So you’re ready to assemble your dream home gym when a question stops you in your tracks: “How do I choose a cardio machine?”
With thousands on the market, finding the right cardio machine can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack, and while all cardio machines are designed to keep your heart rate up, burn calories, and lose weight, not all are created equally.
Moreover, what works for someone else may not work for you. Before purchasing a cardio machine, you should consider:
- The kind of workout you want
- The benefits you wish to receive
- The muscles you want to target
- The price you’re willing to spend
Using four popular cardio machines as examples, let’s practice putting these considerations into action.
The elliptical is a nearly impact-free exercise machine that mimics the motions of running, walking, and climbing, making it the ideal cardio choice for those who are prone to injuries or have achy joints.
Moreover, ellipticals are multifunctional; adjustable incline adds variety to your workout and ensures you’ll never be bored, resistance levels allow for more control over your workout’s intensity, and upper body levers enable a full-body workout.
To use an elliptical, simply place your feet on the moveable pedals — which drive the motion of the machine — and push and pull the handles steadily. Your feet should remain in contact with the pedals for the duration of your workout.
The elliptical provides a low-impact cardio workout designed to build your strength and endurance while minimizing your risk of injury. Additional benefits include:
- Has variety
- Less stress on joints
- Quiet machinery
The elliptical provides a full-body workout, making it the ideal fitness machine for your home. The upper and lower body are targeted, as well as the abdominals. This includes your back, chest, hamstrings, quads, calves, glutes, and core.
Ranging from $150 to $500, the right elliptical for you depends on how much you’re willing to send and what you’re willing to go without. If you want extra comforts and additional features, a more expensive model may be for you. However, the workout remains the same despite which type you choose.
A staple in every fitness center or home gym, the treadmill is a straightforward cardio workout that enables the ease and convenience of walking or running daily.
In contrast to exercising outdoors, the treadmill’s ergonomic design, high stride frequency, and short stride length improve your form and reduces the impact on your body.
And although a treadmill is a great addition to any workout — especially when inclement weather occurs — it may not be for everyone. This machine facilitates weight-bearing exercise, i.e., aerobic exercise where your bones support your weight, meaning those who are overweight or prone to injuries should consider a safer option.
A treadmill workout is a popular cardiovascular exercise as it allows you to maintain a steady heart rate, making it the perfect warm-up for your routine. Other benefits include:
- Burns calories faster than other machines
- Softer surface than sidewalks or trails
- Workout control, e.g., speed and incline
The treadmill provides a full-body workout, with the leg and gluteal muscles primarily in use. When used correctly a treadmill will also engage the back, abdominals, and arm muscles, as well as improve posture.
While treadmills are an investment, they will save you money in the long run. Ultimately all treadmills serve the same function; opt for a basic model to receive the benefits of cardio.
3. Stationary Bike
A stationary bike is just that — a bicycle (minus the wheels) that remains in place. And although they can be uncomfortable for long stretches, this cardio machine is ideal for those who cannot tolerate weight-bearing exercise such as running or walking.
Moreover, a stationary bike is easy to use and comes equipped with a saddle, pedals, and handlebars.
Equipped with a saddle, pedals, and handlebars, a stationary bike is easy to use, and increasing the resistance strengthens your muscles and burns calories fast.
In contrast to riding outdoors, a stationary bike won't require you to dodge traffic and makes for a smooth ride. Additional benefits include:
- Low-impact exercise
- Fast calorie burner
- Easy mount and dismount
A stationary bike targets your lower body and legs, strengthening your hamstrings, calves, and quads. It can also engage the muscles in your upper body such as the shoulders, biceps, and triceps if the handles are in use.
When stationary bikes come to mind, a Peloton is probably what you’re picturing. But we’re not saying an effective workout requires expensive machinery. Moreover, there are plenty of bikes to choose from that won’t break the bank.
4. Rowing Machine
Often overlooked and hidden away in fitness centers, an indoor rower simulates the act of rowing in water and is a great alternative to the list above as its seated position keeps impact low and the strain on your joints to a minimum.
To row correctly, secure your feet on the foot bar or straps, grab the handle via a cable, push yourself back with your legs, and pull the handle to your chest. Next, coast forward and continue this fluid motion for the duration of your workout.
A rowing machine is the perfect blend of resistance training and cardio, making it essential for your home gym. In addition to increasing stamina and improving posture, benefits include:
- High intensity without the impact
- Can be meditative
- Small and easy to store
Contrary to popular belief, rowing machines not only engage your arms but also engage your lower body. Every fluid motion targets the hamstrings, calves, quads, glutes; as well as the abdominals, back, biceps, and triceps.
Relative to other cardio machines, a rowing machine is small and easy to store. won’t Although some rowing machines, e.g., a magnetic resistance machine, is pricey, you can still reap the benefits of a full-body workout with one that won't put a strain on your wallet.
Your TurnSo, which cardio machine should you choose for your home gym? The options really are limitless. However, if you want a seamless, worry-free transaction, take the time to consider the factors mentioned above before making your purchase. Once you’ve found the perfect piece of equipment for your needs, it will be smooth sailing from there! Have you chosen your cardio machine yet?
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