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HomeHomes
Published: Friday, 11/7/2008

Build Out Your Basement, Tone Up Your Body

(ARA) - Did you know there's a home improvement project that not only enhances your home's value and your enjoyment of your house, but can also improve your health by toning up your body? Finishing a basement to make space for a home gym is a popular trend in home improvement, and it's not limited to large, expensive homes.

With nearly 26 million people choosing to exercise at home, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association (SGMA), is it any wonder that the National Association of Home Builders reports that a third of homebuyers cite a home fitness room as necessary or desirable? The number of people choosing to exercise at home, rather than in a fitness club, increased 30 percent between 2000 and 2006, according to Mike May, director of communications, of SGMA.

Aside from finding the time to exercise, finding the space is the biggest challenge of working out at home. While many new custom-built homes are being constructed with space dedicated to home gyms, having an older or more modest home doesn't mean you can't create a home gym.

"If you don't want a treadmill sitting in your bedroom or free weights in the living room, a finished basement can be the ideal solution for workout space challenges," Scott Kranz of Certified Home Improvement in Cincinnati, Ohio says. "In fact, a home gym is the third most popular remodel of a basement."

If you're considering creating a home exercise space in your basement, keep these pointers in mind:

* You don't need a lot of space. Many contractors who are installing exercise rooms in homes report that the facilities are usually about the size of an average bedroom -- around 12 feet by 12 feet.

* You don't need a lot of money. Industry pros report that the average cost of converting a basement into a home gym is less than the average cost of the other two most popular remodels -- kitchens and baths.

* Finishing a basement can be a complex and difficult job, and unless you're a well seasoned do-it-yourselfer with a lot of carpentry experience, you're probably better off hiring a pro to do the job for you. One of the quickest and easiest ways to finish your basement is with a finishing system. A specially trained professional installs wall panels with built-in thermal and acoustic insulation around the room. The panels are mold and mildew resistant, and are durable, dent- and stain-resistant as well. Best of all, instead of the months-long disruption and mess of a traditional drywall remodel, you can have your home gym up and running in about two weeks.

* Windows are nice, but not necessary. In a basement setting, you may find it more beneficial to hang a high-quality flat screen TV. "That way, while you're working out you can tune in to your favorite nature show, sporting event or workout program," says May. "You can choose the scene and mood on your high-tech 'window,' rather than settling for the same view from a regular window."

* Keep it simple, with a few comforting touches. "You don't need to recreate a fitness club in your basement in order to get a good workout," May says. Choose equipment that you know you'll use and that fits your space well. Throw in a mini-fridge to keep your water cool, and you're ready to tone up in the comfort of your own home. Courtesy of ARAcontent



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