Choosing the best cardio equipment for a home gym

November 6, 2014

Learn what to look for in treadmills, elliptical trainers and other machines before purchasing your home exercise cardio equipment.

Choosing the best cardio equipment for a home gym

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology says you should get at least 150 minutes of moderate or vigorous cardiovascular exercise every week, and having one of these machines at home is a good way to squeeze extra workouts into a busy day.

1. Treadmills

This is the ideal exercise machine if you want to continue a walking or running habit indoors, particularly during the colder winter months.

If you're buying one for everyone in your family to use, look for a sturdy treadmill that is rated to accommodate the weight of the heaviest user, and has a treadmill belt long and wide enough to accommodate the same user's stride. The treadmill should not shake or squeak when you run on it, and should have a cushioned running deck, an easy-to-read display, and control buttons that are easy to understand.

Keep in mind that if you share a wall with neighbours or your home with loved ones, they will hear your every step on the treadmill. If you need a quieter machine, consider purchasing an elliptical trainer or stationary cycle instead.

2. Elliptical trainers

Elliptical trainers have pedals that travel through an elliptical arc and allow you to simulate the motion of running without a lot of impact on your joints. These machines also produce less noise than a treadmill. The only catch is that both the machine's stride motion and the positioning of its moving handlebars must fit your body, so this isn't the best choice if several people of different sizes will be sharing the same machine.

Look for a sturdy, stable elliptical trainer that doesn't shake or squeak. Get on the elliptical and pedal before you buy it to ensure that it's a comfortable fit for your body. This is an ideal exercise machine for working out in shared spaces.

3. Stationary cycles

If you're an avid cyclist, a stationary cycle lets you continue your habit indoors during bad weather or dark, cold nights. This type of machine is especially ideal if you need to work out quietly or don't have much space for storing large equipment. Look for a cycle with the narrowest pedal spacing possible, so it'll feel more like riding a real bike.

If you don't like the feeling of sitting on a conventional bicycle seat, you can opt for a recumbent cycle. These cycles position you somewhat behind the pedals instead of right on top of them, and usually feature a broad, wide seat that is comfortable for all body types.

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