Holy Home Gym | Designing a Home Workout Space

Treadmills are expensive clothes hangers. So use these expert tips to plan your space where you can sweat to the oldies, strike a tree pose and super set to your heart's content (literally).

Holy Home Gym

Ever notice how a stationary bike works just as well as a clothes hanger? As the clothes heap on, you have an automatic excuse not to hop on and start pedaling in place.

But it might not be totally your fault. Things could be different if you had a space exclusively devoted to your equipment—and physical well being. To get back on track in time to restart last year's resolution, use these expert tips to plan and design a successful (read: well-used) exercise room in your home.

A Place to Go
If you want to avoid the sullen, expensive clothes-hanger scenario, get your exercise room out of the traffic pattern. Give yourself a room where you can concentrate with minimal distractions. It should be a destination all its own, whether it's a separate wing, a section on the lower level or a room off of the master bedroom.

Elbow Room
To figure out how big or small your space should be, use the same design tactics you'd use when planning any room in your home. Plan adequate room for the kind of machines you're going to use and also think toward the future. If running becomes out of the question in your golden years, you'll want to swap out a treadmill for an elliptical trainer or rowing machine, both of which take up space in horizontal and vertical directions.

Materials Mojo
Flooring. You're creating an environment that needs some thoughtful support, sometimes literally. So make sure your floors can withstand the loads imposed on them. Carpeting is an effective sound insulator, but beware of heavy usage. Vinyl, cork or even bamboo may be good choices.

Lighting. For lighting, keep it bright, cheerful and natural, if possible. Track or recessed lighting from above eliminates the need for lamps that take up valuable floor space.

Ventilation. Get that clean outside air in and stale, used gymnasium air out. Direct access to fresh air is ideal, but if you're in a basement room with no exterior windows, install an exhaust fan similar to what you'd find in a bathroom.

Electrical. Install adequate power outlets for machines, lighting and audio/visual equipment.

Entertainment Essentials
A good sound system is first on the list to help you get into the mood for motion, and certainly will add to the enjoyment. Next, a TV with DVD player, TiVo, VCR or other input device mounted from the ceiling or a video pole will hold your attention and make the exertion less painful.

Extra, Extra
When the 30-minute burn is over, how about a shower, steam room, Jacuzzi or sauna to pat yourself on the back? If you have the room—and the cash—for these extras, be sure to address special needs for plumbing, lighting and positioning in relation to the exercise room and the rest of your home. If these extras are a little too extra, throw in some easy-on-the-wallet serenity in the form of a water fountain, or carve out a meditation nook with a half wall or strategically placed room-divider screen.

Read the full story in the October 2005 issue of Log Home Living.

Photo courtesy of Ross Chandler Photography