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Running On a Treadmill: Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Running on a treadmill can be a great way to keep running no matter what the weather, or working out from the comfort of your own home. However, there are a number of common mistakes even experienced runners make when they are running on a treadmill.  Here are a few of the main ones to watch out for.

Skipping warm ups and cool down

If you are going to work your muscles, you need to do these if you wish to avoid injury. Stopping suddenly on the treadmill can also lead to dizziness and injury from falling off.

Poor running form

People nervous about falling off treadmills tend to change their form. You need to run the same way both indoors and outdoors in order to avoid injury.  Your legs should swing back easily and not go ahead of you.  Also watch out for heel strikes and overstriding, which can cause injury because the treadmill belt is moving. Your foot landing in front on the moving belt is like slamming on the brakes as you run, leading to wear and tear on knees and hips.

Holding onto the rails

This causes tension in the arms and upper body, and the arms being in this fixed position means they are not swinging forward to help you with your momentum as you run. It also makes you bend or hunch forward, which can cause problems with knee, lower back and shoulder pain. Use the same form as you would running outdoors. If you are worried about falling, reduce your pace or incline.

Not working out fully

Holding onto the handrails actually makes your workout easier. If you also read a book or magazine while you are on a treadmill, you’re not working hard enough to get the full benefit of the exercise. Not every run has to be a long or hard one, but they don’t all have to be easy ones either.

Stepping Off While Moving

This is one of the main causes of injury. Be sure you have everything you need, water, towel and so on, before getting on.

Running at the Same Pace and Incline for Your Entire Run

Change speed and incline every so often to keep you on your toes and give you a more realistic workout such as you would do outside. Too steep an incline for too long can also cause injuries.  Aim for 5 minutes maximum and keep it from 4 to 6% to protect your joints.

LifeSpan TR 1200i Folding Treadmill (2012 Model) vs Sole F80 Treadmill

The LifeSpan TR 1200i Folding Treadmill and the Sole F80 Treadmill have a lot in common. Both carry similar price tags, feature a folding design and include a bright LCD display that tracks time, distance and calories. With high ratings and generous deck sizes, both treadmills have a lot to offer the average runner. 

LifeSpan TR 1200i Folding Treadmill Specifications:

Average Price: $1499.99
Product Dimensions: 33 x 54 x 71 inches
Belt Size: 20 x 56 inches
Warranty: Lifetime on frame and motor; 3 years on parts; 1 year on labor
Power: 2.5-horsepower 

Sole F80 Treadmill Specifications:

Average Price: $1999.99
Product Dimensions: 33 x 80 inches
Belt Size: 20 x 60 inches
Warranty: Lifetime on frame and motor; 5 years on belt, rollers and electronics; 2 years on labor
Power: 3.0-horsepower

LifeSpan TR 1200i Folding Treadmill and Sole F80 Features:

LCD Console

The LifeSpan TR 1200i includes a multi-colored LCD display that tracks time, distance, calories, steps, heart rate, speed and incline level. The keys are large and easy to press, the console can handle simultaneous readouts and there are 17 programs to toggle through. The console also includes a headphone jack for listening to your iPod as well as the Intelli-Step pedometer for counting steps. What’s most unique is that you can save your workout progress to a USB port, then upload the information to your personal LifeSpan Fitness Club account. 

The Sole F80 includes a 7.5-inch LCD console that has windows for tracking speed, incline, distance, time, calories, pulse and pace. The display has added versatility in that it features a ¼-mile track and peak-and-valley graph that allows you to monitor progress during specific workout programs. As an added bonus, the console has an integrated sound system so that you can listen to your iPod or MP3 player. When you’ve completed the workout, be sure to check the message board that will indicate your progress from one workout to the next. The same message board comes in handy when you need to be walked through the treadmill’s features or workout programs. 

Workout Programs

The LifeSpan TR 1200i offers a variety of unique programs that center on weight loss, healthy living, sports training and monitoring heart rate. There are 17 pre-set programs and 20 segments within each that vary based on speed and incline. If there’s a workout program you love, add it using the two custom programs. Here you can set the speed and incline level and save them for future use. There is also the My Zone heart rate control program that monitors your heart rate. 

The Sole F80 offers fewer programs than the LifeSpan. It has six standard workouts, two custom workouts and two heart rate-controlled workouts. The custom and heart rate programs work in the same way as the LifeSpan. For the custom program, simply enter in the program for future use based on speed and incline level. For the heart rate program, work out while keeping your heart rate in the target zone. As an added bonus, the Sole F80 includes a wireless chest strap for heart rate monitoring that has a 99.9 percent accuracy rating. 

Durability 

The LifeSpan TR 1200i is a durable machine that allows you to control your speed and incline without having to remove your hands from the handlebars. With 2.5-horsepower, a sound deck suspension system that supports 300 pounds and a generous 20-by-56 running surface, you’ll find the LifeSpan to be comfortable and high-performance, reasons why the treadmill earned itself several awards from Treadmill Doctor and Fitness Professor. The side rails are made from nonslip plastic, the two-ply belt is sturdy and the folding system utilizes the EZ Drop system.

The Sole F80 gets the shining star in terms of durability. The treadmill has a powder-coated, all-steel welded frame and super sturdy inclines. The treadmill is very quiet thanks to its steel zinc-coated flywheel and Cushion Flex deck. There is 3.0-horsepower packed into the treadmill, and the Cushion Flex deck provides the utmost comfort and stability, with reduced impact of up to 40 percent compared to running on asphalt. The frame can support 350 pounds, and the belt is two-ply and double woven for supreme durability. 

How Does the LifeSpan TR 1200i and the Sole F80 Treadmills Compare?

Both treadmills have been highlighted for their features, durability and range of programs. The Sole F80 is a bit more expensive, but offers more horsepower, supports more weight and has a very durable frame made from steel. The treadmill also includes a chest strap for tracking your heart rate, has the exclusive Cushion Flex deck that reduces impact and provides a better warranty. 

On the flip side, the LifeSpan has the unique fitness account where all exercise information can be uploaded to a personal account. There are also more programs to choose from and more possibilities in terms of controlling the speed and incline throughout each program. Both treadmills have the same speed – 0.5 to 11 miles per hour – and 15 levels of incline. Each treadmill is an excellent buy and won’t leave runners disappointed thanks to their user-friendly features. Best of all, both treadmills fold up for less space. 

Click here for the more information and the best pricing at Amazon for the : LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Treadmill

Click here for the more information and the best pricing at Amazon for the Sole Fitness F80 Folding Treadmill

Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine vs WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine

For a total body workout that’s comfortable and fun, a rowing machine is a wonderful concept. This unrivaled workout is like no other as it will work your body in ways you never thought possible. The Concept2 Model E and the WaterRower Natural are two machines that will exceed your expectations, achieve your workout goals and make exercising fun and refreshing. 

Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine Specifications:

Average Price: $1260.00
Product Dimensions: 9 x 4 feet; 65 pounds
Weight Limit: 500 pounds
Construction: Powder-coated steel frame
Warranty: Limited 2- and 5-year; 30-day money-back guarantee 

WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood Specifications:

Average Price: $1095.00
Product Dimensions: 84 x 21 x 22 inches; 117 pounds
Weight Limit: 1,000 pounds
Construction: Solid ash, stained honey oak
Warranty: 1-year on frame; manufacturer will upgrade warranty to 5-years on frame and 3-years on components with completed registration form

Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine and WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine Features:

Ergonomic Design 

The Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine is simply magnificent. The sliding seat makes it easy to find your comfort spot while the flywheel minimizes noise and provides the smooth, fluid movement of water. The rower sits 20-inches above the floor, which is helpful to those who lack balance or mobility since most rowers are very low to the ground. Another smart upgrade is the performance monitor that is conveniently fixed in place so that it can be reached with comfort. The handle is in a natural position so you can hold it with little effort as well.

The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine may not have as advanced of a design as the Concept2, but the water flywheel system is what makes this machine especially unique. The system is comprised of two paddles in a closed tank of water, and as you can imagine, this creates a smooth feel, just as if you were rowing in real water. What really makes this rowing machine shine is its quiet performance and engineered properties that rise beyond the standard steel machines that dominate the industry. 

Durable Construction

Made from steel, the Concept2 Model E is one sturdy machine. The powder-coated frame has a clear top coat for added durability, and the nickel-plated chain is fully enclosed so it stays cleaner. There are many other smart features that make this model especially durable, including the one-piece leg design, an aluminum rail for adjusting the seat and Flexfoot footrests for comfort and quick sizing. The Concept2 Model E holds up to 500-pounds yet it can be easily moved on its caster wheels for mobility. 

It’s true that the Concept2 Model E is durable, but the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine gets the gold star in this department. The machine is handcrafted in solid ash and then stained honey oak. Solid ash is the first choice from the manufacturer since this wood naturally absorbs sound and vibration, which is part of the reason why this machine is so quiet and smooth. Even better, solid ash is a durable wood that has a long lifespan. For those that prefer sustainably made products, this Natural Rowing Machine is the perfect option. 

Performance Monitor

At first glance, the Concept2 Model E may look basic, but it’s loaded with high-tech features. The highlight to the machine is the PM4 Performance Monitor that accurately measures heart rate, distance, speed, pace, calories and watts. There are five display options, an included LogCard that stores workout information and games to play. To start the machine is easy and doesn’t require pressing any buttons. Just row and go, and you can toggle with the features from this point forward. 

The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine also has a high-performance Series 4 monitor that tracks heart rate, workout intensity and distance. Like the Concept2 Model E, this machine is compatible with various heart rate technology so that you can focus on keeping your heart rate within your target zone. The performance monitor is easy to navigate through and has six information windows, six quick select buttons and three navigation buttons for guiding through all facets of your workout. 

How Does the Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine and the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine Compare?

Both rowing machines are high-quality, high-performance and enjoyable to use, so you will find yourself pleased with either selection. The features to consider are the build, weight capacity and portability. The Concept2 is much lighter and has rolling casters for portability while the WaterRower weighs in at 117 pounds and won’t be going anywhere. The Concept2 offers supreme durability thanks to its all-steel construction and also possesses a flywheel system that leaves you with smooth, fluid movements that work your entire body. 

On the flip side, the WaterRower is made from eco-friendly ash wood and offers exceptional beauty and durability. It has a 1000-pound weight limit compared to the 500-pound limit with the Concept2. It also costs less and has a better warranty; just be sure to fill out the appropriate warranty information. Better yet, the unique water flywheel system truly replicates the feel of rowing on water, something that is difficult to achieve on rowers. 

Click the following link for more information about the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor

Click the following link for more information and the latest Amazon pricing here Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine (Black) with PM5

Things To Consider Before Buying An Exercise Bike

Exercise bikes have many benefits. They’re low impact, they’re one of the cheapest home cardio machines available and recumbent exercise bikes are one of the only home cardio machines that provide lower back support. In addition to this, they take up minimal space in your home and they don’t place any pressure on your joints which makes them perfect if you suffer from arthritis or other joint problems. However, despite their many benefits, exercise bikes aren’t suitable for everyone. In this article I’m going to help you decide whether an exercise bike is the right piece of home cardio equipment for you by outlining five of the things you need to consider before making your final purchase.

1) Not As Effective As Outdoor Cycling

One of the first things you need to be aware of before purchasing an exercise bike is that no matter which make or model you go for or how much money you spend, it’s never going to be as effective as outdoor cycling when preparing for a race. There are two main reasons for this.

First, when you are cycling outside, the terrain is never smooth. Even if you don’t notice it all the time, the angle at which you cycle is constantly changing and these subtle changes challenge your body. While you can replicate this slightly by constantly changing the resistance on your exercise bike, replicating it fully is almost impossible. Secondly, when you are cycling indoors, you aren’t exposed to the outdoor elements such as wind and temperature, so it’s a slightly easier workout.

2) Low Calorie Burn

If you’re main fitness goal is to drop some serious pounds, an exercise bike may not be the right choice for you. On average, an hour of moderate cycling on an exercise bike burns through 572 calories. This is 107 calories less than an hour of moderate exercise on an elliptical trainer (which burns through 679 calories per hour), 163 calories less than an hour of moderate exercise on a stepper (which burns through 735 calories per hour) and a significant 253 calories less than an hour of moderate jogging on a treadmill (which burns through 825 calories per hour).

To put this in perspective, by jogging on a treadmill instead of an exercise bike for an hour every day, you’d lose an extra 26 pounds per year which could make a huge difference to your weight loss success. Even if you’re not a fan of treadmills, by exercising on a stepper instead of an exercise bike for an hour every day, you’d lose an additional 17 pounds per year. Alternatively, by exercising on an elliptical trainer instead of an exercise bike for an hour each day, you’d lose an extra 10.4 pounds each year.

3) Non-Weight Bearing Exercise

Another reason you may want to think twice before purchasing an exercise bike is that cycling is not a weight bearing exercise. When you run on a treadmill, your bones have to support your weight with every step you take. This stimulates an increase in bone mineral density which leads to stronger, healthier bones. When you cycle, you lose this weight bearing element and therefore also lose the bone boosting benefit.

4) Lower Body Workout Only

While cycling on an exercise bike certainly gives your legs a good workout, it neglects your upper body. Therefore, if you’re targeting full body fitness, you may want to go for an elliptical machine or rowing machine instead. Both of these home cardio machines engage your arms, back and chest while also working your legs and provide you with a well rounded, full body workout.

5) Uncomfortable

One final thing to consider before buying an exercise bike is comfort. While exercise and comfort are two things that rarely go hand in hand, sitting on an exercise bike for long periods of time can be very uncomfortable and lead to your butt becoming numb. In comparison, home cardio machines where you stand up, such as elliptical trainers, steppers or treadmills, are more comfortable and help you avoid numbness.

Summary

I hope this article has helped you decide whether an exercise bike is the right piece of home cardio equipment for you. As discussed at the beginning of this article, exercise bikes are still very effective and will improve your fitness. However, if you want something that burns a higher amount of calories or doesn’t involve you sitting down constantly, an elliptical trainer, stepper or treadmill may be a more viable option for you. Good luck with your decision and all the best with your home cardio workouts.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Rowing Machine

Rowing machines are a very effective home cardio machine that burn a large amount of calories, strengthen your core and provide you with a full body workout. However, when buying rowing machines, many people fail to look at the reasons why a rowing machine may not be the best piece of home cardio equipment for them. In this article I help you fully explore this area before parting with your cash and discuss three things you need to be bear in mind before buying a rowing machine.

1) Risk Of Lower Back Injury

One of the biggest risks when exercising with a rowing machine is injuring your lower back. The reason for this is that many people row with poor technique and as a result they place unnecessary pressure on their lower back and spine. The good news is that by learning the correct technique, you can slash your risk of lower back injury and even strengthen your lower back as you row.

If you’ve never used a rowing machine before, make sure you pay extra attention to your lower back the first few times you use one. In particular, make sure you look out for these common beginner mistakes in your own rowing technique:

Rounded Lower Back: Many beginners round their lower back as they row. However, doing this can loosen your lower back and make injury much more likely. Therefore, make sure your lower back is straight but not overarched as you row,

Over Leaning: Another mistake many beginners make is that they lean too far forward at the start of the rowing motion and lean too far back at the end. Doing this can overstretch your back and cause injury. To avoid over leaning, make sure you pull with your upper body and not your lower back. Also, focus on not leaning and keeping your back straight at the beginning and the end of the rowing motion.

Jerky Movements: One final mistake a lot of beginners make when using a rowing machine is jerky movements. Instead of pulling the cable towards them in one smooth, controlled rowing motion, they pull it too fast and jerk their lower back which very often results in a lower back injury. To avoid jerky movements, make sure you row very slowly the first few times you use the rowing machine and focus on pulling the cable towards you as you stretch out your legs in one smooth, controlled motion.

2) Risk Of Locking Your Knees

As well as injuring their lower back, many people injure their knees when they row by locking them out fully at the end of the rowing motion. The good news is that correcting this is very easy and you simply make sure you don’t fully lock your knees at any time during the motion. If you’ve never rowed before or you have and you find that you are locking your knees, slow down your rowing speed and practice ending the rowing motion before your knees lock. Learning or correcting this habit will take a bit of time but once you’ve mastered it, you won’t even have to think about it anymore and you’ll end the rowing motion naturally before your knees lock.

3) Difficult Technique To Master

One final problem many people have with rowing machines is that they find the overall technique difficult to master. Unlike an exercise bike, a treadmill or a stepper (which are all very natural motions) and the elliptical machine (which has a very simple motion), rowing machines are quite complex and require you to co-ordinate your upper and lower body in one smooth, flowing motion.

Summary

If you’re an athlete or a fitness enthusiast, then many of points covered in this article won’t be an issue for you as you’ll have mastered the proper rowing machine form. However, if you’re relatively new to exercise or have never used a rowing machine before, make sure you pay extra attention to the tips covered in this article when you buy a rowing machine, as the risk of injury is much higher than with other types of cardio machine. Mastering the proper form and technique will take time but this extra time is a worthwhile and necessary investment for preventing lower back and knee injuries.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Stepper

If you’re working out at home, steppers are an excellent choice. They’re a great way to get your heart pumping while toning and strengthening your legs plus most of them take up a lot less space than other home cardio machines. However, despite these benefits, a stepper may not be the right piece of home workout equipment for you. In this article I will be looking at the things you need to consider before making your final decision to buy a stepper.

1) Can Be Painful For People With Joint Problems

Although stepping is a low impact exercise, if you have serious ankle, hip or knee problems, it can still cause pain in the affected joints. Therefore, if you do have joint problems, try and have a go on a stepper before you make your final purchase, so you can see what it feels like. If you have a friend who owns a stepper, ask them if you can have a go on it. If you don’t, head down to your local gym for a one off session, hop on the stepper and see how it feels on your ankles, hips and knees.

If stepping does aggravate your joints, go for an elliptical machine, an exercise bike or a rowing machine instead. All three of these cardio machines fully support your joints as you exercise and don’t place any downward pressure on them as you go through the motions.

2) Difficult To Balance

One other thing to be aware of before buying a stepper is that balancing on certain models can be very difficult. Mini-steppers in particular are very testing when it comes to balance as they have no handles to hold onto and require you to balance on the unstable steps without any extra support.

If your balance isn’t great, consider going for a regular stepper instead of a mini-stepper. Regular steppers come with handles to hold onto, so if you’re not very good at balancing, they provide you with the support you need. Alternatively, if you only have enough free space for a mini-stepper, you can exercise close to a wall and hold onto the wall as you exercise until your balance improves.

3) Inefficient Workout

One of the main problems with regular steppers is that people who can’t balance tend to lean on the handles too much and place an increasing amount of bodyweight on the handles as they get tired during the workout. This results in less calories being burned and an inefficient workout because instead of taking full steps and lifting your entire bodyweight, you start to take mini-steps and the handles support most of your bodyweight.

The good news is that once you’re aware of this problem it’s very easy to fix. Instead of holding onto the handles, just rest your hands lightly on top of them. This will allow you to keep your balance without cheating and transferring your bodyweight to the handles. Then when you are stepping, focus on standing upright at all times and doing full steps, so that your legs get the best workout possible.

4) Lower Body Workout Only

A further thing you need to think about before buying a stepper is that it provides you with a lower body workout only. This is fine if your main fitness goal is to have strong, toned legs and good cardiovascular fitness. However, if you want something that incorporates your upper body too, you might prefer an elliptical trainer or a rowing machine. Both these cardio machines still give your legs a good workout but also utilize your arms, back, chest and core to give you a well rounded, full body workout.

5) Not Sports Specific

One final thing to think about before buying a stepper is that the stepping motion itself isn’t sports specific. This doesn’t mean you won’t get a good workout and your fitness won’t improve. However, if you are training for a bike race or running race, you’ll better results with an exercise bike or a treadmill, as you’ll also get to practice the technique at the same time as improving your fitness.

Summary

If you’re looking for a simple but effective piece of home cardio equipment that focuses on your legs, a stepper is a great choice. However, make sure you consider all the things in this article carefully before you make your final decision to buy. If you have joint problems, you struggle with balance or you simply want something that works your entire body, a stepper may not be the best cardio machine for you. Good luck making your final decision and I hope this article has helped.

Things To Consider Before Buying An Elliptical Trainer

An elliptical trainer is a solid purchase and a worthwhile addition to almost any home gym. It provides you with a full body workout, it’s gentle on your joints and if space is limited in your home, there are plenty of compact models available. In addition to this, the unique, dual motion design allows you to target specific muscles in a way that’s not possible on any other cardio machine. However, despite all these benefits, elliptical trainers may not be the best piece of home cardio equipment for you. In this article I’m going to be exploring this topic further and discussing some of the key things you need to think about before you buy an elliptical trainer.

1) Not Sports Specific

One of the biggest drawbacks of an elliptical trainer compared with other home cardio machines is that it’s not sports specific. While a treadmill is specific to running, an exercise bike takes you through the same motion as cycling on an outdoor bike and a rowing machine prepares you for real life rowing, an elliptical trainer doesn’t really prepare you for any sport. This isn’t a big issue if your main goal is to improve your general fitness. However, if you are purchasing your home cardio machine as part of a sports conditioning program, you may be better off buying an exercise bike, rowing machine or treadmill.

2) Momentum Can Make It Easy

Another thing to think about before buying an elliptical trainer is momentum. With exercise bikes, rowing machines, steppers and treadmills, all of the effort is on you. However, when exercising on an elliptical, you can build up momentum which then helps you with the exercise and makes it easier. No other exercise machines carry you like this, so if you want to make sure you don’t slack off and let the cardio machine do the work for you, an elliptical trainer may not be the best choice.

3) Difficult Technique For Beginners

If you’re relatively new to working out and thinking about purchasing an elliptical trainer to start improving your fitness, you may want to think again. Many beginners find elliptical trainers much more difficult to use than exercise bikes, treadmills or steppers and struggle to pick up the technique.

The reason for this is that the latter three home cardio machines all involve natural movements which you learn from a very early age. However, the gliding motion of an elliptical trainer is very unnatural to a lot of people and takes time to master. It also requires a much greater degree of co-ordination than cycling, running or stepping, as you have to move your arms in line with your legs.

While the technique is by no means impossible and you will pick it up with practice, if you’re just starting out, you may want to go for a home cardio machine with less of a learning curve.

4) Designed For Average Sized People

Unlike all the other home cardio machines which can cater to people of various shapes and sizes, elliptical trainers are designed for average sized people. The reason for this is that with an elliptical trainer there are two points of contact – the poles for your hands and the platforms for your feet. With other home cardio machines, there is only one point of contact, so height is less of an issue.

This means that if you are very tall, you may struggle to grab the poles on an elliptical trainer comfortably. Similarly, if you are very small, you might find it difficult to reach the poles and may want to consider an alternative home cardio machine.

5) Non-Weight Bearing Exercise

One final thing to consider before buying an elliptical trainer is that the gliding platforms support most of your bodyweight. On the one hand, this is a good thing as it protects your joints from the heavy impact of running. However, weight bearing exercises are good for your bones and cause your bone mineral density to increase. This greater bone mineral density allows your body to create stronger, healthier bones which are less likely to break and fracture. By exercising on an elliptical trainer, you remove the weight bearing element from your workout routine and don’t get to take advantage of this bone boosting benefit.

Summary

As you can see, despite their many benefits, elliptical trainers aren’t suitable for everyone. If you want to train for a specific sport or push yourself hard and ensure that momentum doesn’t take over when you exercise, you may be better off purchasing an exercise bike, a rowing machine or a treadmill. I hope this article helps you make your final decision and choose the best piece of home cardio equipment to meet your fitness goals.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Treadmill

Treadmills are one of the most popular home cardio machines and rightly so. They burn a huge amount of calories, they strengthen your bones and they give your fitness a real boost. However, although they have a lot of good points, treadmills aren’t suitable for everyone and before jumping in and buying one, you need to consider whether they’re the best option for you. In this article I’m going to be helping you make this decision by covering the main things you need to think about before you part with your money and buy a treadmill.

1) High Impact Cardio Machine

Although the cushioned surface of a treadmill takes a lot of the impact out of running, running on a treadmill is still much more of a high impact exercise than cycling, rowing, stepping or gliding on an elliptical trainer. Therefore, if you have problems with your ankles, knees or hips, you may find that running on a treadmill is too painful and that a low impact cardio machine is a better choice.

2) Not As Effective As Running Outside

Another thing you need to be aware of before buying a treadmill is that while it’s a great way to put some miles on the clock, improve your cardiovascular fitness and burn some calories, it’s not quite as effective as outdoor running. There are a number of reasons for this.

First, when you run on a treadmill, the moving belt does propel you slightly and this makes it a bit easier than running outside. When you run outside, the ground doesn’t move and there’s nothing to propel you, so it is a little more challenging.

Secondly, when you run outside, the angle of the ground is constantly changing. Even if this change is too slight for you to notice, it still challenges your body and gives you a more effective workout. You can partially replicate this effect by adjusting the incline of the treadmill regularly but it’s never quite as effective as running outside.

Finally, when you run outside, you are exposed to the weather and this has an impact on the way you run. For example, if it’s windy, you have to run with more force and fight against the wind to keep going. If it’s raining, you have to pay extra attention to your running technique and the way you land with your feet, so that you don’t slip or fall. Running on a treadmill removes this element of uncertainty and as a result, it’s not quite as challenging.

3) Expensive

If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to price up the cost of treadmills against other home cardio machines. While you can get some manual treadmills for around $100, most electronic models are $500+ and it’s not uncommon for a treadmill to cost $1,000+. In comparison, you can pick up a good elliptical trainer, exercise bike, rowing machine or stepper for less than $500.

4) Large

As well as being expensive, treadmills are also generally the largest home cardio machines, so if the workout space in your home is limited, you may want to think twice before buying one. Even the smallest treadmills generally require a minimum of 70 inches by 50 inches of floor space. Exercise bikes on the other hand, generally require no more than 45 inches by 50 inches of floor space which represents a 10% saving in width and almost a 30% saving in length.

5) Potentially Dangerous

One final thing to think about when you are buying a treadmill is that it’s one of the only cardio machines where falling off is a very real danger. With elliptical machines, exercise bikes, rowing machines and steppers, falling off is almost impossible and even if you do fall, it’s not going to do much damage. However, with a treadmill, losing your footing when you are running at a high speed can be very dangerous, send you flying across the room and potentially cause a serious injury.

Summary

Despite the negative focus of this article, treadmills still are an excellent purchase and their benefits far outweigh their disadvantages. However, if you don’t have a lot of space, money is tight or you have problems with your joints, you may want to look at other home cardio machines. Exercise bikes and elliptical machines in particular still provide you with an effective workout but generally cost less money, take up less space and remove the impact on your joints. I hope this article helps you decide which home workout machine is right for you. Good luck and happy shopping.

Stepper Buying Tips

Steppers are an excellent way to boost your fitness, drop some unwanted pounds and tone your leg muscles. By purchasing your very own stepper, you can enjoy all these benefits within the comfort of your own home. Unfortunately, deciding which stepper to buy isn’t an easy decision and there’s a lot to think about. In this article I’m going to guide you through the buying process and help you find the perfect stepper for you with four simple but effective stepper buying tips.

1) Determine How Much You Can Afford To Spend

The most important part of the stepper buying process is setting a budget. Before you even start looking at steppers, decide how much you can afford to spend and then don’t look at any steppers that exceed this price. By doing this at the very beginning, you’ll get a realistic picture of the type of steppers you can afford and won’t end up disappointed later on in the buying process.

2) Choose The Type Of Stepper Power You Want

Once you’ve set a budget for yourself, the next thing you need to decide is how you want your stepper to be powered; manually or electronically.

Manual steppers are generally cheaper than electronic steppers, so if you’re on a tight budget, they are an excellent choice. However, the resistance is generally more difficult to adjust on manual steppers, so if you are planning to change the level of resistance multiple times during your workout, an electronic stepper may be more suitable for you.

Electronic steppers are much more flexible when it comes to changing the resistance and speed. You simply press the buttons on the stepper and the resistance or speed adjusts while you carry on with your workout. Electronic steppers also generally place less pressure on your ankles and knees than manual steppers. However, this additional flexibility and reduced joint pressure does come at a cost and electronic steppers are more expensive than their manual counterparts.

3) Choose The Type Of Stepper Design You Want

The design of your stepper is another key thing to consider before making your final purchase. There are three main stepper designs to choose from; mini-steppers, regular steppers and stair climbers.

Mini-steppers generally feature just pedals and have no handles to hold onto. However, some mini-steppers do come with bands that you can attach to the pedals and use to get a full body workout. Mini-steppers are the cheapest and smallest of the three types, so if you don’t have much to spend or you have limited workout and storage space in your home, they’re a great choice. However, since there’s no handles to hold onto, balancing on mini-steppers can be difficult.

Regular steppers have the same pedal design as mini-steppers but also have a frame with handles to hold onto. As a result, balancing on mini-steppers is a lot easier which makes them more accessible and easier to use. Since the handles allow you to take some of the strain off your legs, you can also work out on regular steppers for much longer than you can on mini-steppers. However, the additional frame does come at a cost and regular steppers are more expensive to buy than mini-steppers.

Stair climbers are very different to mini and regular steppers. Instead of having pedals, they have a set of revolving steps which you climb like a regular set of stairs. Working out on a stair climber is much more intensive than the other two types of steppers and requires you to move your legs much more. However, stair climbers are generally the largest and most expensive type of stepper.

Deciding which of the three types is best for you will come down to two main factors – money and space. If you’re on a really tight budget or have limited workout space then a mini-stepper is what you need. If you have a bit more to spend and a reasonable amount of space, a regular stepper is a great choice. If you have a large stepper budget and a lot of workout space, you’ll want to go for a stair climber.

4) Make A Shortlist

After you’ve chosen your stepper design and the type of power you want, it’s time to make a shortlist. To do this, read the reviews on the steppers that match your criteria and then choose the five best models based on the features of the steppers and the customer feedback. Once you have your five, write down a list of pros and cons for each one and then make your final decision, based on which stepper has the most pros. If it’s a close call, pick one factor that’s most important to you (detailed tracking, quiet motor etc) and then go with the stepper that excels in that area.

Summary

Finding the right stepper can seem daunting at first. However, if you follow the tips listed above you’ll be able to find one that has all the key features you want at a price that’s right for you. So if you haven’t done so already, get online, put together your shortlist and find your ideal stepper today.

Rowing Machine Buying Tips

If you’re looking for an effective cardio machine that also builds upper body strength, rowing machines are an excellent choice. A moderate session on the rowing machine burns 500+ calories an hour and also tones your arms and upper back. Unfortunately, with all the different types and brands of rowing machines on the market, choosing one to buy can be very difficult. In this article I aim to simplify the buying process and help you make your decision by providing you with three effective rowing machine buying tips.

1) Determine How Much You Can Afford To Spend

When you’re buying any type of exercise machine, the first thing you need to decide is how much you can afford to spend on it. Whether that amount is $100, $500 or $1,000 or more, it’s important that you get a specific figure in your head. This will ensure that you don’t spend lots of time looking for the perfect rowing machine, only to discover it’s out of your price range.

2) Choose The Type Of Rowing Machine Resistance

Another key thing to consider is the type of resistance you need for your rowing machine. There are four main types; air resistance, hydraulic resistance, magnetic resistance and water resistance.

With air resistance, a finned flywheel sucks air in as you row and uses this to provide you with resistance automatically. The benefit of air resistance rowing machines is that you don’t need to use any levers or clamps to change the resistance. Instead, you just get on with your workout and increase the resistance by rowing faster and harder or reduce the resistance by rowing slower and with less force. The drawback of air resistance rowing machines is that they are generally larger and more expensive than other rowing machines. Air resistance is also the noisiest type of rowing machine resistance.

With hydraulic resistance, hydraulic pistons provide the resistance and you can adjust the level of resistance using a clamp or lever. This benefit of hydraulic resistance rowing machines is that you can choose the level of resistance that’s right for you and change it during your workout. Rowing machines with hydraulic resistance are also generally cheaper and more compact than rowing machines with other types of resistance. The drawback of hydraulic resistance rowing machines is that it isn’t as smooth as the other types of rowing machine resistance, so you don’t get an authentic rowing experience. Hydraulic resistance also mainly targets your arms, so you don’t get a good a full body workout with this type of resistance.

With magnetic resistance, a combination of a flywheel and electromagnets are used to provide resistance. The benefit of magnetic resistance rowing machines is that they’re a lot quieter and smoother than most other rowing machines. The drawback of magnetic resistance rowing machines is that they are generally very large, so you need a reasonable amount of workout space to accommodate them.

With water resistance, a tank of water with spinning paddles is used to provide resistance. The benefit of water resistance rowing machines is that they provide you with an authentic rowing simulation that feels like you are rowing on real water. They also provide you with the same hands free, automatically adjusting resistance that is found on air rowing machines. The drawback of air resistance rowing machines is that they are large, heavy and expensive. They are also relatively noisy and the second noisiest type of rowing machine behind air resistance rowing machines.

The type of rowing machine resistance you choose will depend on a number of factors. If you’ve only got a small amount of workout space or you’re on a tight budget, then a hydraulic resistance rowing machine will probably be the best choice for you. If you’re worried about noise, you’ll probably prefer a magnetic resistance rowing machine. If you’re looking for a rowing machine that challenges you and provides a really intense workout, then an air resistance rowing machine or water resistance rowing machine are probably your best bets.

To make the final decision on which type of rowing machine resistance is best for you, write down the five most important things that you need from a rowing machine. Then choose the type of rowing machine resistance that matches most of these requirements.

3) Check Out Existing Customer Reviews

Once you’ve decided how much you can spend and the type of rowing machine resistance that’s right for you, you just need to choose a rowing machine. To do this, check out existing customer reviews on a number of different rowing machines. Start by looking at the rowing machines with the highest amount of positive feedback as these are much more likely to be quality rowing machines. Then look at these rowing machines in detail and write down what’s good and bad about each one. Make a shortlist, review it and then choose the rowing machine with the pros that are closest to your requirements.

Summary

I hope this article has given you a good overview of all the things you need to take into account when buying a rowing machine. If you consider all the tips on this list before making your final decision, you’ll be sure to find a rowing machine that helps you achieve your fitness goals, matches your budget and meets your individual requirements.

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