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How You Can Get Great Results From Home-Based ExerciseThis article is a 7 min read

I’m often asked, why hire a personal trainer to come to my home when I can go to the local gym? As an exercise physiologist & lifestyle counselor who has 25 years of work experience in clinical and recreational fitness I know the data but my quick answer to the question is that home-based exercise provides – privacy-personalized attention, convenience, and time savings.

The purpose of this article is to review and educate you, my reader, to some basic data on the effectiveness of home exercise. It is beyond the scope of this article to provide an in-depth review of specific populations or methods and you are referred to the references cited.

Home-based Exercise is Well Documented

For many years exercise has been well documented as a model for prevention and treatment of various conditions including cardiovascular disease, pulmonary problems, 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, some cancers, arthritis, osteoporosis, mental health and mood and more. It has been associated with a reduced risk of death (individuals who exercise live longer) and leads to greater levels of fitness for all age groups and populations. In older adults, it increases the ability to perform activity of daily living (22).

Many people associate exercise with fitness centers. In 2012 health club memberships climbed to over 50.2 million members (9). Fitness centers provide members a meeting place for exercise both individual and group, they provide varying forms of instruction, from none to individualized personal training. Some provide medically-based fitness and rehabilitation.

Based on health, the level of comfort, and personal preference some individuals may not want to exercise at an outpatient or fitness center. The question then is home based exercise a viable option for individuals who are apparently healthy, high-risk and with a known disease?

Home-based Exercise Programs are Effective Medically

The data evaluating home-based exercise has been derived examining clinical and healthy populations. Numerous studies suggest that home-based cardiac rehabilitation is effective and safe for stable patient populations. The studies looking at cardiac rehabilitation indicate that home-based rehabilitation was as equally effective as outpatient programs in regards to functional capacity, weight control, risk reduction, quality of life, lowered hospital admission rates and was superior in regards to long-term exercise compliance (4, 5, 10, 12, 13, 16, 18).

In a variety of studies, home-based exercise for cancer patients was also an effective method of improving health and wellness (11, 17). Other populations in which home-based exercise was found to be effective in the treatment and secondary prevention are arthritis, total hip replacement, diabetes, postpartum depressed women, low back pain, and mood and anxiety (2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 14, 15, 19, 20).

Good For Fitness and Weight Loss

In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a healthy population of older adults were assessed comparing fitness improvements in community group exercise vs. home-based exercise. In the study, both populations experienced improvements in physical fitness. The authors concluded, “home-based exercise was as effective as group exercise in producing these changes” (1).

In another study comparing group exercise to home-based exercise obese subjects were assessed for weight loss and exercise compliance. The authors concluded that “At 12 months, the home-based program showed superior performance to the group condition in exercise participation and treatment adherence; at 15 months, participants in the home program demonstrated significantly greater weight losses than those in the group program” (21).

Maybe Give It a Try?

In summary, home-based exercise is a viable alternative to gym/outpatient programs. Home-based exercise is as effective across a wide range of health concerns as supervised gym/outpatient programs. Data indicates that home-based programs, especially when supervised, led to greater long-term compliance. Given this, using home-based personal training and lifestyle coaching is an effective intervention for a wide variety of people and patients to reach clinical, fitness and wellness goals and given it may lead to long-term adherence it is superior.


References

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