Which Cardio Fitness Equipment is Best for You?

With innumerable options, choosing the right cardio fitness equipment for you can be a little overwhelming. Each machine has an array of different features, benefits and drawbacks. Most gyms offer treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes and stair climbers/steppers.

Treadmill

Treadmills allow you to use both your arms and legs during exercise in free motion. Also, this machine is great for beginners to advanced runners. The speed setting allows the user to adjust the speed setting according to their personal fitness level, whether it be walking or running. Most treadmills also offer an incline adjustment option, another way to add intensity and challenge yourself. Furthermore, treadmills allow you to walk/run regardless of whether conditions, abolishing any excuse to skip your daily workout. Treadmills usually have a display that tells you your heart rate and calories burned. These machines often offer different built-in training programs.

However, if you don’t own a gym membership and are shopping around for the right cardio fitness equipment, a treadmill might not be the best option. Generally, treadmills are relatively pricey. Also, while you can adjust your pace and incline, treadmills are limited if you’re looking for variety. Treadmills also may not be the best choice for those with knee problems, as running can exacerbate these issues.

Elliptical Machine

Ellipticals also exercise and tone both the upper and lower body. Perhaps the best advantage of these machines is that they are low-impact, putting far elss stress on your joints than other aerobic exercises, like running. This makes the elliptical an excellent choice for the elderly, as well as those with knee or other joint problems. These machines typically have built-in heart rate monitors, and display your heart rate and calories burned. Most ellipticals also have optional built-on training programs.

If you are a runner training for a marathon, the elliptical might not be the optimal choice for you. Also, elliptical machines are also relatively pricey to own.

Stationary Bike

The stationary bike is a great option for those new to fitness, namely for their ease of use. These machines are also more gentle on the knee and ankle joints, and help build strong leg muscles. For home use, these bikes are convenient space savers. The bikes also provide heart rate monitors and calories burned readouts.

One notable disadvantage is that stationary bikes focus mainly on leg muscles, instead of working the upper body. Another is that there isn’t much variety, so the chance of growing bored with your routine is higher.

Stair Climber/Stair Stepper

Stair steppers are another low-impact option. There’s a reason these machines have been a gym staple since the eighties. Stair steppers are great for working and toning all of the muscles of your lower body (leg muscles, butt, hips, thighs). Also, heart rate monitors, calories-burned radouts, and built-in training programs are built-in.

While stair steppers are low-impact, they put more strain on the legs than the elliptical machine, as it requires you to move your legs up and down, rather than forward and backward. There are also no handles for upper body conditioning.

No matter what your personal goals and/or challenges are, you can easily find the perfect piece of cardio fitness equipment for you!

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