If you’re shopping for an exercise machine, the best advice we can offer is that the best possible machine is the one that you’ll actually use – exercise machines comes in many shapes and forms.
Far too often, we buy a piece of exercise equipment with the best of intentions, and then it ends up being used as a very expensive device for drying laundry.
Of course, finding a piece of equipment that you genuinely want to use can be difficult.
There are so many different workout machines:
- Stair steppers
- Stationary bikes
- Rowing machines
- Elliptical machines
How do you possibly choose?
What Should an Exercise Machine Do For You?
Ideally, you should select a device that’s going to give you a decent cardiovascular workout.
Strength-building might also be considered.
Are you looking to lose weight, enhance your overall fitness level, or just achieve a workout that’s going to allow you to retain flexibility of movement while impacting your joints as little as possible? If your aim is weight loss, treadmills are fantastic for burning calories. Elliptical training equipment is good for a low-impact workout. Virtually any type of exercise equipment will help you to improve your general fitness.
So again, we’re basically back to finding a machine that you’ll be willing to use.
Let’s talk about what you can expect from a variety of different types of exercise equipment that are available.
1: Stationary Bikes
If you’re looking for a workout that has very little joint impact, the stationary bike is even lower-impact than elliptical equipment.
In fact, there’s so little joint impact with a stationary bike, it could almost be considered to be a no-impact form of exercise. For this reason, the stationary bike can be a near-perfect piece of exercise equipment for a person who is afflicted with knee pain.
However, problems can occur if the rider is not properly fitted to the bike.
If a person is sitting too low on the bike, their knees are going to flex more than is desirable while they’re pedaling. This can put a great deal of pressure on the knee, and result in a significant degree of soreness. Also, the leg doesn’t get to experience a full range of motion, and if weight loss is part of the goal of the exercise program, the rider isn’t going to use up as many calories as they would if the seat were properly adjusted. Since riding a stationary bike is one of the least effective methods of burning calories, improper adjustment simply exacerbates the problem.
Ideally, the seat should be adjusted in such a way that when the rider has the ball of their foot on the pedal, the knee bends no more than ten degrees.
2: Elliptical Cardio Machines
An elliptical machine is second only to the stationary bike in terms of delivering little impact to the joints.
There are many different manufactures of ellipticals, such as:
Ellipticals deliver a full-body workout, as opposed to bikes or treadmills which work only the lower part of the body.
Ellipticals are ideal for increasing your overall fitness level, and if part of the goal is weight loss, the fact that you’re using quite a bit of muscle mass during your workout (you’ll be in a standing position) means that you’ll burn more calories than you would with many other devices.
3: Treadmills Exercise Machines
Of all the cardiovascular workouts you can do, spending time on the treadmill burns the most calories, assuming that you’re moving at a brisk walk.
Like the elliptical machines, treadmills can be used by anyone at any fitness level, and they also share the elliptical’s adjustability – treadmills and ellipticals can both be adapted to varying levels of fitness by adjusting the incline, or increasing the speed.
Unlike ellipticals, though, treadmills will have an impact on the joints – people with joint pain may be very uncomfortable using a treadmill.
Another possible disadvantage to a treadmill is that it can be challenging for someone who isn’t accustomed to exercise, or who has been a long time between workouts – balance problems can occur.
4: Rowing Cardio Exercise Machines
Rowing machines can provide the user with a very challenging workout.
They require a significant level of coordination, because it’s necessary to pull with your arms at the same time that you’re pushing with your legs. You also have to use your abdominal muscles for back support.
In terms of calorie-burning, it’s hard to top a rowing machine. However, unless a person already has a moderate level of fitness, using a rowing machine can cause a good deal of discomfort.
Particularly if a person is overweight, a rowing machine can deliver the type of workout that causes a fair bit of back pain.
What Do You Think?
Now that you have some general knowledge of various types of exercise equipment, do you have an idea as to what you might purchase?
Remember, whatever you decide, spend some time trying out the equipment before you buy in order to avoid making an expensive mistake.