Many people live in smaller homes and apartments today. It seems as if the media is quick to pick up on this trend. But is has actually been occurring for some years and is gaining momentum now. There are many reasons why this is happening, from the poor economic conditions of the last few years, to the downsizing of the baby boomers and empty nesters.
More and more people are renting homes or apartments as they realize that the All American Dream of owning a home is not essential anymore. In fact there is even a newer trend towards the tiny house. A home that is around 200 to 400 square feet or in extreme cases below 200 square feet. I have even downsized from a 2000 square foot condo down to a small live aboard boat, where I can cruise to my heart’s content.
So where do these people exercise?
Room is at a premium in these smaller homes and apartments. By the time you put in your living room furniture and bedroom furniture, space becomes a problem. For those people who like to exercise at home, home gym equipment isn’t a consideration. It is too large and cumbersome unless you have a garage, but why have a garage where you can’t park your car because of a large piece of equipment. Some people may opt for a gym membership, so they have to leave the comforts of their home and waste gas to get any exercise. Even barbells are too large for most places.
So what are the options?
We have eliminated the large home gyms and we have essentially eliminated the barbells, so what else is there? Adjustable dumbbells can easily fill this vacuum for strength training and cardio workouts. There are other ways to get cardio training like walking, running, and bicycling. Or you could use resistance training using a resistant elastic band, or even do the old stand by exercises like pushups, jumping jacks, pull-ups, squats and lunges. But for a good weight training exercise the dumbbells are your best option.
Why are adjustable dumbbells my best option?
There are many advantages to using these in a smaller home
- They come in a rack usually not more than 15.5 inches to 17.5 inches so they can be stored in a closet, out of the way. A set of two is no bigger than a shoe rack.
- The weights are on racks with the bar attached, so you have no weights lying around.
- They are mobile, and you can move them from room to room. Take them out on your patio in nice weather, or if you go on vacation in your auto, they take up very little room.
- They eliminate using a barbell, where weights are always lying around. You need more room for the barbells. Dumbbells take up less exercise area and even less when you are using just one.
- They are by far, less expensive than the fancy home style gyms and factoring in gas along with a gym membership, there is no comparison.
Many health benefits occur when using dumbbells
- They provide good cardiovascular training. In fact smaller weights with longer sets are very good cardio work outs.
- They promote muscle mass and bone density which will benefit you as you age.
- Using these dumbbells along with other exercise routines will give you a balanced routine to enhance your health for the long term.
So what do I need to look for in dumbbells?
The first thing you should probably do is consult a buying guide online. They will show you many styles to choose.
Essentially there are three main types to choose from, each with varying degrees of ease of use.
- The spin-lock are the least expensive. They have to have the weight manually taken off and on by using a spin on collar to loosen and tighten. They do not come with a rack included but racks are available as an extra. Their main advantage is simplicity and price and their disadvantage is the time it takes to put the new weight on and take the old off.
- The pin/tool types are moderately priced and are very simple to use. You lift up the pin, slide it to the appropriate pound increment and lift the bar up with the weight already attached. Nothing to take off or on.
- The dial style is usually the higher priced unit. Instead of a pin you dial in the pounds and lift up, again with the weight already attached. Some units come with two dials, one for each side and some come with one dial that changes both sides automatically.
A good example of the dial is the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells.
Choose the set wisely based on all of their advantages and disadvantages. Then you are off to a healthy start. But, remember you should balance out your exercise routine with other training such as walking, running, and bicycling and other common exercises such as pushups, etc.