If you’re like me then you don’t do cardio because you want to, you do it because you know you should to stay healthy and fit! Some people do truly love to run at a steady state for a long time, I’m not one of those people. Yes, I have got out of bed at 4:00 am and ran 6 miles before work, but only because I know the health benefits of doing so.
I find one of the best ways to get in the cardio work you know you should, is by having the equipment available at home.
The best way you can make doing cardio more enjoyable or more convenient, is to find the at home cardio equipment that works the best for you. To help you make that decision I am going to walk you through some different options, their benefits, what I like about each one and of course what I don’t like about them.
You can’t talk about at home cardio equipment without bringing up treadmills. It is one of the most well-known pieces of cardio equipment and possibly the most dreaded. I’ve heard all the excuses about how they are bad for your joints or running isn’t fun, heck, I’ve used both of those to talk myself in to skipping out on cardio. But a treadmill is so well-known for a reason, they are effective, they are readily available, and the technology built in to them has come so far that the above excuses are almost obsolete!
Majority of the treadmills available on the market, now have built in heart rate monitors where you grab the handles and it displays your heart rate in real time. They also have some sort of cushioning built in to the track to ease the force of pressure on your joints, and most have one touch buttons for speed and elevation changes so you can make quick changes to the difficulty of your workout. The final feature that is common on most Treadmills is the ability to fold them up for more compact storage.
Now that all takes care of the comfort and convenience, but what about stepping it up a bit on your at home cardio equipment and adding a few features that will make it more enjoyable? Say things to distract you from the fact that you are just running on the spot, almost as if you were that hamster you laughed at for being entertained running in a wheel for hours on end. Things like blue tooth connectivity so you can hook up your phone to listen to music that gets you in the groove, or, a built in TV so you can throw on a movie or your favorite Netflix series. If you run a fitness app on your phone or a fitness tracker on your wrist then there are even treadmills that will connect directly to those devices and show stats on your phone or tablet.
The next piece of at home cardio equipment I’m going to discuss is an elliptical, probably the second most well-known one on this list. The cost of an elliptical will be about the same as a treadmill for the base models all the way up to the premium blue-tooth and TV models. So, as far as I’m concerned this comes down to two very important things; do you have enough space for an elliptical, and which one do you prefer to do?
Ellipticals don’t fold up like treadmills and they are typically taller so you will require a little more head space when you are on the machine. But don’t let that discourage you from considering adding this to your home gym, if you have the space something like this bowflex elliptical is a fantastic choice, there are so many workout options and resistance levels that it can be a great workout for any level of fitness. I have found in the past that people that are new to cardio workouts really enjoy elliptical machines.
Second, you need to think about what type of cardio is going to be the most enjoyable for you, if you don’t enjoy it you aren’t going to be motivated to step on that piece of equipment and put in the best effort you can. Someone that enjoys running or walking may not enjoy an elliptical as much as someone who enjoys cross-country skiing. If you have never tried an elliptical then I would suggest you find a friend or family member who has one and give it an honest workout, or hit up the gym when they open again. I recommend this over trying one at a store since you won’t get a true feel for it in the 5 minutes you might use it in the showroom, and this is a big purchase that you could use for the next 15 to 20 years.
If you enjoy riding a bike outdoors then this is the obvious choice for you, there are so many models available of both upright and recumbent bikes. You may also see something called an indoor cycle which is essentially a stationary road bike, this is the type of cycle you see at spin classes, they are typically bare bones machines that serve one purpose, RIDE! This is the type of cycle I have in my home but I also have a TV on the wall so I am alright not having the built-in blue tooth or TV’s that come as features on other types. There are a few exceptions to this style of bike offered by Bowflex, the C6 bike connects to the Peleton app, Zwift app and the Explore the World app, you can connect your own blue tooth device and follow along with a virtual spin class or ride a trail with others, it truly is something else. If you don’t have the option to hook up to a TV or a tablet you can get the Peleton bike which has all the same features with a built in 22″ screen, either would be a great addition to your home gym.
You could also consider a different style of upright bike with a built in screen and one touch buttons for resistance levels. These typically have the same heart rate monitors built in and pre-programmed workouts. You can also get them with built in speakers and Bluetooth capabilities. Recumbent bikes come with all the same features of this style of bike and they only differ in the fact that you sit in a chair and the pedals are out in front of you versus under neath you like on a traditional bike. Lots of people find this style a lot more comfortable for the extended rides, so if you fall in to that category you should consider this for your at home cardio equipment.
Now if you have never tried a treadclimber and you are looking for a great cardio workout but running really isn’t your thing then this might be what you have been looking for. In the industry of at home cardio equipment, treadclimbers are relatively new compared to the other equipment in this post. But they have come a long way in their 17 years on the market, the reason is, because they are so effective at helping you get fit with a low impact high intensity workout.
The treadclimber has two parallel belts similar to a treadmill but as you move forward you step up like a stair climber, each treadle rises to meet your foot as you step for a low impact on your joints. The only manufacturer of the treadclimber is bowflew and they claim you burn 2.5 times the amount of calories as compared to a treadmill at the same speed. That’s a pretty big claim but being an avid user of a treadclimber I can tell you it is pretty accurate.
Rowing machines have gained a lot of popularity as at home cardio equipment as well as become more affordable in the last decade thanks to their popularity with the cross fit crowd. Rowing machines are utilized in cross fit gyms because they are a great high intensity workout that allows you to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. There is virtually no impact to your joints and they provide a full body workout! Again these have come a long way on the technology as well and you can get them available with most of the features you see on the other equipment in this post.
If you enjoy kayaking or canoeing then this may be the choice for you.
Here’s where we get in to some equipment you may not have heard of since it is so new to the market. These are low impact high intensity machines that burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. Things like the Peak Trainer, Max Trainer and LateralX. As far as at home cardio equipment goes these things are revolutionary, you get a whole body workout which in turn burns more calories and builds more muscle. The movement on any of these will take some getting used to, but after using it for a while it just becomes second nature. These types of machines aren’t for the users that don’t want cardio be their full workout, cause if you put in a solid 20 minutes on one of these you aren’t going to want to do much else afterwards.
On the other hand, if you want something where you can get your full workout done without stopping and have it is one of the most intense workouts you’ve had then maybe this is what you need to be looking at.
Now Is the Time
A gym membership could cost you $300 to $500 per year, now if you and your partner or roommate both have memberships think about how much you will spend in the next 15 years. Not to mention the fuel to go to the gym or the times like now where everything is closed down and you don’t even get to use that membership. You could buy any one of these pieces of at home cardio equipment and save a lot of money in the lifetime of the equipment. All you need to do is figure out which one of these will keep you motivated and set you up for the best success, and then plan your goals and go after them!
Let me know in the comments below which of these you have tried and your favorite, or if this helped you decide what you want to try. I love to hear success stories too if you have already taken the plunge!