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10 products I use to stay fit and healthy while spending more time inside

  • With people spending more time inside, it's hard to keep up with a steady fitness routine, especially if access to workout gear is limited.
  • Setting up a home gym is one solution, but not everyone has enough space in their apartments or homes for large workout equipment — which is why gear like ab rollers or massage balls are great alternatives. 
  • We rounded up 10 of our favorite products that help you keep fit and healthy as you spend more time indoors, including streaming yoga programs, noise-canceling earbuds, and fitness trackers. 

As a freelance writer, I haven't worked in an office in years. It's not unusual for me to spend most of my time at home aside from occasional work travel or trips to the store to buy groceries — I also find time to get in a few turns at my local ski resort, too.

I'm also experienced in working out at home. Without access to a gym either in the city, at my apartment, or at an office, I'm used to getting creative in finding ways to keep fit and healthy around my house. In other words, I know how to turn a living room or bedroom floor into a full-on fitness studio.

Why keeping active at home is important

Working out is a great way to beat the antsiness caused by living in a small bubble. Sure, you may be used to hitting the gym when you need to squeeze in a cardio workout but don't think the lack of a dedicated workout space means you can't keep active. Whether you're used to yoga classes, hitting the treadmill, or lifting weights, there's plenty of gear designed to replicate your favorite workouts that are both cheaper and easier than you may think.

Working out at home has a lot of perks and it also complements a remote lifestyle, according to Peter Callahan, a life coach and speaker at Fresh Perspectives Life Coaching in Connecticut. He suggests that time working from home is a great chance to build healthy life habits, like moving around more throughout the weekdays.

"Our moods and energy change throughout the day," Callahan told Insider. "So, with more autonomy when working from home, we can experiment with our schedules and try moving and exercising at different times."

To help stoke your creativity when it comes to keeping active at home, here are 10 of my favorite products I use each week. Be it noise-canceling earbuds that help keep me focused on my workout or a weighted blanket for getting some much-needed rest each night, these all have a positive impact on my weekly fitness. 

Here are 10 products to keep you fit & healthy while spending more time inside:

  • An easy to use yoga service: Glo
  • A water bottle that alerts you when it's time to hydrate: Hidrate Spark 3
  • A washable yoga mat: Yogo
  • A fitness tracker to chart your progress: Garmin Vivosmart 4
  • Noise-canceling earbuds that won't fall out: Apple AirPods Pro
  • An exercise ball kit with included workouts: URBNFit
  • A snug waist pack for outdoor running: Nathan VaporKrar
  • An ab roller to improve your core: Kamileo
  • A foam roller to massage sore muscles: 321 Strong
  • A gravity blanket to help you reset each night: Gravity Blanket

Updated on 11/10/2020 by Rick Stella: Updated the section on why keeping active at home is important, added more to each product slide, checked the availability of each recommended product and the links for each recommended service or app, and updated the prices where necessary.

An easy to use yoga service

Sign up for Glo, a streaming service that gives you access to more than 2,500 yoga, meditation, and Pilates classes.

What makes Glo ideal for at-home workouts is that sorts its classes by time (if you want a quick lunch break workout, for instance) or by class content. If you normally hit the rock climbing gym a few times a week, you'll be pleased to see classes specifically for climbers and muscle toning. If you sit in a chair all day, search for courses designed for office workers to build shoulder and back strength.

You'll also find classes on breathwork, classes designed specifically for demographics like older men or pregnant women, and a variety of instructors from various age groups. It works with smart TVs or can be streamed via your laptop, phone, or iPad. Membership costs $18 a month but there's a free two-week trial for new sign-ups. 

A water bottle that alerts you when it's time to hydrate

Staying hydrated can be one of the easiest ways to keep healthy — and the best way to do so is to have easy access to water. 

Make sure I stay hydrated throughout the day is easier to remember thanks to this smart reusable water bottle from Hidrate. The Spark 3 glows when it's time to drink more water and because it links up with the Hidrate app, I'm able to track my total water intake over the day, set reminders, and I can even link up with friends to hold each other accountable.

An especially useful feature is its GPS locator, which makes it easy to find my bottle in the event I leave it on a park bench during a morning jog. 

A washable yoga mat

This foldable yoga mat takes up way less storage space than rolling a traditional mat — and its extra-grippy top ensures you won't slide around during the sweatiest of yoga sessions. 

Though this mat from Yogo is thin, it features an extremely grippy top which helps me avoid losing my footing or slipping during an ab workout or Pilates session. I also feel good about the purchase, as the mats are planet-based, vegan, and made with sustainably sourced rubber.

Perhaps its biggest selling point is its super-hygienic folding process. When I fold it according to the instructions, the top never touches the bottom (unlike with a rolled mat), which helps keep germs off the parts of the mat I often touch. After rinsing it off, I can just hang it up to dry in the shower with the included straps and clips.

A fitness tracker to chart your progress

Few wearables are as attractive or as useful as the waterproof Garmin vívosmart 4 — and it does everything from count steps and calories to tracking sleep patterns. 

The vívosmart 4 from Garmin has all the features I need for a home workout like a step counter and heart rate monitor but manages to stay low-priced by eliminating features I don't use at home (like offline golf course maps or rock climbing mapping).

It has a sleep tracker to help ensure I'm making my nightly rest count, as well as a stress monitor that comes in handy while working from home. I especially appreciate its design, which has a more elegant look than many overly sporty wearables.

Noise-canceling earbuds that won't fall out

It can be hard to focus with others at home but thanks to the noise-canceling AirPods Pro, you can block out the noise and hone in on your workout.

Focusing on my daily fitness routine or a streamed workout class is hard when I can't always tune out background noise. But with a pair of noise-canceling earbuds, like Apple's new AirPods Pro, I'm able to easily cancel out any distractions.

Not only do they fend off outside noise but they also feature a contoured in-ear design and removable rubber tips that help them stay in during vigorous movements like cardio workouts.  They also offer a full five hours of use after about 25 minutes of charging in its protective case.

They are expensive at $250 but they'll last for years and make it much easier to focus in a busy household. Apple even allows for free personalization so I can truly make them my own.

An exercise ball kit with included workouts

An exercise ball is affordable, highly useful around the house, and one of the most versatile pieces of workout equipment, making it a must-own for anyone who keeps active inside.

Exercise balls are great for everything from strength training and ab work to balancing and flexibility exercises. While there's no shortage of options available online, I like the very affordable URBNFit Exercise ball kit, which comes with an inflatable ball, a hand pump, and a workout guide that targets all major muscle groups.

This particular model holds up to 600 pounds and even doubles as a chair when I need to work on my posture while answering emails from my kitchen table.

A snug waist pack for outdoor running

Not being able to go to the gym doesn't mean I can't get in a run outside — and this hip belt from VaporKrar is the perfect running companion. 

Running outside seems great until I realize I need to carry everything from water and keys to my smartphone and a pair of gloves (it gets chilly in Tahoe). Backpacks often don't sit flat on my back but a hip belt offers a much snugger fit.

The VaporKrar is form-fitting and elastic, so it hugs my hips without coming loose during high-energy runs. It has a pocket for my phone, snacks, and even a small jacket, and there are also loops to hold trekking poles whenever I go trail running.

To keep me hydrated, it comes with a flexible and leak-proof water bottle that sits in a designated pocket. This makes it easy to have quick access to water while running but doesn't bounce around as a traditional water bottle might.

This pack is unisex but Nathan makes a similar women's-specific option, too.

An ab roller to improve your core

Abdominal rollers look easy to use but after a few reps, you'll realize they're taxing your whole core.

As referenced by its name, an ab roller targets your abdominal muscles. By gripping either side of the wheel and rolling forward and back, it helps strengthen ab muscles in addition to back core muscles.

My favorite at-home ab roller is this package from Kamileo. It comes with a knee pad (which you'll need) as well as a jump rope, resistance bands, sliders for additional workouts, and guided instructions on how to use all the equipment. At just under $50, it's worth buying to keep on hand at home, even if you only use it once a week.

A foam roller to massage sore muscles

After using a foam roller even once, you'll wonder how you ever recovered after a workout without one. 

If you're used to walking to work or hitting the gym in the morning, staying at home more may cause your muscles to start feeling a bit tight and sore. That's where foam rollers come in — they work wonders in helping loosen tight muscles and relieving soreness.

This 321 Strong foam roller kit includes all the tools I need for massaging most major muscle groups. The kit also comes with two massage balls that are perfect for sore feet or for use during travel when I'm jammed into an airplane seat with minimal legroom. It's a great at-home tool and often recommended by personal trainers.

A gravity blanket to help you reset each night

A gravity blanket helps improve the quality of your nightly rest, allowing your body to properly recover and rehab after a grueling workout. 

An extra-heavy gravity blanket activates pressure points and simulates the feeling of being safely tucked in, which studies show improves your quality of sleep. Better sleep has a plethora of benefits ranging from better cognitive function to decreased irritability, so if working from home has you a bit stressed, consider giving one a try.

Gravity Blanket conducts and reports on its own sleep studies, with most users reporting that they fell asleep faster and felt more well-rested in the morning. If it's a good night's rest you seek, then you'll want to add a gravity blanket to your bed setup. 

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