Beauty & Wellness

7 Under-$25 Things That Make Exercising at Home a Joy

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According to the app with the little pink heart on my iPhone, I took a grand total of 41 steps yesterday. I know this probably just means I didn’t carry my phone with me as I went from desk to fridge to bathroom all day, but still—41 steps is so far from the 10,000 I used to strive for, I can’t help but think about how much I miss moving.

Unlike passionate celebrities, and a handful of very impressive friends, I haven’t felt an overwhelming desire to amp up my fitness regime while in quarantine. I go for exactly one run per week (early in the morning, with a mask), occasionally do some sit-ups and lunges, and stretch my legs using this nifty stretch-out strap.

Like most of the exercise paraphernalia in my apartment, this strap was bought by my boyfriend, who—unlike me with my 41 steps—is a literal marathon-running, triathlon-winning freak of nature. He originally bought the $16 strap to help treat a hamstring strain, but I personally use it for my tight ankles and hip flexors. Every time I look at it, I revel in the fact that its existence means Michael no longer stretches out his legs using one of our four bath towels.

Curious to hear about the other low-cost products that are helping people move their bodies during this time of pause, I asked my beloved MR colleagues to share their under-$25 recommendations.

These adjustable weights you can strap to your wrists, ankles, arms, or legs

Recommended by: Jasmin, Global Sales Director
Price: $20.99
How did you find it? I’ve been doing some home workouts, like Melissa Wood Health, that require small weights, so I decided to give them a whirl.
When and how do you use it? For the above workouts, mainly on my ankles or wrists and they really make a difference, they’re also fun to wear—I feel like I’m in a ’70s workout video.
Who would you recommend it to? Anyone looking to make their workouts a little bit harder but not thaaat much harder.

This yoga mat that’s perfect for intense workouts and cute enough to leave out

Recommended by: Mikaela, Partnerships Strategist
Price: $24.99
How did you find it? My old mat was half a decade old and tearing/pilling all over the place, so, I decided to upgrade. This one is colorful, so I like to leave it unfurled, like a piece of unobtrusive home decor. The material is really sturdy, so I can do pretty intense workouts that require tennis shoes without worrying.
When and how do you use it? Any time I want to have some focused time to myself. I use it for yoga, of course, but also for morning quiet time (meditation, tea, journaling), and whatever Youtube workout (right now, I’m working through 30 Days of Yoga With Adriene) I’ve set my sights on for that day.
Who would you recommend it to? Anyone who has trouble making time for themselves or for moving their body; keep your yoga mat rolled out all day and I promise it will entice you to hit pause.

Or this extra cushy yoga mat for anyone who’s struggling on their hard floors

Recommended by: Marisa, Executive Assistant
Price: $18.50
How did you find it? Another yoga mat here! I was in search of an extra-thick yoga mat for home Pilates workouts. This one is nice and plush, and I appreciate the color range.
When and how do you use it? Daily for home Pilates workouts that have a focus on matwork, as well as anytime I need a good stretch or quick yoga flow. It’s simple yet effective, and the extra thickness works really well for extended periods lying on my back or side. It helps keep me feeling sturdy and strong, without the added back pain of working out on hard surfaces.
Who would you recommend it to? Anyone looking for a support cushion (read: a yoga mat with TLC) in their home workout practice.

This soft-but-mighty core roller that will give your shoulder some relief

Recommended by: Tiffany, Creative Director
Price: $19.58
How did you find it? I have scoliosis and used this for the first time at my physiotherapist’s office. The pain relief I experienced was huge, so I bought one to use at home.
When and how do you use it? Anytime I feel stiff or sore. There are millions of how-to-guides online—Leandra even wrote one. I appreciate this diminutive roller because I can fit it in my suitcase, and I normally need to roll out after a long trip. I’ll also use it if I’ve been working out a lot and need to release tight muscles. Sometimes I’ll roll out if I’m bored—self massage feels good!
Who would you recommend it to? Anyone who’s been feeling cooped up recently (who hasn’t?). Foam rolling can help get your blood pumping again, as it increases oxygen and blood flow in the areas you roll.

These resistance bands that make me feel as though my tiny movements can make a big difference

Recommended by: Gyan, Managing Editor (I have one more recommendation to share!)
Price: $14.99
How did you find it? The same way I found my stretch strap—Michael bought them!
When and how do you use it? As I mentioned earlier, I stick to a pretty basic workout routine. I use these to make squats, leg raises, and other simple moves a little harder than they would be if I were just using my bodyweight. Last week, I attempted the below workout from Melissa Alcantara (a.k.a. Kim Kardashian’s trainer) and it was intense—in a good way.
Who would you recommend it to? Anyone looking for an alternative to hand weights that are a) really hard to find right now and b) bulky and annoying to have lying around the apartment.


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A post shared by Melissa Alcantara (@fitgurlmel) on

And this yoga block that’s the perfect work (and workout) from home companion

Recommended by: Edith, Associate Editor
Price: $20.49
How did you find it? I first encountered it in a Sky Ting yoga class, or maybe the original Outdoor Voices pop-up shop. I wrote our origin story here.
When and how do you use it? I use it as a chest-expansion and meditation device, but also as a booster when working from home—either as an ottoman underfoot or as elevation for my laptop when it sits on my lap. When I look into my crystal ball, I predict that it’ll have a second life as a doorstop, or perhaps a paperweight for 11 x 17” posters.
Who would you recommend it to? Anyone in need of a good stretch who is also attracted to the beiges in Terence Conran’s The House Book or in The International Book of Lofts (going to venture a guess that the person who sits in the middle of this Venn diagram likely laments the aesthetics of most sporting goods).


Feature Image via Edith Young.

Gyan Yankovich

Gyan Yankovich is the Managing Editor at Man Repeller.

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