Gadgets to boost workouts

Gadgets to boost workouts

With no time to spare for a game of football or basketball with friends, or even time for a brisk walk, most of us have come to rely on gadgets to make us break into a sweat and bring some excitement into our sedentary lives!
Versatile in nature, these fitness machines are most often seen at the gym while some of them can be set up at home, that is, if you have enough room to spare. But the important question is which machine to chose and what health benefits each has to offer.

Elliptical trainer
This is an all round training machine which exercises your leg and arm muscles simultaneously. Elliptical trainers are a unique hybrid of a treadmill, stepper, bike and cross-country skier, that move your legs and arms in an elongated oval pattern (hence the name elliptical). Thus, a good buy for exercising major muscles which help keep your body in shape. The advantage here is that as your arms move, your heart muscles also get exercised which is an added bonus to your heart. This low-impact machine is also easy on the knees, simple to use, and burns big calories.
Although elliptical trainers may cost more than any of the other machines individually, it is certainly less expensive to equip your home gym with an elliptical trainer than to purchase each of those machines separately. Also, consider the time that it would take you working out on three different trainers as opposed to the amount of time involved in exercising with one machine alone.

Rowing machine
Contrary to common belief, rowing does not only target your upper body, it targets both the upper and lower body muscles, not to mention your abdominals.
Rowing is a great aerobic exercise because the smooth, low-impact, and non-load bearing movement works the whole body and can challenge almost any fitness level. With the proper technique, rowing will evenly target all your major muscle groups (legs, arms, and torso) and abs. Rowing exercise machines offer both aerobic (heart and lungs) and anaerobic (muscle strengthening) benefits. Be sure to warm up and stretch before your workout, and do not continue your exercise if you feel pain in your lower back.

One of the more important things you need to consider when choosing an exercise rowing machine is what type of resistance you want.  There are four types of resistance: hydraulic, air, magnetic, and water.  Each resistance offers something a little different.

Hydraulic resistance is created by using shocks, similar to what is used on a car.  These are easily adjustable, effective, and are the most space conscious of all the rowing machines. Air resistance simulates a real rowing shell.  The air rowing machines offer continuous rowing motion that requires an initial thrust to propel the fan. There is more freedom in your rowing motion and is generally a very aggressive form of rowing.

Magnetic resistance offers smooth and virtually silent rowing.
Water resistance offers a true-to-life rowing experience. The connection is fluid, there is no impact or jerkiness and jarring typical of other rowing machines.
Rowing machines can also easily be set-up at home and can comfortably be stored, as they can be folded up.
 
Stair stepper
If you’ve never tried a stair stepping machine, you’re missing out on a fantastic cardio exercise that strengthens your legs and lungs at the same time. A stair stepper is a moderate-intensity option that anyone can do.

Stair stepper machines are one of the most popular and one of the most effective forms of cardio exercise. You get all of the benefits of running up stairs without any of the drawbacks. Running can be hard on your legs because of the impact. Stair stepper machines are low impact and they are a lot easier on the legs. With stair stepper machines the weather outside is not a concern as it can be with running. But the biggest advantage of stair stepper machines is that the speed is adjustable.

Stationary bike
These are very handy especially if you can’t tear yourself away from the TV! Just set it up in front of the idiot box and cycle away while you watch all you favourite shows. Before you know it, you will be challenging yourself with higher resistance which will help you burn more calories.

Stationary bikes have low-impact option that’s easy on your joints and works your thigh muscles wonderfully. However not all stationary bikes are alike. There are two main types, an upright bike and a recumbent bike.

The first option, an upright bike, is like a regular bicycle (your legs extend below your torso and your back is not supported), only stationary. Recumbent bikes offer a more relaxed, supported sitting position. Like a chair, they have seat backs to support your back, and instead of pedalling below, your legs usually extend in front of you.
Go for the one which suits you best. If you definitely need a support for your back, then go for the recumbent one as this will support it well and yet.

Resistance bands
This is by far the most versatile piece of equipment you can buy. I’ve long touted the benefits of bands, which you can use to strength train every single muscle in your body, whether you’re a beginner or advanced exerciser, at home or on the road.

Everyone from beginners to conditioned athletes can benefit by adding resistance tubes/bands to their strength-training programs. Resistance bands can add challenge and variety to any workout program, and they come in a convenient (and affordable) little package.

Stability ball
Like resistance bands, stability balls (also called physio, Swiss or exercise balls) are extremely versatile.

They can be incorporated into cardio routines, yoga, Pilates, stretching, and of course, full body strength training (whether used alone or in combination with bands or dumbbells).

In recent years, health and fitness practitioners have given greater and greater emphasis to core stability training for injury prevention, rehabilitation and performance enhancement.The concept of developing strong muscles in the trunk is believed to reduce the risk of both acute and chronic injury and weak core muscles have been associated with low back pain.

One study concluded that 5 weeks of Swiss ball core stability and balance exercises increased torso balance and EMG activity compared to conventional floor exercises in women.

Try the Swiss ball, at home, work or at the gym. It is fun and effective. These are just some of the many kinds of fitness equipment available, so start setting them up and using them to get into the fitness regime that you’ve been putting off.

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