Getting The Gear For The Good Life - Our Top 5 Free & Our Picks Of The Best

Whether you have a gym membership or do any sport activity regularly, it is always good to have some basic exercise gear at home. Especially when living in Holland, there are far too many rainy days that may stop you from leaving your house! It is no wonder that you may use the weather as an excuse to skip your exercise routine.

Getting out ain't always easy!

Avoiding the harsh outdoors can have the wrong effect. To stay healthy, it is important that you get your 30 minutes of daily exercise, so make sure that you do something to stay active, even if just keeping your body busy as you watch TV. There are many cool products on the market that are worth having at home, and not all have to break the bank! They can be very effective, IF you use them! Here's a list of exercise gear to use at home:

Getting The Gear For The Good Life:


Filled water bottles or other heavy items – Create your own set of cheap dumbbells. Better still, after your workout you can drink the contents!

Free Apps on your phone (meditation, yoga, running coach) – These can help you get a handle on your daily needs and the inputs you may want to control. There are many free apps on the market, some with voice coaching that can be very motivating. Test a few free apps before upgrading to a PRO version.

Your staircase – Make sure no one’s at home and then go crazy! Up…down...up…

Furniture / chairs – If you have sturdy items at home, a few push/press ups or semi-dips may be in order. Just remember that these items are NOT meant for exercise, so they may have a tendency to fall over, slide or break! This sort of exercise should only be done by those of slim body and muscle tone. If you try this, realize it is entirely at your own risk.

YouTube - Well, not really gear, is it...but it'll do the job! There are thousands of professional and wannabe fitness intructors online, trying to promote their workouts. Save money on exercise DVDs and search for free videos that will help you stay motivated to work out. Just remember to not hurt yourself - the video makers don't take responsibility if you hurt yourself!  

Gear starting under €15

Hula Hoop – Going back to the good ol’ days when a toy was something that actually required moving our bodies! Available at sports shops and toy stores, in a variety of quality.

Stretchy bands – These make for great weekend getaway companions; just toss em in your luggage and use them in the morning before going down to that all-you-can eat breakfast buffet. Add some squats and you are good to go!

Ankle and wrist weights – These are handy to wear when doing chores around the house or going to the store… IF you can stand to look like a bit of a tool! ;) Just remember not to use them for too long, and avoid tem completely if you suffer from joint problems.

Jump rope – Small, cheap, portable and GOOD FOR YOU. This could be one of the best tools for weight control and aerobic development. Start with 2 minutes at a time, and you will be surprised how exhausting it can be!

Exercise mat – Press/push-ups, sit-ups can be made more pleasant with a good surface.

Weights – Dumbbells are pretty smart to leave around your house and office because they will constantly remind you to pick them up!

Exercise DVD's (check in second hand shops for older editions) – Always a fun way to spend some alone time… just make sure no one walks in on you doing thrust squats with Jane Fonda.

Gear starting between €15 - €50

Pull-up bars – Make sure they are in a doorway that you pass under frequently so it will remind you to use it. Hopefully you won’t be inclined to leave shirts hanging there if it is in a high traffic spot.

Balance boards or balls, trampolines or steps – These are particularly great in large houses, places with yards or at the very least, high ceilings. We realize that is hard to come by in most Amsterdam houses!

Sweat pants / suits – Great to wear when doing house chores, vacuuming or washing, they can make you look like you joined a cult, so make sure to warn people you love before you get suited up. These won't actually make you fitter, but will certainly help you break a sweat!

Mini steppers - They come in many shapes and sizes, but they all serve to get your body moving and they take up a rather small space in your home. Look for ones that have a smooth travel, removable parts and are silent as possible. This last point will save your relationships with your family and neighbors!

Ab exercisers / boards – The majority of these don’t do much more that REMIND you to do crunches, by laying around areas of your living room. lol! The protection they give to your back is debatable but they sometimes make doing crunches a bit more comfy.

Gear starting above €50

Elliptic trainers – Larger and clearly more expensive options to mini-steppers, if you invest in one of these, it seems you mean business.

Rowing machines – Place it in front of a nice large window or TV and start stroking.

Weight sets / Circuit trainers – These systems can allow you to work many muscle groups, like in a proper gym. The only drawback is that in most cases, you need an extra room to devote to these monster machines.

Indoor bicycles – In Holland it is easy enough to ride anywhere, but when it’s pouring rain there are some great options to maintain training even using your existing gear. Even though the handle bars can serve as excellent clothing hangers, resist the urge to use this equipment for anything but cycling!

Sports games on game platforms (Wii, EyeMotion, Xbox, etc) – Kids and adults alike can get some decent aerobic workouts if they are playing kinetic video games at an intense level.

Poledancing - Poles or other specialist gear can be used for more than entertainment these days. Don’t be fooled, it is hard work!

Aerial Yoga swings for kids and adults - Nowadays made with fine nylon, a parachute-like material, and come in various styles and colors. A great choice for people with lower back, knee and joint problems, as they allow you to do many yoga poses, without putting a strain on your problem areas. All you need is a strong ceiling or beam. Added bonus - yoga swings are cool to hang out in, even just to read a book or watch TV. Read more about aerial yoga swings.

 Buying it is one thing, using it is another!

You can find all the products listed above in the above €50 range, depending on their brand name and quality. Before investing your hard earned money into any sports gear, make sure that you will actually use it!

How many people use their indoor bicycle or elliptic trainer to hang their laundry on? How many weight sets get used as monkey bars for the little ones? Even if your kids coincidentally DO get some good exercise, it may not be the most safe or affordable way to get them moving.

Ask yourself if you actually have extra space under your bed to store another (dust collecting) device that you may never use? Fitness equipment, professional or semi-professional, usually takes up a lot of space, and may cost up to thousands of euros for quality products and brand names. If you are not convinced if a really expensive product is worth the price, check the market for second hand ones, ask your friends or search online for peoples experiences using certain gear. Chances are that several people in you know already have a barely used stepper they would love to get rid of for a low price.

Where there’s will, there’s a way.

Never make an excuse out of having no gear! Even doing household chores can be a great way of staying in shape, and you can kill two birds with one stone! If you don’t yet know what gear could be good for you, start with some good old “free gear”, by using stuff you already have around; the range depends on your creativity!


To find many of the above listed items, visit Asahi Sports in Amsterdam Oud West.


*InLivin' strongly advises everyone to consult their doctors and caregivers before taking on any new diet or exercise program.