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Health, Sports & Psychology

Five top tips for exercising at home

Updated Monday, 23rd November 2020

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic many people have turned to getting fit at home, but the distractions can be challenging! Candice Lingam-Willgoss gives you five tips to keep you motivated...

Exercising at home often competes with more appealing activities, such as checking social media, relaxing with a boxset, or visiting the fridge! Although most of us are aware of the extensive benefits that exercise can offer both in terms of our physical and mental wellbeing, many of us struggle to get active. So to help you make exercise exciting and get you safely into a healthy and active routine here are my five key tips:

1: Create a dedicated space and set aside a specific time

Couple doing exercise class in spare bedroom Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Photo 84102729 © Wavebreakmedia Ltd |

This works on the same principle as you going to the gym or an exercise class. When you go to the gym you are sub-consciously shifting your mindset into exercise mode and this is the same type of feeling you need to recreate at home. That may mean that you convert the spare bedroom or a corner of the garage into your workout space, so that when you enter that space you know it is time to work out and get you into the zone. Similarly, setting clear times to workout can help you stay on track, for example you may have been used to going to a class at the gym in your lunchbreak, in which case set aside the same time slot to complete your session. Try to avoid distractions in this space so that you are able to focus on your exercise. This approach strives to manage the environment and ultimately provide more opportunity to exercise.

2: Dress right!

gym kits with trainers and a towel Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Photo 22616869 © Paul Maguire |

This is an interesting point as there are two sides to this tip. Firstly, it is important to wear the right type of clothes to exercise, for example correct trainers and clothing that allows you to move and complete your workout in a comfortable manner. But this also relates to making you feel a certain way. You might like to buy some new clothing as this can suggest a new beginning and give you a new identity, as the trigger of wearing the right kit can make you feel like an exerciser and tap into your subconscious giving you that added motivation. 

3: Consider music to help motivation

 Guy with headphones looks at phone, sitting on mat on floor Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Photo 194388454 © Milkos |

Music has been found to shift emotional and mental states. It is good to put together a workout playlist of tracks that you wouldn’t normally listen to, as similar to tip 1, having the right music playing can shift your mindset from being sedentary to becoming an exerciser, and if you choose the right music it can help to psych you up ready to work hard – just think of the impact of ‘Eye of the Tiger’ in the Rocky films! You may like to have a listen to our OU sport and fitness playlist for some added inspiration.

4: Set goals

Fitness goals written on a mini chalkboard Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Photo 108749760 © Marek Uliasz |

Goal setting is perhaps one of the most popular techniques that can be used to keep people motivated and support behaviour change. Goals can allow you to have focus within your sessions and track your progress, but it is important that goals are varied and set appropriately. You may decide to have a longer-term goal perhaps of losing weight or being able to perform a certain exercise at a higher intensity, but you will also need shorter-term goals that help you achieve these longer-term goals. These shorter process or performance-driven goals are usually largely in your control and tend to help most with adherence, for example to complete four workouts a week or to increase the number of press ups you do each session. These types of goals allow you to feel successful and help prolong motivation.  What is perhaps most important though is to write them down and make sure you can see them clearly, so stick them up on the fridge or on the mirror, somewhere you will see them daily to give you that boost.

5: Keep yourself on your toes

senior woman exercising at home Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Photo 195411538 © Dragoscondrea |

Variety within your exercise routine is essential if boredom is to be avoided. A good idea is to start with a 4-week plan that allows you to change around your weekly routine. You can add in an assortment of training types such as weight training, High intensity training, core strengthening or even an online class. Keeping this varied will not only keep you interested and focused but also ensure you are training all aspects of your body, benefitting your overall fitness.

What is most important though is to have fun. There is a type of exercise out there that will suit everyone, it is just finding what you enjoy, whether it’s jumping on the exercise bike in your back bedroom, lifting weights or dance, hopefully these five tips will help you to find exercise that you enjoy and can start to look forward. While the rewards of exercise may seem like they take a long time to come there are few things better than the warm, relaxing feeling that comes in the hours after exercise. You will likely feel that you have more energy and will sleep better, and you will also get the chance to feel better about yourself.



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