With the kids back in school, fall sports around the corner and that lose a few pounds resolution about to expire, the time is now to create a family fitness room. A space in your home for fitness is healthy for the entire family, and a convenient alternative to a gym membership. It also offers a safe and unexpected place for family and friends to gather.
When creating a family fitness room the first essential element is the space. A section of the basement, area over the garage, extra bedroom, or the proverbial “bonus room” make great options.
Once you’ve decided upon the space for the fitness room, essential element #2 is the HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning). If the space is not covered by the existing system, a split system for warmth in winter, and cool in summer is important for comfort. Once you’ve climate controlled the air, a paddle fan is a great addition to keep that air flowing.
A half dozen recessed fixtures (aka pot lights) should provide ample illumination for evening workouts. Thoughtfully placed outlets are necessary to power equipment or entertainment necessities, along with those required by building code. An electrician is key for element #3.
Element #4 is what’s covering the floor. A prefinished floating floor is an easy and carefree choice, but if your routine includes a lot of floor time, a low pile or loop carpet will be more comfortable. If your fitness regime includes equipment, mats under those items will keep them from crawling.
Element #5 in creating a family fitness room is mirrors. Mirrors expand the space, reflect light, and keep your posture and position in order. This is the wow factor that makes the space a fitness room. If it’s possible to mirror an entire wall, keep in mind that for transportation and installation purposes, seams will be necessary.
Equipment is element #6. Several factors will determine what equipment to acquire. If you work with a fitness trainer, naturally get professional input. Otherwise, the size of the space will dictate how large and how many items, which of course must also relate to your family’s fitness goals. Popular items include treadmill, free weights, and stationary bike. These are also space savers.
Entertainment, element #7, is the feature that is important for motivation and fun. Plan ahead for a wall-mounted TV screen, which can be seen or adjusted for viewing from every exercise location, as well as equipment for playing DVDs & music. Strategically locate speakers, or a smart phone docking station.
After completing these seven essential elements, there are just a few things left to keep in mind to perfect your family fitness room.
Don’t forget to post some house rules. Depending upon how you equip the space, and the age of your family, proper how-to equipment training and supervision as necessary will promote safety and prevent accidents.
Encourage the kids to meet in the fitness room to work toward their fitness goals. Rather than a burger out, save gas and treat your teens to an hour of a trainer’s time. It’s a constructive and worthwhile option for teenage recreation, and one that they’ll appreciate and enjoy!
Be sure to leave space on the floor for yoga mats, or Zumba dancing! Your next grown-up gathering with friends may include a personal trainer, yoga or dance instructor, and perhaps a healthy meal following.
Whether large and fully loaded or small and simple, the benefits of regular exercise in the family fitness room offer rewards beyond gym membership savings. Healthy for mind and body, it offers opportunity for shared activity, and time spent together on positive goals.
Camille Gracie, ASID, is certified by the National Council of Interior Design Qualification and holds professional status in the American Society of Interior Designers. www.camillegracie.com