cardio home gym
Exercise,  Healthy Living,  New Year,  self-care

New Year, New Home Gyms

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Late last year, I published a post on some of the basics of starting a home gym: Start a Home Gym with These Equipment Options. That is a great place to start if you are starting your own home gym.

Moving forward, here we are at the start of a New Year with new bigger goals for our mental and physical health… And we are still in a pandemic right now so visiting the gym may not be the best option for many people. Thus I decided to add more to the topic of home gyms.

My family has a home gym in our game room — an elliptical machine, weight machine, a set of dumbbells, a weight bench, resistance bands, yoga mats, and as of last month, a treadmill. My son has a punching and weight bag system out in the garage. It has taken us some time to get this put together so remember you don’t have to build a gym all at once.

A cardio element is typically a big part of a home gym.

Cardio Equipment

There is a wide variety of equipment to choose from under the cardio category. You can buy used, but, this is probably best reserved for very high end equipment that you cannot afford brand new. There are a lot of options in affordable, but, quality products that you can find online and even in stores.

Treadmills

Treadmills are probably the most popular machines to have at home. They can provide a wide range of intensity in workouts, and can allow you to run, walk and even sprint. Many models offer incline settings as well. Most will track progress, calories burned and heart rate and have programming in place to reach such targets. Some of the more sophisticated models offer cool features like pre-set routes, and large screens that show a type of virtual reality scenery as you run or walk.

Pros:

  • Versatile.
  • Good for all fitness levels.
  • Great for heart health and fat burning.
  • Grows with you as get more fit.
  • Ideal for various fitness levels so suitable for multiple family members.

Cons:

  • High impact workout.
  • Bulky and needs space to house it.
  • Does not offer a full body workout.
  • The better models will be costly.

Elliptical Cross Trainers

Elliptical trainers are another good option and differ from treadmills in that they offer a low impact cardio workout. The machine mimics running movements, without a big impact on joints, such as, the knees.

Pros:

  • Good for all fitness levels.
  • Wide range of intensity levels.
  • Grows with you as get more fit.
  • Ideal for various fitness levels.
  • Low impact workout.

Cons:

  • Bulky and needs space to house it.
  • The better models will be costly.

Steppers

Steppers are machines that imitate the climbing of stairs. These offer an intense workout that can work multiple leg muscles. There are two types to choose from, stair climbers and stair steppers. The climber provides a full body workout because it includes an arms module. Steppers only engage the legs and do not have moveable arms.

Various motions and settings can be used to train the quadriceps or the hamstrings and glutes in addition to the quadriceps, while at the same time quickly increasing the heart rate and providing a great cardio workout.

Pros:

  • Ideal for beginner, intermediate and advanced fitness levels
  • Full body workout on stair climber models that have moveable handles (mimics rock climbing)
  • Wide range of workouts, with various intensity levels
  • Grows with you as get more fit

Cons:

  • Depending on the model, steppers can be bulky and will need space, but, less space. than treadmills or even some exercise bikes.
  • The better models will be costly.
  • Not a full body workout on stair stepper models.
  • Hard on the knees, so not a good option for those with knee conditions.

Stationary Bikes

There are two types of stationary bikes, upright and recumbent. Both provide a low impact workout. 

The upright bike offers the feel of a regular bike, while the recumbent models have a comfortable seat with chair-like seating that offers back support. The recumbent models are even more low impact due to the seat back design, and remove pressure off the legs and ankles.

Bikes range from very simple and low-cost models to very sophisticated higher-end varieties that have a lot more features. Some of these bikes (Peloton or Echelon) have accompanying exercise subscription programs that you can purchase for your workout regimen.

Pros:

  • Good for all fitness levels.
  • Depending on the mode, you can get a wide range of workouts, with various intensity levels.
  • Can grow with you as get more fit, again depends on the sophistication level of the model.
  • There are smaller more compact models to fit smaller spaces.

Cons:

  • Some models can be bulky.
  • The better models will be costly.
  • Not a full body workout.

Rowing Machines

Rowing machines can really turn up the heat because they are a full-body workout, but, with very little stress on leg joints and knees.

Pros:

  • Good for all fitness levels.
  • Full body workout.
  • Intense fat burning.
  • Can grow with you as get more fit.
  • Ideal for beginner, intermediate and advanced fitness levels
  • Some models are compact so, they take up less space than other cardio equipment.

Cons:

  • Sophisticated models can be costly

Other Cardio Options

If you want to skip the equipment you can always place a television with a streaming service (or a DVD/Blu-Ray player (if you are old school!) in your home gym and use the multitude of streaming workout programs or on DVD to get your cardio and aerobic workouts. There are so many choices, including, aerobics, step aerobics, HIIT, Tabata, Yoga, Pilates, and combo workouts, like Insanity and P90X.

There are also fitness jump ropes that can provide a great cardio charge to your exercise regimen.

With all of these options (there are more that I didn’t cover!), you should be able to find a great cardio choice that you like, that you will do, and that works for you and your family!

Loving Life — The Reboot!

Dominique

This article provides general information and discussion about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having.

New Year, New Home Gyms

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