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Exercise Equipment

Keeping your body healthy at home

You've made the commitment to lose weight. Your diet plan is on track and now it's time to decide on an exercise regimen. Joining a gym isn't the only way to get a good workout though – building a home gym is also an option.

Let's talk about the different exercise equipment available to you. The first thing to ask yourself is what your goals are. Are you looking for a cardio workout, a weight workout or a combination of both? Many experts say the combination will provide the best results.

Cardio Equipment

Technically, all you really need is a pair of running shoes. You can get a perfectly good workout by taking a jog outside. With the fresh air and changing scenery, many people find this to be a great option. But some people find that running on pavement hurts their knees, so they prefer treadmills. Some people like riding a bike outside, while some prefer a stationary bike.

Elliptical trainers are very popular and provide a solid, low-impact cardio workout. Step machines not only provide an intense cardio workout, but they also help tone the lower body. Rowing machines really get your heart rate pumping and give you the opportunity to work the whole body. Heart rate monitors are a great way to see if you're reaching your target heart rate.

Weight Training Equipment

Free weights are a great option for working any muscle group, and it's a good idea to have a variety of weights handy. For example, you're more likely to use heavier weights when doing squats than when you're working your shoulders. A workout bench provides a great surface to use when lifting weights. Stretch bands are good for adding resistance training to your regimen. There are also universal machines that give you a whole-body workout.

Ab Training

A simple exercise mat is all you need for a solid abdominal workout. Ask a fitness trainer or refer to a fitness book for abdominal exercises – there are literally hundreds. You might want to incorporate an exercise ball into your ab routine (or when working any muscle group), since it's great for providing instability. That instability means you have to use many more core muscles to stay stable and balanced, which will in turn strengthen them. There are hundreds of workouts that incorporate exercise balls. Many fitness stores and gyms provide a wide range of more advanced abdominal exercise equipment, such as ab crunch machines, ab wheels and ab sliders.

Where to Buy Exercise Equipment

Now that you've identified your goals and matched them up with the right equipment, it's time to shop! You don't necessarily have to buy new equipment, as used equipment can prove to be a more cost-effective option. You can check your newspaper, or go online to sites like eBay. Some exercise stores also sell used equipment. You could also ask your local gym if they know of any resources.

It's also very important for you to check the quality of equipment. Is there any rust on it? Do all the cables work? Is there a warranty? You should test the equipment before purchasing it.

Whether you go new or used, always shop around. Also, try to get an instruction manual. You might also want to hire a personal trainer to come to your home for a few sessions to ensure that you're using the equipment properly. Improper use could lead to injury.

Setting It Up

An important point to consider when purchasing exercise equipment is the space you have for your home fitness equipment. Make sure you don't buy something that's too big for the space available. Also, do you need something that has to be tucked away when you're not using it? The most important point to remember is that you should purchase equipment you will enjoy using. After all, if you don't use the equipment, you'll have wasted money and you won't be any closer to your fitness goals.

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