Home Exercise Recommendations

Be realistic: Is the equipment easy to use? People on infomercials are generally very young and in shape. Choose equipment for your weight and body type.

Quality: Go online and read reviews on the equipment you plan to purchase. Many of the “hot” items break down easily and cannot tolerate over 250 pounds.

Price: Money spent for infomercial equipment could be used to buy equipment you can actually try before you buy. Even with a money back guarantee, if you don’t like it, you will still have to return in by mail.

Best Fit: Buy a piece of equipment that fits your lifestyle. Consider your physical limitations. Choose something that is durable and you already enjoy.

Treadmills

Types: Include motorized or manual. Motorized are easy on joints, bones and muscles. Manual treadmills are easier on the pocketbook.

Prices: From under $500 to $3,000 or more

Look for: Continuous duty motor at least 1.5 horsepower

Belt size – at least 4 feet long and 16 inches wide

Speed – up to 10 mph

Incline – up to 10%

Cushioning – running bed should absorb shock

Stability – belt should not move while walking/running

Frame- stable during running. Balance problems? Include sidebars.

Control panel – should be within easy reach and simple to use.

Try the treadmill out for a few minutes in the store or at the health club. Test the switches, buttons, knobs and how to stop the machine in a hurry!

Elliptical Trainers

These are popular because you are not walking or running on a hard surface.

They are low impact and easy on joints and bones.

May include both arm and leg movements

Elliptical trainers are very intense exercise. The American Council on Exercise states that using an elliptical trainer is as intense as running an 11.5-minute mile or taking a high-impact aerobic class.

Consider:

Models that are sturdy quiet and have a variety of programs.

A test run before buying. Since the workout is intense, be prepared to exercise for at least 10 minutes to see if it will work for you.

Space limitations - Ellipticals take up a lot of space and are difficult to transport if you need repairs.

Quality versus cost - Good machines are very expensive.

Price: Elliptical trainers range from $400 to $3,000 or more

Stationary Bikes

Types: Includes upright and recumbent. Both offer great cardio and lower body workouts. They are less expensive than treadmills and require minor maintenance.

Upright bicycles are what we are used to, but are less comfortable than a recumbent. Recumbent bicycles keep the weight off your seat and have cushioned back support. They are less strain on knees and lower back.

Consider:

Adjusting the seat. Knees should be slightly bent when the foot is at the bottom of the stroke.

Wearing comfortable clothing to allow your body to move easier when riding.

Purchasing a stable bike that has sturdy legs.

Learning how to use pedal clips to get the most calorie burn out of your ride.

Price: Stationary bikes range from $100 - $1,200

By Jan Treft-Allen, RD.

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