If you’ve stepped into any commercial gym, you’ve seen the array of treadmills, ellipticals, stair climbers, and more.
There’s a reason why gyms carry so many of them and why all trainers incorporate them into their programs… because they work.
And there’s so many of them out there.
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With all of these choices, you may be asking yourself, “Which cardio machine do I choose?”
There are a ridiculous amount of cardio machines on the market.
Some familiar and some not so familiar.
You have your traditional treadmills, bikes, crazy stair climbers, rowers, and ellipticals.
Then you have the interesting machines like the Krankcycle® or the outdoor elliptical bike.
If you’re shopping for one but can’t decide, we’ve created this guide to hopefully point you in the right direction and help you find the best cardio machine for your home.
SOME OF THE BEST CARDIO MACHINES
Whether you’re walking, running, biking, climbing… if it involves cardio, chances are there’s a machine that simulates it.
There are plenty to choose from and they can get pretty pricey so when you’re shopping for one, it’s important to select one that you’ll enjoy.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular cardio machines out there:
Treadmills are and always will remain the most popular cardio machine among fitness enthusiasts.
It’s simple to use and lets the user control all aspects of the workout.
Similar to running or walking outdoors, treadmills provide added benefits including convenience and safety factors.
If you are new to fitness, you can to start off walking and as you progress, you can increase the speed and incline to adapt to your improved endurance and strength.
Many of the newer treadmills are outfitted with virtually everything a runner needs for a safe and effective exercise.
They’re quieter and have stronger motors that can propel even the heaviest of users. They even come with more shock absorption. This helps eliminate the concerns many have with the negative effects that come with continuous impact on the treadmills.
There are countless treadmills available on the market and selecting one can be a major headache. This is one of those categories where you truly get what you pay for so you really want to do your homework when shopping for the best treadmill.
If indoor cycles are more your forte, you’re probably already aware of its heart-pumping benefits. But for those who just need a reminder, here’s a list of a few:
- Cardio – Cardio alone provides tremendous amount of benefits. Depending on how long and how aggressively you ride, you’ll likely keep your heart rate elevated.
- Calorie Burn – You won’t burn a significant amount but if you pedal hard, you expect to burn anywhere between 400 to 600 calories in one hour.
- Low Impact – Indoor cycling is surprisingly low impact. By watching spin classes, you would think people would come out with sore joints and throbbing knees.
- Lowers Stress – Like most high-intensity workouts, you get euphoric sensation after you finish.
Indoor cycles have a large price range. They can start around $200 and extend over $2000.
The more expensive models tend to have more advanced mechanical and/or digital features.
For instance, some manufacturers designed their indoor cycles with live or on demand classes availabe on monitors that come with the bikes.
Others focused more on functionality to give the user (rider) a more realistic feel.
It’s all a matter of preference.
Bikes are excellent exercise machines and like the treadmills, are great alternatives to the real thing….
…..No more bad weather…..
…..Just hop on, turn on the TV or read a book while using it.
The third most common fitness machine is the elliptical.
Also referred to as a cross trainer, the elliptical is an excellent alternative to the treadmill as it simulates walking and running while providing an upper body workout and more importantly, is less stressful on the joints and spine.
On some models you’ll have multiple features/options including the ability to go forward or backward to target different muscle groups, adjust the resistance to set the level of intensity, or even adjust the stride length.
Because of its advantages over other cardio machines, more and more people who suffer from knee, hip, or lower back injuries are starting turn to ellipticals.
Not as popular as the previously mentioned, rowing machines, aka, ergometer, are incredibly effective on your entire body.
Virtually all of the main muscle groups are targeted and depending on your level of intensity, you can concentrate your workouts on cardio or strength training.
Some of the best rowing machines offer a couple of ways to set the resistance.
Through the damper setting, a lever that adjusts the air flow into housing, or by the intensity of the rower. The harder and faster the rower pulls, the higher the intensity level.
The rowing machine is probably one of the top ways to get an intense cardiovascular workout and torch calories making it an increasingly favorable cardio machine.
SO WHY ARE CARDIO MACHINES SO EFFECTIVE?
We know cardio machines are good for you.
And as most of us already know, that they help us lose weight.
They’re good for you because they help increase your heart rate which in turn helps burn calories and are much easier than home gyms … for some people at least.
As your heart increases, your body moves oxygen and blood more efficiently.
That extra boost of oxygen is what helps you burn more calories.
But it’s important to be reminded that muscle development is just as important.
Yes, cardio exercises burn calories and helps you lose weight but most don’t provide any strength training.
Strength training is important part of fitness and in order to control fat and keep it off, you’ll need some muscles.
So when you’re just about finished completing your daily cardio routine, try to add some strength training into the mix.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT CARDIO MACHINE
From price, size, workout duration, or intensity levels, there are a lot of factors to consider when you’re shopping for a cardio machine.
So, here’s a short list to follow when you’re shopping for your cardio machine:
Pick one that you will enjoy.
One of the most important considerations is to choose one that you know you’ll enjoy.
THIS CAN’T BE STRESSED ENOUGH. You see it time and time again … people buying a new fitness machine, excited, pumped with a look of determination on their face, telling themselves or rather, trying to convince themselves that this machine is going to change everything because so and so told them so.
After a few days you see that fire in the eyes extinguish itself and the next thing you know, that brand new, gleaming fitness machine becomes a furniture piece in the corner of a room.
Choose one that you will enjoy and you’ll find yourself using it more often and less likely to quit.
Don’t get something that is too difficult to start or something you feel forced to use.
Whatever you decide to use, being consistent is the key.
Through continuous use, you’ll undoubtedly start witnessing the changes.
Use a little common sense with your decision.
There are machines that may exacerbate an injury through continuous use.
If you have bad knees, don’t pick a home gym machine like a stair climber.
Instead, consider an elliptical since it’s very easy on the joints due to its low impact design.
If you sit during the day, don’t choose a bike.
Some of you may enjoy sitting but do you really want to sit all day at work just to come home and sit again on bike?
Don’t base your decision solely on what others recommend.
Too many people purchase cardio machines recommended to them only to end up paying hundreds or thousands for a fancy place to hang their clothes.
Individual results may vary so just because your friend lost a ridiculous amount of weight doesn’t mean you’re going to.
A number of factors contribute to weight loss, including where the fat is located on your body and the amount of fat you possess and how much energy you exert.
Your friend might be an animal on the machine while your trotting trying to figure out some of the controls.
Although recommendations may be helpful, doing your own research is key when selecting a cardio machine and if you have the opportunity, try to test it.
Once you find the one that you are comfortable with, try to be consistent.
Anything can become monotonous after a short while so change it up by incorporating some weight exercises into your routines or maybe change some daily goals.
If you’re on a treadmill and that’s all your exercise program consists of, you’re literally turning yourself into hamster.
Get creative but stick with it …
… then watch the calories burn away!
When it comes to cardio machines, the best and most expensive is useless if you don’t use it.
Remember, even the cheapest piece of equipment will produce results if used regularly.
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