There’s no doubt about the fact that regular exercise improves your body, making you stronger, more toned and fitter. Research has shown that exercise also improves brain function and mood. Whether you go for a jog most mornings or hit the gym a few nights a week, however you get your exercise in is good for you.
For those who are time poor or prefer working out in the comfort of your own home, home exercise machines could be a great solution to get your daily workout in while fitting around your schedule and preferences.
Home vs Gym
From a practical standpoint, a home workout will save you time since you won’t have to travel to the gym. It’ll also allow you to be more flexible with your schedule, fitting in a workout when you have time rather than having to adhere to the local gym’s operating hours.
However, many people prefer the gym because they might lack the self discipline to work out at home. Having a membership to a local gym can be the incentive needed to go work out and make the most of your financial commitment. Or many people don’t have the space to house exercise equipment. Only you can decide if working out at home vs an outside gym is the best option for you.
The Most Popular Machines for Home Use
If you decide that working out at home is suitable and works for you, there are many great home exercise machines on the market, depending on your needs and goals. For an all-around workout that includes stretching, weights and aerobic exercise, the following machines are what people buy most:
The air bike provides both an upper and lower body workout, and lets you set your own resistance by simply speeding up (or slowing down) your pedaling. It’s a great piece of equipment if you’re into high-intensity interval training.
If you’re looking for a whole body workout (strength plus cardiovascular benefits), you can’t beat a rowing machine. Ten to fifteen minutes using proper technique* will work all major muscle groups while you work up a healthy sweat. Just be sure to warm up before hopping on, and stretch afterwards to minimize muscle soreness.
*Proper Rowing Technique is described as follows:
- Sit on the seat, strapping for feet onto the foot pads and grab the handles using an overhand grip. Extend your arms straight toward the flywheel, with wrists flat. Slide forward until your shins are vertical, and lean forward slightly from the hips.
- Begin to row by extending your legs and pushing off against the foot pads.
- Keeping your core tight, arms straight, and back firm, transfer power to the handles.
- As your knees straighten, gradually bend your arms and lean back.
- Bending your elbows, pull the handle to your stomach. Extend your legs, but don’t lock your knees! (Keep them just slightly bent.) Lean back at the hips.
- Return to the starting position, and you’re ready for your next stroke.
Yes, treadmills can be boring which is why, even in the gym lots of people watch TV or plug in to some energizing music, but there’s no question as to their effectiveness in providing weight-bearing aerobic benefits. They’re also must-have machinery for dedicated walkers or runners when the weather is cold or rainy. Treadmills can be minimalist to super-deluxe in terms of options, so it’s wise to determine how you’ll be using yours before you invest in one.
Are you planning to walk, jog, or will you be doing some serious running on it? Also consider one with a decent range of program options if you’re using it for more than just weight maintenance.
Incorporating Your New Machine into Your Routine
A dedicated space is ideal, but make sure that you have room for your machine(s) as well as plenty of space in which to roll out a mat for stretching, and a place to use and store additional equipment such as hand weights. Having everything in one place can create the gym experience within the comfort of your own home. Making sure it’s in a visible and easily accessible place can be a daily reminder to get your sweat on.
If possible, working out in front of a mirror can help you check your form so that you can avoid unnecessary injuries. Remember to warm up your muscles before you use your machine, and cool down with a variety of stretches after your workout.
If you procrastinate about going to the gym, a home gym with a good home exercise machine or two might be just the incentive you need to stay with your fitness routine, because you won’t reap the rewards unless you stay with the program!