Use household items as convenient, non-expensive exercise equipment


Jessica Garnett runs down a set of stairs. There are lots of ways to get fit from your home including using stairs for a strength and cardio workout. Michilea Patterson — Digital First Media

By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury

Not having enough time to exercise and inconvenience are some of the most common reasons adults give for not being more physically active, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Working out at home can be a solution to these barriers. Exercising at home cuts back the time it takes to drive to and from the gym.

Household fitness is the way to go on those days when there just aren’t enough hours in the day. People don’t even have to buy special equipment to do so because many everyday items can easily be turned into fitness tools. Below are a list of common household items that can be used to achieve a fit body.



Jessica Garnett, a registered dietitian and Phoenixville resident, uses a broomstick during a strengthening and toning exercise. Michilea Patterson — Digital First Media

Spend a half hour sweeping and you’ll likely feel it in your arms but the cleaning device can be used beyond its purpose for other fitness opportunities. Weighted bags can be added to each end for strengthening exercises. The long pole can also be used for balance and toning activities.

Exercises: A broomstick can be used with ab crunches, leg twists, overhead lifts and more. Learn how to get a great workout with a broom by visiting the website For a video of a whole body workout with a broomstick, visit


Towels are often used during a workout but it’s usually to wipe sweat off. They can be used for a lot more than drying off. A beach towel is a great alternative for a yoga mat. Towels are also great for stretching, toning and even jumping.

Exercises: Towels can be used to stretch hamstrings and triceps. Also use towels for sliding lunges, mountain climbers, roll crunches and more. For more on getting a total body workout with a towel, visit the website For a video on using a towel to tone the abs, core and upper body, visit


Those socks are for more than warming up cold feet. They can be filled with items such as sand or beans then transformed into ankle or wrist weights. These kinds of weights are attached to the body making it easy to do other activities while wearing them.

Exercises: They can be worn while doing household chores, running and other fitness activities. For more about how to use ankle or wrist weights, visit the website



Jessica Garnett uses a water jug to do some strength training. Items like water jugs can be used as non-expensive weights when exercising at home.

A gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds which makes jugs great for arm strengthening exercises. They’re a non-expensive way to make homemade dumbbells. A jug of water can be placed in each hand or both hands can hold one jug for a lesser weight. Water bottles can also be used instead of jugs. If there aren’t any water jugs around then bottles of laundry detergent can be used just as easily.

Exercises: Just like dumbbells can be used for a variety of exercises so can jugs or bottles filled with water. Try bicep curls, overhead presses, kettlebell swings and more. For more tips on how to exercise the arms with dumbbells, or jugs, visit the website Also check out a milk jug exercise video at


The everyday step stool can be used for a lot more than reaching that can of soup on the top shelf. Step stools are a household item that can be used to improve balance, strengthen legs and more. Put on some music in the background and the stool can create an at-home step aerobics class. Step-ups can also help get people ready for popular spring activities like biking and hiking.

Exercises: For the correct form of the basic step-up and step-down exercise, visit the website There are other exercises that can be done with a step stool including lunges, squats and side lifts. For more tips on how to use a step stool for fitness, visit the website


Stairs, like stools, can be used for stepping exercises but also for sprinting activities. When you want to kick it up a notch by running on non-flat surfaces, try stairs. Stairs can be used for a light jog or a quick sprint.

Exercises: In addition to running; a set of stairs can be used for workouts such as the plank walk, climbing lunge and triceps dip. For tips on how to do these exercises and more on stairs, visit the website Also check out a stair workout video at


The chair is a great opportunity for fitness even while sitting down in one. There are numerous stretches that can be done with a chair. For specific positions that can be done at home and at work, visit the website The chair can be used for more than stretching with exercises such as lunges and twists.

Exercises: Arm pushups, hamstring curls and so much more can all be done with a simple chair. For videos and descriptions of several exercises that can be done with a chair, visit the website


A counter top, bed or sturdy table can be a great tool when it comes to exercising the lower back, glutes and hamstrings. The stable surface is also a way to tone the arms.

Exercises: Use a raised surface to do modified pushups, stretches for the arms or back and even to improve balance. For a video on how to use the counter for pushups and jumping exercises, visit For tips on how to use a table top for balance activities, visit the website

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