Tips for Buying Best Home Exercise Equipment

man riding stationary cycle at home
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If you don't know much about the equipment you want to purchase, your first stop should be at a specialty fitness retailer or exercise equipment dealer that has sales staff who understand exercise and can answer questions and demonstrate the proper use of equipment. If you know what you want, you can often find the best price on equipment by shopping online.

Questions to Ask Before Buying

Often, the biggest challenge is deciding which fitness product is the right one. A piece of home fitness equipment should be selected based on the anatomy, interests, and fitness level of the user. In general, you should ask and answer the following questions before you buy:

  • What is my current fitness level now and what is my goal?
  • How much do I want to spend?
  • Do I enjoy this activity? Will this activity help me get fit for other activities I enjoy?
  • How much space do I have for the equipment?
  • Is this item safe for me to use?
  • Does this item 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?.
  • Will anyone else use the equipment?

Top Picks

Treadmills are a popular piece of aerobic equipment for home use. Treadmills allow you to walk, or run indoors regardless of the time of day or 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.

Elliptical trainers offer a comfortable, non-impact exercise activity that almost anyone can do. The movement is horizontally oval. You can adjust the intensity or keep the movement easy for the very sedentary. It is currently the most popular item in health clubs and you may want to try out several models before selecting one.

Stationary bikes are widely used home exercise equipment. They offer a non-impact cardiovascular workout and are great for the overweight or sedentary person just starting to exercise. 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 and free weights. Free weights are reasonably priced and require little space. They also require greater instruction and supervision for proper use because they're more likely to cause injury. Home gyms or multi-stations are a major purchase, and the price often reflects the quality of the machine.

Cautions and Advice for Making a Good Purchase

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 most user-friendly. Be cautioned before believing the hype generated by the latest fad. 

Spend enough time trying the piece of exercise equipment that you can be confident that it does all that it claims to so. Also, be sure that it works for you, and you would really be comfortable and enjoy using the equipment before you buy it. Once you've made that purchase, protect your investment and follow the manufacturers’ maintenance suggestions.

The Bottom Line

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, state of the art item is worthless to you. Remember, you are the only one who can truly determine the quality of your purchase and the results you get with your new exercise equipment.

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