Home gyms from bare bones to bells and whistles

Mon Oct 4, 2010 8:08am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - For many fleeing noisy gyms and pricey membership fees, when it comes to working out, there's no place like home.

If your fitness is housebound, experts say your gym can be anything from a basement brimming with exercise machines to a towel spread on the living room floor.

"People need a workout space," said fitness expert and personal trainer Melanie Douglass. "It can be a treadmill, a weight machine and a stability ball, or it can be a five-dollar set of hand weights."

Douglass, who is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, said do what fits your space and your budget.

"A resistance tube can train your whole body," she said.

Despite the sluggish economy, home fitness equipment sales hit $5.3 billion in 2009, according to the National Sporting Goods Association, even as U.S. gym memberships remained flat.

"People are economizing and gym membership is a casualty," said Colleen Logan of ICON fitness, which manufactures workout equipment. "A piece of home exercise equipment is a one-time expense for more than one person in the household."

That expense is usually in a treadmill. Despite a hefty average ticket price of around $670, treadmills account for 56 percent of home fitness sales, Logan said.   Continued...

<p>A man runs on a treadmill in a file photo. REUTERS/Susana Vera</p>