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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.

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.

Exercise Bike Buying Tips

If you’ve made the decision to buy an exercise bike, then you’re well on your way to improving your health and fitness and achieving your weight loss goals. Unfortunately, there’s still one big decision left to make – choosing the right exercise bike. In this article I aim to help you find the best exercise bike for you by listing seven key exercise bike buying tips.

1) Set A Budget

As with any big buying decision, setting a budget is crucial. If you don’t set a budget before you start selecting exercise bikes you’re either going to end up out of pocket (by purchasing an exercise bike you can’t afford) or end up disappointed (because the exercise bikes you have been looking at cost more than you can afford). Therefore, before you do anything else, choose a maximum price that you are willing to pay for an exercise bike and then stick to this price throughout the rest of the buying process.

2) Measure Your Workout Space

After you’ve settled on a maximum price for your exercise bike, you then need to think about how much space you actually have for it. If you have an expansive home gym with lots of open space, you’ll be able to buy a larger exercise bike with no problems. However, if you’re going to use the exercise bike in your living room or your bedroom, you will need to double check the dimensions and make sure the exercise bike you choose is small enough to fit in the room and cycle on without cramping your style.

3) Decide Whether You Want An Upright Or Recumbent Seating Position

Another important decision to make when buying an exercise bike is the seating position. Exercise bikes with an upright design are very similar to regular outdoor bikes and if you are planning to use your exercise bike to train for an outdoor race, you may prefer this design. Additionally, upright exercise bikes are more flexible and allow you to use them sitting down, standing up or leaning forward. Finally, many experts believe that upright bikes offer a more intense workout than recumbent exercise bikes.

On the other hand, recumbent exercise bikes provide you with lower back support and place less strain on your knees, so if you have problems in either of these areas, you’ll probably find this design more comfortable. Recumbent exercise bikes are also easier to cycle on for longer periods, so if you are planning to do longer, stamina building workout sessions, a recumbent design may be better for you.

4) Choose The Type Of Resistance Control You Need

There are generally two types of resistance control on exercise bikes – manual and electronic. Exercise bikes with a manual resistance control are generally cheaper but since you have to lean and change the resistance manually, they can disrupt the flow of your workout. Exercise bikes with an electronic resistance control do cost a bit more to buy but since you can change the resistance at the push of the button, you get a much smoother ride.

If you generally cycle at the same pace, you’ll probably be fine with a manual resistance control. However, if you do lots of interval training on your exercise bike and are constantly changing speed, you’ll be better off buying a bike with an electronic resistance control.

5) Choose How Much Resistance You Need

Another thing you’ll need to consider when buying an exercise bike is how much resistance you actually need. If you just want an exercise bike that gives you a light workout and gradually improves your fitness, an exercise bike with a limited range of resistance may be suitable for you. However, if you’re training for a race or want to lose a lot of weight, you may need an exercise bike with a wider range of resistance.

The resistance on an exercise bike is determined by two things – the flywheel and the magnets. Exercise bikes with a large, heavy flywheel and a large number of magnets offer a much wider range of resistance than exercise bikes with a small, light flywheel and fewer magnets. Exercise bikes with electromagnetic resistance also generally offer a much wider range of resistance than ones without, so bear these features in mind when choosing your exercise bike.

6) Check Out Existing Customer Reviews

If you follow the steps above, you should be able to make a shortlist of exercise bikes that do what you need at a price that’s affordable to you. To whittle down this shortlist down into your final choice, checkout what other customers have to say about each exercise bike on your shortlist. If there’s any overwhelmingly negative feedback towards any of the exercise bikes, remove them from your shortlist. Then with the remaining bikes, see what the customers like best about each one, match that up to the features that are important to you and make your final choice.

Summary

I hope these tips have helped you choose an exercise bike that suits your needs. Buying an exercise bike is a big decision but if you follow the tips in this article it’s one that will most certainly pay off. Good luck and happy cycling.

Elliptical Trainer Buying Tips

Elliptical trainers are a highly versatile cardio machine and one of the few that give you a full body workout by exercising your arms and legs in equal measures. However, when it comes to buying an elliptical trainer, it’s often difficult to know where to start. With hundreds of different models to choose from and each one having their own unique set of features, knowing which one is right for you can seem impossible. In this article I’m going to help simplify the process of choosing an elliptical trainer with four elliptical trainer buying tips.

1) Decide On Your Budget

As is the case with any big purchase, setting a budget for your elliptical trainer is crucial. If you can only afford to spend $500 then there’s no point wasting your time looking at elliptical trainers that cost $1,000+. Similarly, if you have a lot to spend and want a feature packed elliptical trainer, you don’t want to be looking at budget models that won’t do what you need. Instead of looking at all the elliptical trainers, decide how much you’re willing to spend and then narrow your search to models that fall within this price range.

2) Choose The Type Of Elliptical Trainer Design You Want

Once you’ve outlined how much you’re going to spend on your elliptical trainer, the next decision you have to make is what type of elliptical trainer design you want. There are currently three main elliptical designs on the market; front drive, rear drive and center drive.

With front drive elliptical trainers, the drive axle is located in front of you. The benefit of this design is that it’s generally cheaper, lighter and more compact than both rear drive and center drive elliptical trainers. However, front drive elliptical trainers aren’t as smooth as these other two designs and they also have more moving parts which means they generally require more maintenance.

With rear drive elliptical trainers, the drive axle is located behind you. The benefit of this design is that there are fewer moving parts and as a result, rear drive elliptical trainers are smoother to use and require less maintenance. However, rear drive elliptical trainers are also larger and more expensive than front drive elliptical trainers.

With center drive elliptical trainers, the drive axle is located close to the center of the machine which means it’s usually slightly in front of you or slightly behind you. Sometimes center drive elliptical trainers also have two drive axels. The benefit of this design is that your weight is perfectly balanced and as a result, your movements and workout are more efficient. However, center drive elliptical trainers are the most expensive of the three designs.

The type of design you go for will largely depend on your budget and your fitness goals. As a general rule, center drive elliptical trainers provide you with the most efficient workout at a premium price whereas front drive machines still provide you with a good workout but are more of a budget option. Rear drive elliptical trainers fall somewhere in the middle and strike a good balance between price and function.

If you don’t have much to spend or your workout space is limited, you’re best off going for a front drive elliptical trainer. Although they’re the cheapest of the three, if you shop around and do your research, you can still find a front drive elliptical trainer that does everything you need.

However, if you have a bit more to spend and have the space to store a larger machine, you’ll want to look at rear drive and center drive elliptical trainers. If you’re going to be using the elliptical trainer daily as part of an intense workout machine, a center drive elliptical trainer is the best option but if you’re following a less intensive fitness routine, a rear drive elliptical trainer is a good choice.

3) Check The Elliptical Trainer Specifications

After you’ve finalized your type of design and the maximum price you’re willing to pay, the next step is to check out the specifications on the elliptical trainers and started putting together a shortlist. The specifications you look for will depend entirely on what you want out of your elliptical trainer. For example, if you want one that’s easy to store after your workout, look for folding elliptical trainers. If you want to measure improvements in your heart rate, look for elliptical trainers with a heart rate monitor. If workout variety is top of your priority list, look for elliptical trainers with a wide range of programs. Once you’ve decided what specifications are important to you, choose five elliptical trainers based on these specifications and add them to your shortlist.

4) Review Feedback From Existing Customers

Once you have your final five elliptical trainers, there’s just one more thing left to do – review the customer feedback on each of these models and make your final decision. If one model has much more positive feedback than the other four, then it’s an easy decision. However, if all the models have a similar level of positive feedback, go through the customer feedback in detail and write up a list of pros and cons for each of the five. Then review each list carefully and choose the model which matches most of your elliptical trainer requirements.

Summary

I hope this article has helped turn what may seem like a complicated decision into a simpler one. If you break it down into simple steps using the tips above, the entire elliptical trainer buying process becomes a whole lot easier and you’ll be able to find the perfect elliptical trainer for you with minimum effort.

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