Today, more and more people are choosing the convenience of having home gym equipment versus having to go to a fitness facility or gym. Whether the reason is convenience, or that you want to workout in private or that you will workout more if you have a cardio machine in your home, it is still important to ensure that you choose the right machine for your goals and lifestyle.
Cardio is the foundation of any workout routine and a key factor in maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle. It elevates your heart rate, which in turn strengthens your heart and burns a high number of calories, making it an optimal form of exercise to achieve and maintain weight loss goals.
A benefit of exercising using a cardio machine is that the impact is reduced or taken off many of your joints. While running outside is an excellent form of exercise, it can be limiting or problematic for those that suffer from sports injuries or joint problems. By using a cardio machine to reduce or eliminate impact, you can obtain an effective cardio workout with less stress and damage to your body.
In the article below, we will discuss the most common cardio machines and help you identify which one will best suit your needs depending on the type of workout you want.
For a Full-Body Workout: Rowing Machine
If you want to workout your entire body out at once, a rowing machine is an excellent investment and can blast away calories. Indoor rowing moves your body in one fluid motion, which continuously delivers a challenging workout for your cardiovascular system.
Indoor rowing machines will also help you tone your muscles. When rowing, the motion engages your hamstrings, quads, rhomboids, traps, delts, pecs, triceps, and glutes.Simply put, your upper body and lower body get a killer workout. Even better, rowing is also a low-impact exercise and can be tailored to any fitness level – beginner to advanced.
If you are considering a rowing machine, think about your home space and layout. Do you need a rower that folds away for easy storage or do you have enough space for a larger unit that will not clutter your space? There are also several types of rowing machines to choose from such as hydraulic, flywheel, magnetic, and water. Hydraulic rowers are best if you have limited space or a smaller budget while a flywheel rower is best if you want a more natural rowing motion and are at an advanced fitness level.
For Any Kind of Weather and Workout: Treadmill
Treadmills are truly the most versatile of the home cardio machines. They are perfect for individuals who normally use walking or running outside as their cardio workout but would like another option to avoid missing workouts from raining or stormy weather.
Why are treadmills so versatile? You can run, jog, walk, do HIIT workouts, and use different inclines to simulate working out on hills. You can even slow down the speed to perform lunges or bear crawls. Keep in mind, however, treadmills do take up space.
For a Low-Impact Cardio Workout: Elliptical
Have knee or hip problems? An elliptical is the perfect home cardio machine for you. The elliptical keeps most of the impact off your joints as your legs move in a fluid, cyclical motions.
For the best workout, choose an elliptical with handles. Machines with handles give you the option to incorporate pushing and pulling into your activity. This means your pecs and delts can also get a workout and you will burn more calories.
Keep in mind that ellipticals are relatively large cardio machines, so you will need enough space for one.
For Lower Body and Weight Loss: Stationary Bikes
Indoor bikes, both recumbent and upright, provide an easy, low-impact way to work out your major leg muscles and achieve your weight loss goals. With an indoor bike, you also engage your core muscles to sit up straight. Stationary bikes are a great way for beginners to get into working out or to advanced athletes to supplement marathon training.
Make sure to consider how much space you have, your budget, and what type of cycling you want to do. A recumbent bike is more comfortable thanks to the wider seat but it will only engage your leg muscles. An upright bike, on the other hand, will allow you to fine-tune the adjustments to find the most comfortable position for you.
Last But Not Least
When choosing a cardio machine, consider what kind of workout you want to achieve, your budget, and your space. Having a hard time deciding? For the most effective workout for the money, try a rowing machine or treadmill. For low-impact workouts, choose a stationary bike or elliptical.
About the Author
Ann Kaknon has been in the fitness industry for over 10 years including work as a dietician, personal trainer, and athletic trainer.