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Indoor Exercise Machines: What are your Options

By Dr. Kristie

If you work a full-time job and have family obligations, it can be a challenge to get to the gym regularly for a workout. Although walking or running outdoors is an option, weather can be a factor, especially during the winter months when snow and ice covers the road and sidewalks.

Fortunately, there are more indoor exercise machines to choose from than ever before. Many pieces of exercise equipment take up little space and allow you to get a workout - rain or shine – right in the comfort of your own home. What are the best indoor exercise machines available for working out at home?

Indoor Exercise Machine: The Treadmill

A treadmill is a good indoor exercise machine for runners and power walkers who want to stay in shape during the winter months when walking and running is difficult. These machines allow you to adjust speed and elevation so you can simulate an outdoor run; although it’s usually easier since wind resistance isn’t a factor.

You can also vary the intensity by doing a slow, steep climb one day and a fast run with no incline the next – reducing the risk of boredom. You can do interval training by adjusting speed and incline – alternating high intensity exercise with recovery periods for an even more effective workout.  

The downside to owning a treadmill is they take up space and can be expensive. They also break down easily and can be expensive to repair. Although you can get a good cardiovascular workout with a treadmill, it doesn’t work the upper body which can be a disadvantage if you have limited time to workout.

Indoor Exercise Machine: The Elliptical Machine

Elliptical machines give a total body workout that’s low impact and easy on the joints. It’s a good option for people who have knee and joint problems – providing a safer option than the treadmill. Although it works both upper and lower body, it doesn’t build strength or muscle mass, so resistance training is still necessary for building lean body mass.

The drawbacks? Elliptical machines take up a fair amount of space which can be a problem for apartment dwellers. Plus, they’re expensive with some of the higher end models costing up to several thousand dollars. The fact that it gives a low impact workout is both an advantage and disadvantage since high impact exercise helps to preserve bone mass.

Indoor Exercise Machine: Exercise Bike

Like the treadmill, an exercise bike only works the lower body; but you can get a good fat burning, cardiovascular workout and can alter speed and resistance for further challenge. You can also do interval training on an exercise bike which is a more efficient way to burn calories and fat while building stamina.

This is a good alternative for cyclists to during the winter to maintain their fitness level, so they’ll be ready for outdoor rides in the spring. It’s also an easy machine to use while watching television. A disadvantage is that the seat on many models can be uncomfortable if used for prolonged periods.

Indoor Exercise Machine: Rowing Machine

This is another machine that gives a total body workout without taking up a great deal of space. There are models available that fold so they can be easily stored in a closet or under the bed. These machines are often overlooked when it comes to selecting an indoor exercise machine which is a shame since they provide a good cardiovascular, body toning workout that’s easy on the joints when correct form is used.  

The Bottom Line?

Before selecting an indoor exercise machine, try out various machines at a local health club for a few weeks to see which works best for you. Keep in mind that the best indoor exercise machine is the one you’ll be the most inclined to use.  


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