Getting and staying in shape is a goal millions of people have. Because it’s such a significant part of our lives, there are dozens of gyms you can choose from in almost any city.
A top-rated fitness facility has state-of-the-art equipment, of course. But they also attract members with their perks. Little things make each workout just a little more challenging or help to burn a few extra calories.
Whether your gym is outside the dorm or in your college’s gym, you can take advantage of these “extras,” too. These helpful fitness accessories will take your workout to the next level, making it the best one yet!
1. It All Starts With Shoes
You can never have too many shoes, especially when they’re for your workout routine. But when you’re low on space, like in a dorm room or a shared apartment, you don’t want to clutter your room up with shoes you won’t use.
Athletic shoes should never double as regular attire because they aren't suitable for daily walking. Since they tend to be pricier, you also don't want to wear them out.
What Kind of Shoe Is Best for You?
The pair you buy should be compatible with the main workout routine you follow. For instance, if you’re a runner, your sneakers should have ankle support, a cushion, and the right arch for your foot.
Running puts a lot of pressure on your lower extremities, and without the proper shoe, the sport can cause injuries.
Cross-training shoes work well for people who want one pair for several types of exercise. These shoes include a combination of mesh and fabric that work well with a variety of sports.
If your on-campus gym is offering a boot camp course, cross-trainers would be perfect. Yet, it’s not a good shoe choice for running long distances.
No matter what athletic shoes you buy, they need to fit comfortably. These expert tips will help you find the style and fit for your workout routine.
2. Activity Tracking Watch
Innovative technology has already changed much of the world, and now it’s revamping our workouts, too. Something as simple as an activity tracking watch can infuse exercise into your daily college schedule and your gym time.
These fitness trackers give you real-time access to your heart rate, steps, and calories burned. Some track your sleep patterns, giving you insight into how restful your slumber was. So if you’re feeling extra foggy one day, your tracker may show that you tossed and turned a lot the night before.
Boosting Your Fitness With Smartwatches
Bringing your activity watch into your workout is a smart way to challenge yourself. Watch your steps and set a target goal to work toward, or use it to set motivating reminders.
The watch’s heart rate feature lets you know if your workout isn’t vigorous enough or if it’s veering closer to dangerously intense.
Some watches, like Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Active, even have GPS and Bluetooth connectivity. In addition, it’s on the lower end of the price spectrum, making it an excellent choice for college students on a budget.
Use your watch to hold you accountable for a certain level of activity every day. It goes with you everywhere, so you don’t have excuses not to reach your workout goals.
3. Resistance Bands
Ready for an intense workout in your own apartment?
Then, add inexpensive resistance bands to any exercise you do to kick your activity up a level.
Resistance band training is popular amongst fitness trainers and in physical therapy sessions. The bands guide specific muscles to contract against them, increasing your strength and endurance.
Benefits of Resistance Band Training
If you can only have one piece of equipment in your home workout, make it a resistance band.
Benefits like these far outweigh those of pricy, bulky exercise machines:
They’re inexpensive and perfect for a college student’s budget.
They don’t take up any space in your home.
You can use them to target any muscle group.
They're adaptable to increase resistance.
You burn fat and build muscle.
They help with balance, focus, and better form.
Grab a fitness video and an exercise mat, or make your own routine. Add your resistance bands, and your workout goes to the next level instantly.
4. Smart Bathroom Scales
Gone are the days of the bathroom scale telling you how much you weigh. Now, we expect our digital scales to give us the whole picture, literally, in a graph form.
Smart scales have all but replaced the traditional versions. These scales are available for around $20 and up, rechargeable, and simple to use. And for people with limited space, these slim, lightweight scales can slide out of the way with ease.
Top Features of Smart Scales
If you’re ready to improve your fitness, a smart scale is a must-have accessory. The handy gadgets sync to apps like Fitbit, Samsung or Apple Health, and Google Fit. Every time you weigh yourself, the data connects to your other trackers, helping you spot trends and track your progress.
When your smart scale is set up correctly, it can also tell you your body composition measurements. After all, “being in shape” isn’t just about your weight. It also includes factors like your body fat, body water, bone and muscle mass, and more.
Other exciting features include the ability to set the scale up for unlimited user profiles, four sensors for precision accuracy, and micro-USB charging options.
5. Set of Dumbbells and Stand
If you don’t have any hand weights, a can of soup will do in a pinch. But there’s no excuse for you not to have a set at your fingertips.
You can nab a set of basic, lightweight dumbbells on a stand for under $20. They don’t take up much room in your home, and they come in handy for extra toning and resistance in your workout.
Yes, even the lightest one-pound weights can make a difference when you exercise. That’s because holding dumbbells activates different muscles, improving the growth and flexibility as you move.
On the other hand, lighter weights work on coordination and stability rather than focusing on building strength.
These accessories are both budget and space-friendly. So it's no surprise that they're the go-to for college students and people focused on fitness with limited living space.
Sure, state-of-the-art fitness equipment is the ideal goal, but it’s not always realistic. If you can’t hit the gym or you want to increase your overall health, you don’t need to spend a ton of money.
These little accessories bring your focus to fitness throughout the day. With a few small “extras,” you’ll have prime workouts no matter where you exercise.
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Varsity House Gainesville to help them with their online marketing.