By Carrie Elizabeth Summers, MS, CES,CPT

Is shaping up at the top of your list of resolutions? Welcome to the club! Women all over the Triangle are investing in home exercise equipment and gym memberships in an effort to reach their objectives.


But what if you don't need to spend buckets of cash to buy personal machines? What if you can get to your exercise facility in just a few seconds? What if it were open 24/7? What if you felt comfy, cozy and completely at home there?


In short, what if you can get fit for free?


It's not too good to be true. Just use what you have in your own home to work out. It may, in fact, be the smartest route to well-being, research shows.


In one study, those with a home exercise machine were 73 percent more likely to start working out. But, by the end of the year, they were also 12 percent more likely to have quit than people in the study who didn't have equipment. Turns out, the most important factor is motivation.


It may be tough to muster the motivation to leave your home and head for the gym at 6 a.m. in cold weather. It may be impossible to find a babysitter so you can have enough time to hit the jogging track.


So, set yourself up for success! Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, but remember that it can be broken up into several 10-minute bouts. Keep your goals realistic and enlist the support of friends and family.


Here are a few tips that can help turn what you have in your abode into a personal gym:


Start with technology
Most of us have a smartphone, tablet, computer or all of the above. Draw on these resources! YouTube features full-workout videos that you can stream and do at your leisure. You can also find exercise routines on Google, Pinterest and MyFitnessPal as well as apps like Nike Training Club and YogaDownload.


Try bodyweight exercises
These moves capitalize on your body's weight for resistance, with no equipment needed. There are tons of bodyweight exercises out there that require nothing but you. Some examples are familiar standards: pushups, squats, lunges, abdominal crunches and calf raises.


Use the furniture
The dresser and the desk can become multi-purpose for assisting in your exercise routine. Borrow a sturdy chair to do squats or a stable coffee table for tricep dips. Rely on your sofa to assist you with stretching. (Yes, there is something called the "couch stretch.") You can also press furniture into service to help modify certain exercises.


Crunch in your kitchen
Recruit your counter or chair as a base for pushups, squats and dips. Lift soup cans in a bicep curl. Execute a drill with gallon jugs of water. (Just make sure they're fully closed or you might have a shower, too!) The possibilities are endless and include moves that'll actually clean the area, too!


Go cardio crazy
You can engage in cardiovascular exercises anywhere, anytime! Jog in place, briskly walk from room to room, perform jumping jacks, or follow interesting suggestions you discover online. Make sure you have enough space to do what you need. Household chores, from washing widows to doing the laundry, can count, too!


Turn on the music
Fire up your favorite tunes and get moving! Put on the music stations on your T.V. or use apps, such as Pandora and Spotify, to get you going. Dancing around the living room is a fantastic calorie-burner!


Find a fitness buddy
A neighbor or family member can get involved. Either set up a regular schedule together or, on days when your motivation is low, grab your partner for a quick workout. By now, everyone knows that fitness doesn't happen only at the gym.