It's no secret that exercise is a way to release tension and foster a greater sense of personal serenity. That being the case, shouldn't the environment we work out in be designed in a way that promotes peaceful feelings?
Enter feng shui, the 4,000-year-old Chinese art of designing interiors to obtain health and happiness. According to Simon Brown, author of Essential Feng Shui, the energy or "chi" of a place affects a person's well-being.
Whether your home gym consists of an entire room filled with state-of-the-art equipment, a stationery bike in your basement, or at present exists only in your imagination, check out these tips for creating the best setting to enhance your workout and help you reach your fitness goals.
When setting up or redesigning your home gym, you want to avoid unfavorable chi. Negative chi is emitted from artificial lighting, synthetic fibers, and air conditioning. It is believed that negative chi leads to mental and physical exhaustion.
If possible, put your home gym in an area of the house that gets an abundance of natural light. If you have to use artificial light in the space, use incandescent lights and avoid fluorescents. According to Brown's feng shui principles, incandescent light increases chi while fluorescent light emits electric radiation.
You can't avoid the synthetics cushions that come attached to exercise machines, but you can fill the rest of your home gym with mats, fabrics, and carpeting made of animal skins and natural fibers. If you need to cool the space, opt for fans.
Brown also warns us to shy away from "slow-moving chi," because it is believed to "slow personal chi energies and leads to health problems." To avoid this problem in your perfectly feng shui-ed home gym, watch out for dark corners or cluttered areas.
To keep clutter to a minimum, avoid storing or placing extraneous objects in the space. If an office or storage room doubles as your workout center, cover open cabinets and stacking cubes by tacking uniform, solid white textiles over the openings. Even neatly stored, uncovered items can interrupt the flow of chi—it's best to keep them out of view.
Just as you have to avoid slowing chi, Brown also suggests that you be weary of "fast-flowing chi." When chi moves too quickly down long corridors and straight paths, its flow destabilizes. It is believed that fast-moving chi heads straight at you, making you feel insecure and under attack.
To slow chi to a healthy pace, stagger your workout machines, which allows chi to curve in and out of them. Use furniture with rounded edges and bushy plants to break up any straight paths.
When choosing a color scheme, include colors that are considered to be energizing and strengthening to most feng shui gurus: yellow, red, black, purple, and green. White is always acceptable by feng shui standards, because it reflects all light back into rooms.
Now that you know how to set up a home gym brimming with positive chi, you may just find that feng shui has the power to entice you to exercise more.