Saturday, March 12, 2011

Choosing the Best Cardio Equipment

Most of you know by now that cardio equipment and I are not very good friends.  Sure, we have to get along from time to time, but I much prefer to take my workouts outside in the form of walking, running and swimming.

That being said, I know many of you hit up the cardio a few times a week and I thought I would give you the lowdown on how to choose the best equipment.

So the burning question is:  Which one is the best choice?

Answer:  The one you are going to actually use.

I could go on about how treadmills are better as running, by nature, is a high-intensity activity and therefore, you will burn more calories, get a better workout etc.

The truth of the matter is that dreadmill will do you absolutely no service if you hate to run and use it to dry your laundry.

That is just money down the drain.

Here is a quick rundown on three of the most popular choices to help you figure out which one you will actually use.  In all cases, look for a piece that is well-made, smooth, easy to operate and the right size for your space.

The piece is probably the most popular of the bunch. 

  • Great for walkers and runners who are unable to get outside
  • Most models are easy to use with many different program and incline/decline options
  • Shock absorption to help protect your joints
  • Some models hook up to heart rate monitors
  • Are often intimidating for beginners
  • People with knees and other injuries may not be able to use
  • If you hate running/walking
Cost:  Ranges from $300 - $5000

Stationary Bike
There are a few types to choose from here: recumbent (pictured), upright and spinning. 

  • Great for beginners (especially the recumbent bike)
  • Easy on the joints and perfect for rehabilitation
  • Models are easy to use with many program options
  • Perfect for cross-training
  • Easier to "cheat" as you may not push yourself as hard in a reclined position
  • My increase the risk of injury if you are using an upright or spinning bike without proper training
  • If you hate cycling
Cost: Ranges from $150 - $2000

Elliptical Trainer
This piece became quite popular over the lat 15 years and is still going strong. 

  • A wide variety of movement options available (i.e. range of motion.)
  • Low impact
  • Some model allow for upper body workout
  • Are able to pedal forwards and backwards
  • Great way to cross-train
  • Some machines are limited in their range of motion and don't allow for the best workout
  • Boredom over time
  • If you hate the elliptical trainer
Cost: Ranges from $200 - $7000

What is your favourite piece of cardio equipment?
Any advantages/disadvantages that I missed?

Stay Healthy,

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