Skip Navigation Links
 



                     


 



   
    Learn More     Subscribe    
Join Now!      Login
 
 
 
FREE HEALTH
NEWSLETTER
 
 
Breast Cancer Quiz
More than three-quarters of women who get breast cancer are over whtat age?
 
 
 
 
T
ips from Fitness Trainers
 
Selecting Exercise Equipment

© Wayne L. Westcott PhD

Step Machines
Step machines provide a fairly demanding workout, because you must lift your bodyweight against gravity throughout the training session. If you have difficulty climbing stairs this is not the best choice of indoor equipment, but if you desire a more challenging form of exercise it may be ideal.

When performed properly, meaning with an erect body posture and without leaning on your hands or arms, stepping provides excellent exercise for your legs, thighs, and hips. Leaning forward reduces the exercise effectiveness and can cause damage to the nerves in the hands and wrists.

Motorized step machines are typically durable enough to withstand the bodyweight forces encountered with every leg movement. Unfortunately, non-motorized steppers generally lack the sturdy construction and functional capacity to hold up satisfactorily under regular use.

If you are pretty well-conditioned and can afford a well-constructed motorized step machine, then you should attain much physical benefit from this indoor activity. Otherwise, you would probably be better off with a different equipment selection.

Rowing Machines
As an overall exercise, it is hard to beat rowing. In addition to the aerobic benefits of this vigorous physical activity, the rowing action involves the muscles of the legs, thighs, hips, lower back, upper back and arms. Although rowing requires quite a bit of lower body and upper body coordination, most people can master the action with proper instruction.

If you are not reasonably fit, rowing may be a little too physically demanding for a beginning exercise activity. Also, if you suffer from low back problems, it may be best to choose a less stressful exercise.

From a practical perspective, rowers that use wind resistance are much more realistic than those that incorporate hydraulic resistance. Although rowing machines are relatively affordable, most models require more floor space than cycles and steppers.

Ski Machines
Like rowing, cross-country ski machines involve both upper body and lower body movements. They also require a learning curve to master the coordinated arm and leg actions. The overall effect is an excellent aerobic workout, with very low impact forces. Nonetheless, experience indicates that this is one exercise you should feel comfortable performing before you purchase the equipment. Cross-country ski machines can be reasonably priced but they do require a fair amount of floor space.

Riders
The so-called riders that have been highly-advertised and extremely popular over the past few years generally require too little effort from a cardiorespiratory perspective and cause too much stress from a musculoskeletal perspective. More specifically, the repetitive flexion and extension of the hip and back presents unnecessary injury risk, and is certainly not a recommended activity for persons predisposed to low back or hip problems.

Summary
In the final analysis, the best exercise equipment is that which you are most likely to use on a regular basis. Just be certain that the activity you select emphasizes rhythmic action in the major muscle groups and has a low injury potential. If you are just beginning, consider that simpler may be better in terms of the exercise movements and performance requirements.

Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., is Fitness Research Director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, MA., and author of several books on fitness including Building Strength and Stamina, and his most recent publication, Strength Training Past 50.

Add your comment   CONTINUED      Previous   1  2  3  Next   
About The Author
Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., is fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, MA. He is strength training consultant for numerous national organizations, such as the American Council on Exercise, the American Senior Fitness Association, and the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, and editorial advisor for many publications, including Prevention, Shape, and......more
 
Share   Facebook   Buzz   Delicious   Digg   Twitter  
 
 
 
 
 
 
From Our Sponsor
 
 
 
 
 
 
Featured Events
Wellness Inventory Certification Training
     September 16-December 16, 2014
     Teleclass, CA USA
 
Additional Calendar Links
 
Wellness, Eating, dimension!

Search   
Home       Wellness       Health A-Z       Alternative Therapies       Find a Practitioner       Healthy Products       Bookstore       Wellness Inventory
Healthy Kitchen       Healthy Woman       Healthy Man       Healthy Child       Healthy Aging       Wellness Center       Nutrition Center       Fitness Center
Free Newsletter      What Doctor's Don't Tell You      Stevia.com      Discount Lab Tests      First Aid      Global Health Calendar      Privacy Policy     Contact Us

Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.