Are you thinking of purchasing some exercise equipment for yourself or a loved one? Before you do, think about a few key questions first. Where is the equipment going to go? Space can be a limiting factor. Noise levels allowed within the space can also be restrictive as well. What does the person want to accomplish or do? If aerobics are a priority, then getting a set of free weights would not make much sense. If core strength is a priority, then a treadmill won’t help accomplish that goal. How much do you want to spend? You can spend a lot of money, but is that really necessary. Because people are upgrading and getting rid of lightly used equipment all the time, you can get a really nice piece of equipment for a fraction of what it originally cost. For example, I bought a Precor stationary bicycle for $100 when a brand new would have cost well over $1k. So now the question is what to buy.
Here are my suggestions from my experience as one that exercises regularly and one who encourages others to exercise as well.
- Upright Stationary Bicycle: Notice I did not say RECUMBANT. As one who has dealt with low back pain for years, I can promise you that an UPRIGHT stationary bicycle is far more comfortable to use. Upright bicycles take up very little space too. This piece of equipment allows me to spin until my heart is content and my body is drenched in sweat. And it does not matter if it is raining outside.
- Total Gym: This resistance-based exercise equipment provides a versatile way to tone your core, legs, arms, and buttocks. A Total Gym is not cheap and it takes some space, but it really is versatile, easy to use and often found in physical therapy gyms too.
- Swiss Ball: Another item found in many gyms is a big round exercise ball, a Swiss Ball. The amount of exercises that can be done on this simple device is overwhelming. I’ve been using one for years in my own living room. I store it in the bathtub behind the shower curtain. So it really does not take any noticeable space in my home. My core strength and balance have improved immensely since using it.
- Free Weights: Relatively inexpensive, free weights do give you a lot of options for your dollars. Legs can be strengthened with squats while holding 10, 15, or 20 pounds. Arms are easily strengthened in the process as well. Even the core muscles can be strengthened with free weights. Try holding one while doing sit-ups and you’ll feel your abdominal wall work even harder.
- Treadmill: Even though treadmills take a lot of space, it sure is nice to have one if you have the room. Walking and running can all take place in the comfort of your home when you have one. People with disabilities will still probably prefer a stationary bicycle because of comfort and stability, but a treadmill is worth considering if aerobic exercise is a priority.
This short list is all that is worth considering. Elliptical machines are too complicated and uncomfortable for anyone with low back problems like me. Multi-station units with a weight stack take up too much space and are too expensive. When researching exercise equipment, go to your local gym to see what is being used frequently and the brands being used. Consider talking to a physical therapist because they usually know exactly what works and what does not. Once the money is spent, you want the exercise equipment to be used, effective and reliable. Money towards exercise equipment can be money well spent towards a priceless amount of health.
Published On: December 11, 2013