Home aerobic exercise machines are available to meet any fitness level and
can be used day or night. Before investing in any exercise machine, however,
it is wise to test it out first at a gym, especially with supervised training
to reduce the risk of injury. Read reviews of various brands in fitness magazines
and on the Internet.
Very inexpensive exercise machines tend to be flimsy and hard to adjust, but
many sturdy machines are available at moderate prices. The higher-end models
may have computers to record calories burned, speed, and mileage. While their
readouts may provide motivation and gauge the intensity of a workout, they
are not always accurate. You might also consider buying a used machine, because
it is common for people to buy a machine and then sell it when they realize
they aren't getting much use from it. Of course, you can't return it if there's
Also, realize that there are very affordable ways to perform aerobic exercise.
Shelling out money for an expensive machine may not have any impact on whether
you actually exercise, although you might be tempted to think it will. A simple
jump rope improves aerobic endurance for people who are able to perform high-impact
exercise, and an aerobics stepping board and accompanying videotape will also
give you a good workout. (Jumping rope should be done on surfaces that have
some give to avoid joint injury. A good floor mat is important to provide cushioning
for all home exercises.)
For burning calories, the treadmill has been ranked best, followed by stair
climbers, the rowing machine, cross-country ski machine, and stationary bicycle.
Elliptical trainers are also great for elevating your heart rate, burning
calories, and increasing oxygen consumption.
Stationary bikes and stair climbers condition leg muscles. Stationary bikes
are fairly economical and easy to use safely. The pedals should turn smoothly,
the seat height should adjust easily, and the bike's computer should be able
to adjust intensity. Stair machines offer very intense, low-impact workouts
and may be as effective as running with less chance of injury. Rowing and cross-country
ski machines exercise both the upper and lower body.
Unlike aerobic exercise, strength training almost always requires some equipment.
Strength-training equipment does not, however, have to cost much either. Dumbbells
and resistance bands are inexpensive, portable, and effective.
Ankle weights strengthen and tone muscles in the lower body. (Such wearable
weights should not be worn during high-impact aerobics or jumping.) Handgrips
strengthen arms and are good for relieving tension.
A pull-up bar can be mounted in a doorway for chin-ups and pull-ups. More
elaborate and expensive home equipment for working body muscles is also available.
Review Date: 3/12/2007
Reviewed By: Benjamin W. Van Voorhees, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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