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Home Exercise Equipment

How to buy exercise equipment for your home

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Updated December 29, 2006

If you want to buy fitness equipment for your home but don't know where to start it's a good idea to visit a specialty fitness retailer or exercise equipment dealer who understands exercise, answers your questions, demonstrates the proper use of equipment and lets you take a test run (or bike) before you buy.

If you know what you want, you can often find the best price on equipment by shopping online.

The biggest challenge is often deciding which product is the right one for you. Consider your experience with various equipment, your interests and attention span, the space available in your home, and your fitness level. Also ask the following questions before you buy anything:

  • What is my current fitness level now and what is my goal? Will this equipment take me there?
  • What's my budget?
  • Do I enjoy this activity enough to actually use the equipment?
  • How much space do I have for the equipment?
  • Is it safe for me to use alone?
  • Will anyone else use it?
  • Does it have a warranty?
  • How much time will I exercise on this equipment?
  • Will I get bored using this equipment?
  • How does it compare to other exercise equipment?.
  • What sort of maintenance does it require?
  • How long will it last?

Exercise Equipment Choices

Treadmills are a popular piece of aerobic equipment for home use. Treadmills let you to walk or run at any time in any weather. When purchasing a treadmill, look for a solid, smooth action, a steady pace, wide belt, safety shut off, and incline settings. Quality models range from $1500 and up. Make sure any treadmill you consider is built to withstand a substantial load , as running on a treadmill creates a great deal of force. Treadmills do require maintenance, so you should learn about the warranty and find out what local customer service is available. (See: Treadmill Sales and Service).

Elliptical trainers offer a comfortable, non-impact exercise activity that almost anyone can do. You can work at a high or low intensity so it's good for all fitness levels. It is currently the moist popular item in health clubs. Try several models before you buy.

Stationary bikes are widely used home exercise equipment. They offer a non-impact cardiovascular workout and are great for overweight or new exercisers. They primarily use the muscles of the legs and buttocks. Bikes come in a variety of price ranges. Generally speaking a high caliber bike will cost $500 to $1000.

Recumbent cycles give more support to the lower back and minimize the stress on the knees compared with an upright bicycle. Recumbents provide a cardiovascular workout that uses the muscles of the gluteus, quadriceps and hamstrings.

Step machines use primarily the lower body in an aerobic capacity. Finding a high quality step machine can be expensive, however. Steppers give a good workout aerobically, strengthen and build the lower body muscles, and are low impact.

Cross country ski machines can provide a full body workout for cardiovascular and muscle endurance, however, they can be difficult to master. Before buying a ski machine, you should definitely try it out. These take some practice to use well and are best for experienced exercisers who want a challenging workout.

Rowing Machines are good for those who desire a whole body workout, but have limited space. Rowing uses both the upper and lower body for aerobic exercise. Proper technique on a rowing machine is important in order to avoid back strain.

Resistance equipment is a good compliment to any home aerobic fitness equipment. The two most widely recognized kinds of weight equipment are home gyms or multi-stations and free weights. Free weights are reasonably prices and require little space. They also require greater instruction and supervision for proper use, and are more likely to cause injury. Home gyms or multi-stations are a major purchase, and the price often reflects the quality of the machine.

Many other fitness gadgets are available on the internet or as seen on TV. These items are often not of the highest quality or the magic bullet they claim to be. It's important to spend enough time trying the piece of exercise equipment and be sure that you will use the equipment before you buy it. Once you've made that purchase, protect your investment and follow the manufacturers’ maintenance suggestions.

The bottom line is this: Any piece of exercise equipment is a good choice if you use it. If you don't use it, the most expensive, top of the line item is worthless. You are the only one who can truly determine the value of your purchase and the results you get with your new exercise equipment.

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