We’ve all got ’em: Those little things that make our lives so much better. Maybe it’s those jeans that fit just right or a soft, fluffy bath towel. Or maybe it’s the delicious cereal you hide from the family because you want to hog it for yourself (Nature’s Path Love Crunch, anyone?).
Being the fitness geek that I am, I have a few workout-related faves that bring a flutter of happiness to my heart. And, while I’m a bit stingy with my cereal stash, I’m generously sharing with you these things that make my exercise times a little sweeter, in hopes they can give your workouts a boost, too.
World Sport Agility Ladder
We originally bought a pair of these 6-foot agility ladders for our kids to improve their sports skills, but we soon found that our whole family loves them as a fun way to sneak in a workout. The drills can be as easy or as hard as you like—find a progression from super-simple to challenging here, or take turns making up your own. Just 15 minutes with the ladder can strengthen your heart, lungs, bones, muscles and brain, as you concentrate to move your body in specific patterns. Research shows agility ladders benefit not only athletes but also everyday joe schmoes and even elderly people looking to stay physically and mentally spry.
Jump roping is a genius way to stay in shape. In fact, one study found that 10 minutes of daily jump roping improves your cardiovascular abilities as efficiently as 30 minutes of daily jogging. Other research shows it can improve balance and motor coordination as well. The downside for people who work out at home: It requires high ceilings and doesn’t work well on carpet and other types of flooring. Plus, I prefer exercising barefoot, but jump roping without shoes can be brutal on your feet. Enter the Airope: two jump-rope handles with weighted rubber balls at the ends. They simulate regular jump roping, giving you the workout benefits without the troubles the rope itself causes.
This YouTube channel offers hundreds of free workouts of every stripe and color. You’re into yoga? It’s here. Want a 7-minute HIIT session? They’ve got it. Simply use the search box to find whatever it is you’re looking for, at any level. Type in “mobile” for smartphone-friendly videos. And once you find videos you like, you can also subscribe to that instructor’s YouTube channel for even more targeted workouts. Bookmark this site, and you never again have to be bored with the same ol’ workouts.
Kellee Katagi is one of those strange souls who actually enjoys working out for the sake of working out. She’s spent most of her 20-plus-year writing and editing career covering fitness, nutrition and travel, as well as outdoor sports ranging from skiing to spelunking to street luge (yes, that’s a thing).