Saturday, March 24th, 2018

What’s the Best Fitness Equipment For Use in the Home?


Workout NowThe best fitness equipment is the type that’s going to help you achieve your goals – and be suited to your home environment. We’ve listed below a list of questions, in no particular order of importance, that you need to answer for before you buy a piece of home fitness equipment.

Have a go at these:-

1. How much do you want to spend?

You have to justify to yourself (and maybe your family) the amount you’re about to commit to achieving your goal. How much you spend can also be a factor in whether you’ll succeed.

For example, if you’ve spend £500 on an exercise bike you’ll probably be more motivated to use it than if it cost £75. A more expensive piece of kit will usually be easier and more comfortable to use and have a better specification than a cheaper model.

If you’re budget is less than £200 your choice is limited to either an exercise bike or elliptical cross trainer. For this price any treadmill, vibration trainer or rowing machine isn’t going to be up to much unless you buy second hand – which comes with its own risk.

2. How much room do you have?

You need to know that the fitness equipment you buy is going to fit through your front door and then be practical to use either as a permanent fixture or be easy to fold up and store out of the way.

Many elliptical trainers and treadmills fold up into quite a reasonable size for storage but may be cumbersome to move from your storage space to the room you’ll be using it. If it’s a bit awkward are you really going to use it if you’re a bit tired and don’t want the hassle of moving it?

Also consider where you’ll be using your kit. Many people opt for the garage but in the cold winter months is it a good place to spend half an hour or more? Will you disturb the rest of the family if you’re going to use it in the lounge when they’re trying to watch TV? Ellipticals, vibration trainers and bikes are usually quieter than treadmills and rowers but are you going to be puffing, blowing and dripping sweat every where?

3. How often will you use it?

You may only be using your machine for two hours a week and therefore a lower priced model could be sufficient for your needs. All machines have parts that will need replacing at some point with use. If you’re going to be training for two hours a day then you really should look to spend more on a machine that has a good guarantee and reputation for reliability.

A machine that breaks down is not going to get you fit! Decide how much time you’re going to devote to your training and be realistic about what to expect from a bit of kit. For instance, if a treadmill costs £250 and only has a 12 month guarantee it’s not the best buy for someone training to run a marathon. Note that some manufacturers stipulate a recommended maximum hours usage per week.

4. How many people will be using it?

Many machines have a multi profile feature that allows you to store the training information for more than one user. This can be a good motivator as you can track your progress and hopefully see your fitness improve in terms of times and distances.

5. What’s your goal?

If you’re training for a marathon then it’s obvious a treadmill is better than a rowing machine or bike – although you should also be including road running. If weight loss is your main priority then you have a number of options.

If you’re very overweight an elliptical trainer is probably your best option. It puts no strain on your joints, works both the upper and lower body, and is good for burning calories. You can also start with a gentle work out and build up your fitness – please check the maximum user weight first or you may invalidate the warranty.

An exercise bike is also good if you’re seriously overweight but will not use as many calories as an elliptical – again check the maximum user weight before you buy.

If you’re looking to get fit then a treadmill will work you harder than any other bit of kit and often allows for more variation in the training which prevents boredom.

For many time is a problem so maybe a vibration trainer is your best option. These are the latest in fitness equipment technology and are very good for toning up or rebuilding strength after an illness or injury.

Rowing Machines remain a popular option for those who don’t have the space for a treadmill (or don’t like running) but still want to improve fitness. By changing the resistance on a rower you can also build strength. The rowing action will work all your major muscles and if done correctly is very safe.

6. What type is best suited to meet my needs?

The best fitness equipment to meet your needs is therefore a combination of all the above. The most important thing to consider is – are you going to use it week in week out? If you do then it will help you achieve your goals. If you don’t then it won’t – simple as that.

If you don’t like running don’t buy a treadmill. If you’ve never tried rowing, visit a showroom or gym and use one to see if you like the action.

Boredom is the greatest threat to achieving your goal, so if you think you’ll get fed up cycling in your home then get a bike with a TV, iPod port or some of the other fancy features available these days.

If seeing progress is a motivator buy a machine with an advanced console that will record your achievements. Some manufacturers including Tunturi and Life Fitness have software you can download to your PC that will record and display your progress over time.

Roy Palmer is a teacher of The Alexander Technique and has studied performance enhancement in sport for the last 10 years. In 2006 he published a book called ‘Zone Mind, Zone Body’ about how to achieve a peak performance more often. He’s also a bit of an ‘anorak’ when it comes to fitness equipment and gadgets. To more about finding the right kit for home use see Fitness Equipment Reviews.

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