The need for fitness equipment is a personal matter. If you are going to be doing most of your exercising at home you may want to consider purchasing some equipment to help you do certain exercises more easily, conveniently, and efficiently. If you plan to exercise at a health club, then you should make sure they have the type of equipment and facilities you want to use.
For home equipment , cost is usually a determining factor. Also,
the amount of space you have in your home has some bearing on the kind of equipment you might consider. And, the type of exercise program you are going to follow is another factor. Putting all of these considerations together will help you to make the best decision you can to get the most benefit from your exercise equipment and program.
Fitness equipment can be used for aerobic exercise, strength training, stretching, and balance exercises. All of these exercises can be done without purchasing expensive fitness equipment. It’s really up to you.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of fitness equipment you might want to consider. In most instances you will find that the various categories of equipment have a widely varying range of prices from relatively inexpensive to very expensive. If you are serious about your long term fitness and health you should get the best equipment you can afford.
You can research the various types of equipment on the Internet to help you get a feel for the different price ranges, quality, and features. It is best to do some research first and then find a few stores that specialize in fitness equipment to learn more about the products in person. Let me point out that the equipment at most specialty stores is usually high end, high quality, and high priced. The sales people in the specialty stores can tell you a lot about what to look for in good, quality equipment. If you want to make sure you get the best equipment you can afford I suggest that after you get a good education on what to look for, check out the regular sports stores, chain stores like Sears and Penny’s, and even the Internet to see what you can get that has the features you want for the best price.
Exercise balls, also known as fitness balls, Swiss balls, or balance balls, are one of the most useful workout tools available. Exercise balls are used predominantly for exercises to improve balance and for core exercises. They are very inexpensive, currently you can pick one up for $20 to $40. They usually come with a hand pump and some kind of exercise booklet and/or video. Make sure you get a good quality ball or it might not last too long.
A treadmill is a great investment in fitness. Studies have shown that people get more out of a treadmill than other fitness equipment, because it is natural to walk or run and you are more apt to stick with it for longer each session and keep using the equipment itself. Prices for treadmills are not inexpensive. They can start from as little as a few hundred dollars and go up to $5,000 and more. Here is a place where you don’t want to go cheap. The inexpensive units (under $1,000) won’t last very long, and they usually don’t have very many useful features. Do your homework!
Stationary Bikes (exercycles)
Stationary bikes have been around for many years, which can lead some people to think they are outdated or not as effective as newer types of fitness equipment. Stationary exercise bikes provide all the benefits of riding a bicycle. They provide a good aerobic workout, have much less impact on knees, hips and other joints than walking or running, don’t take up too much room, and can be used any time it’s convenient. The most comfortable exercise bikes are the recumbents. They allow you to sit in a more chair like position with a backrest and a larger seat cushion than a regular, upright bike. Prices for exercycles can run from $100 up to $1,500. Again, do your homework before you buy.
With so many different brands and models of gym equipment available it is quite a task to make the right choice. Gyms require a lot of space. Review your options and decide if you need a single-station gym or a multi-station setup with two workout areas. These are usually in the same price range as treadmills. They can start from as little as a few hundred dollars and go up to $5,000 and more. The inexpensive ones won’t last long, and they won’t give you many options.
Dumbbell exercise or free-weight training has numerous advantages compared to working out on a machine. Done correctly, dumbbell exercises are extremely safe, improve your strength, stabilize your muscles and help you develop a better posture and physique. This equipment is generally pretty inexpensive. Individual pairs of dumbbells can cost as little as $5. But keep in mind that you will need several sets of dumbbells for different exercises. It is usually a better idea to buy them in sets, or get the newer ones that have add on plates. You could pay up to $400 for a complete set with it’s own storage rack.
Elliptical machines have surged in popularity since their introduction to the fitness scene in the late 90s. The innovative elliptical motion of the foot pedals lets the user experience a smooth, rolling sensation without any impact. They take up about as much room as a treadmill, and costs run about the same.
Anyone who has tried strengthening his or her abs with standard sit-ups or crunches will agree that this type of exercise is not much fun. The best ab machines not only strengthen and firm your abdominal muscles but also help prevent neck and back injuries while exercising. This piece of equipment is relatively inexpensive, running from about $20 to $150, depending on it’s complexity.
Heart monitors really are designed to perform one main function – measure and display your current heart rate. However, there are dozens of other ‘bells and whistles’ that are available. Because of the “bells and whistles”, prices go from $40 to $300, depending on what you want and are willing to spend.
“Exercise band” is a generic term for any rubber tubing or flat band device used for strength training. When strength training, a force is applied to your body that’s greater than normal. This force can be provided by machines, your own body weight, free weights (dumbbells, barbells) or rubber resistance. Your body can’t tell the difference if this force is from metal or rubber: your muscles, bones and connective tissue will respond by getting stronger. Bands are a great choice if you have limited space or you travel. With a little ingenuity, they can be used to duplicate almost any exercise that can be done with weights. And, when coupled with and exercise ball, they can be used to create some great workout routines. They are very inexpensive, $10 – $20 for a set of several different strengths. I carry a set with me whenever I travel.