An exercise space in or near the bathroom has many advantages and may be important to some clients.
Exercising at home can be more economical and more convenient than a membership to a health club. People are short on time, but can often spare 20 minutes if they can exercise in their home. The exercise area is accessible and does not require the motivation to drive to a health club. Home exercise equipment can be used in any weather, day or night. Some people will be more comfortable at home and prefer the privacy, rather than the more public health club or fitness center.
What Type of Exercise?
There are several things to be determined before planning an exercise space. Much of the information should be gathered during the client assessment discussed in chapter 5, "Assessing Needs." Form 15: Assessment for Exercise Area provides a checklist for recording information about exercise users, the type of exercise they participate in, and the type of equipment they may use. Find out about the client’s fitness needs and exercise program. The client may have an established exercise program, but if they have not had the convenience of an exercise space at home, they need to think about how that space will impact their program. Here are some questions to consider.
• Who will be participating in the exercise program and using the space?
Is this just for a single user or will a couple or other family members be participating? It is possible that guests (either overnight or visitors) may also participate in an exercise program? Will a personal trainer be involved in the exercise program?
• How much time do the various users spend in their exercise program?
Do they spend 20 minutes on multiple exercise machines every evening or 30 minutes in an aerobic exercise program in the morning? Or do they just use the machine occasionally on a bad weather day when they cannot run or walk outside?
• What exercise activities do they do? This is critical in determining what equipment might be needed. Typical activities might be:
Flexibility exercise—stretches muscles. Includes yoga and warm-ups for other exercises.
Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise—increases heart rate, stimulates circulation, strengthens heart and lungs, and induces weight loss through fat burning. Programs may include dancing, walking, jump-roping, running, or swimming. Treadmills, bikes, stair climbers, and elliptical runners support cardiovascular exercise.
Strength training or weight conditioning programs—strengthens and tones muscles, burns fat, and improves posture. Programs may include situps and pushups, plyometrics or jump training, resistance training, and weight lifting.
• What are the resources available for designing the space?
Space will be needed for any equipment. Some programs can be completed in small areas, but some equipment requires a large amount of space.
• Is new equipment needed? If the client is selecting new equipment, they should try it out in a fitness center or equipment showroom.
• Will a personal trainer be used? A trainer may be an important partner in the selection of equipment and in planning the space.
Form 15: Assessment for Exercise Area
Record information about the users of the exercise area, the types of activities they prefer, equipment, and other requirements.
A common location for an exercise or fitness area is off the master bathroom. This is ideal for adults looking for privacy or retreat. An exercise program that takes place as part of the morning preparations might be well suited in a master bathroom suite. Being close to showers, grooming space, and clothing helps to make this a convenient activity that becomes readily incorporated into the daily routine.
If the exercise area is to be accessible to guests or other family members, then a space that is more centrally located may be more suitable than the master bathroom. This common area could be next to a hall bath, in a loft or attic space, basement, or a room off a living area. A room with an exterior entrance may be desirable for access to outdoor exercise areas. Being close to a bathroom will still be important for many people wanting to refresh themselves after exercising. The space may also have to be flexible to meet multiple users’ needs and exercise programs. The space could allow for more than one person at a station, such as partners doing the same exercise at the same time, family fitness programs, or an instructor and student.
Discussing the client’s exercise program is critical in determining if the available space is adequate. The number and size of exercise equipment influences the space needed. To maximize the amount of exercise equipment in a limited space, fold-up models can be stored in a corner or closet.
• Some activities, such as aerobics, calisthenics, stretching, and yoga require no equipment other than a mat. Allow the space needed to safely perform the activity.
• Exercising or dancing with an instructional video may require a television and DVD, game system, or computer access.
• Stability balls are one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment. Sizes vary depending on the user. Common sizes are 18 inches (457 mm), 22 inches (559 mm), and 26 inches (660 mm).
• Sliders can be used for side-to-side or lateral exercises.
• Step benches are used for step-aerobic exercises.
• A punching or heavy bag is needed for kickboxing, boxing aerobics, or karate.
• Cardiovascular exercise equipment includes treadmills, bikes, rowing machines, stair climbers, elliptical runners, and ski machines.
• Strength training equipment includes free-weight sets with weights, bars, clips, and storage, as well as dumbbells and storage racks, single – and multistation gyms, and elastic tubes and bands. Benches are often used, including slant boards for weight lifting or situps. Reformers, including cables, pullers, springs, boxes, and sliding boards are used for Pilates.
Exercise equipment needs to be flexible if there will be multiple users of different heights, weights, and fitness goals. For multiple users, the equipment and finishes also need to be especially durable.