No gym, no pain: How to get fit in your backyard

Wednesday August 12 2020

Jogging on the stairs or using them as support for different workouts helps many keep fit even without gym. PHOTO | ABUBAKER LUBOWA

Staying home and not being able to get to the gym was frustrating for many sportsmen whose physical fitness matters if they are to succeed in their careers.

Weighed down by the little pay and a great deal of responsibilities, most sports men and women cannot afford gyms and fitness training equipment in their homes.

Worse still, only a few can afford the luxury of having front and backyards from where they can do all the running or set up football pitches, basketball hoops, and swimming pools, among other fitness and training facilities.
This calls for the optimal use of the affordable features in their homes so as to acquire the desired fitness levels.

Mary Nuba, a Ugandan professional netball player with English side Loughborough Lightning, says a lot of physical exercises can be done individually at home despite the size of your house.
“I don’t have a garden and I have been doing cardio with strength and conditioning fitness from my house as guided by my coaches via WhatsApp,” she says.

Meanwhile Baker Mwesigwa a self-employed engineer, says there is nothing like having special features on a house for fitness training, instead home owners be it sportsmen or lay people are free to use their houses in the desirable way.
For that matter, Daily Monitor brings you some of the important features that should be considered by a sportsman as well as fitness lovers while setting up homes.

Regardless of the size, a lot of fitness activities can be done from the veranda. A veranda can be used for press-ups, stretches and yoga, among others. Elizabeth Mwesigwa a para-badminton player has been doing fitness drills from a veranda. She says it is the most suitable workout area given her congested house.
“I firmly place my hands on a step directly under my shoulders, then push my toes onto the floor and extend my legs. This helps me to strengthen my arms and stomach muscles,” she said.


The shed and balcony are normally spacious compared to verandas and a lot of fitness activities can be done with ease from them. Besides the luxury of balistairs and bars that balance and support the body while stretching, the shed and balcony have enough room for dancing, doing push-ups, yoga, running and squats among others.

“I do barre on a mat under my shed, it helps me to strengthen my essential muscles, improving my blood circulatory system, and boosting my balance as a swimmer,” says Carl Murungi, a swimmer at Rainbow International School.

“One can never go wrong with exercising on stairs. With stairs, you do not need to buy expensive equipment but you simply walk or run up and down depending on your vigour and the level of fitness desired,” says Herbert Kalungi a fitness trainer and coach at Sparks Boxing Academy.

He adds that running on stairs requires more focus, more control, and more muscles to perform well. Plus, you don’t have to join a gym or buy an expensive fitness equipment for yourself. If one stays in a storied apartment, the set of stairs on the building can be a good start.
Stair climbing helps to strengthen and tone your leg muscles. It keeps your leg arteries flexible, allowing blood to move more easily.

Kitchen and bathroom counters
Apart from being used as work surfaces, kitchens and bathroom countertops are good support when one is doing press-ups and stretches to keep hands, legs and stomach muscles in shape
“I do L-sits and triceps dips on the counters in my kitchen and bathroom. I also do lung stretches and poses on my bathroom counters. It is always fun,” says Murungi.
However, she advises that you must push aside the usual constituents on the counters before you embark on your fitness routine or you will mess up the kitchen.

Sitting room
The living room is among the spacious places in a home and thus, cannot go unutilised. A lot of physical exercises ranging from squats to sit-ups can be done in the living room space. Besides, the coffee table as well as the couch can also help support your body while doing press-ups, stretches, and sit-ups among others.
“I credit my living room for my fitness. I do jumping, stretching, push-ups all of which have kept me in shape during the lockdown,” Nuba says.