review “Healthy Habits to Get You Off the Couch and Into a Better Exercise Routine” on the Cecelia Health website.