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Types;  Choosing the Right Machine;  Reviews

This page offers a discussion of Aerobic Exercise Machines, including:
  • the main types available
  • criteria to consider when choosing an aerobic machine
  • targeted reviews of the most effective models - including cost and what you get for the money

Aerobic Exercise Machines

The main types of aerobic machines are as follows:
  1. Treadmills
  2. Elliptical Trainers
  3. Stair Climbers
  4. Stationary Bicycles
  5. Combinations - most notably Treadclimbers
  6. Other machines, usually targeting specific body areas (e.g., Ab Doer, Ab Lounge, Thigh Master, etc)

Click the desired machine in the list above for a detailed discussion, including a review of several models considered to be the best value for the money.

Aerobic Exercise Machines
Choosing the Right Machine:

Based on my own experience, I consider that all aerobic machines of type 1-5 (listed above), if used regularly will deliver significant aerobic benefits - referring to fat-burning, weight loss, and cardiovascular protection. To be quite honest, however, I have a personal preference for stair climbers and treadclimbers, which I believe provide a somewhat more challenging, more elegant and less boring workout. Of course, the number of calories burned with each machine depends on the intensity of the workout, added resistance, individual workout technique, etc.

If you consider purchasing an an aerobic workout machine, here are a few criteria to consider:

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Desirable features in an aerobic workout machine:
  • should be decently built and sturdy enough to provide stability during the workout
  • should occupy as little space as possible (if space is an issue, a foldaway system with vertical storage option may be desirable)
  • should offer the option of adding resistance to make workouts more challenging
  • should be able to monitor the calories burned during exercise
  • should be able to monitor heart rate during exercise
  • should be reasonably priced
Beware of:
  • skimpy machines with a correspondingly low price tag: such equipment often tends to break down after only a few uses
  • machines targeting a limited body area and using a highly repetitive motion (e.g., certain types of abdominal trainers where you do crunches against resistance, as advertised on TV with a lot of hype). True, such machines may be used to improve and tone the respective body area, in conjunction with other aerobic and/or muscle toning exercise. However, if relying solely on such machines, the overall aerobic benefits (fat-burning and weight loss) are likely to be limited.
A few words of advice:
  • Before purchasing an exercise machine, make sure to try it out. The best way to do this is going to a gym and completing a workout on the respective machine. This should give you an idea of how 'compatible' you are with this machine, and how likely you are to use it on a regular basis. Granted, not every gym may carry the machine you want, but all things considered, it's worthwhile finding a gym that does.
  • Some products out there, especially the ones sold on TV infomercials, offer a money back guarantee. However, please don't fall in the trap of thinking: "I'll try it out at home after I buy it. After all, I can always send it back!" Think again: Who will pay for shipping when you send back your machine? And how about the inconvenience of shipping out such a bulky item? Who will disassemble and repackage your machine? For all these reasons, most people who buy a home gym never send it back.

Aerobic Exercise Machines
Positives & Negatives:

Prior to purchasing an aerobic exercise machine, it pays to review some of the advantages and drawback of this type of workout equipment.

Advantages of Aerobic Machines:
  • Convenience (easy to use)
  • Ability to monitor the number of calories burned
  • Ability to monitor heart rate
  • Effective for weight loss if used regularly
  • Convenient for interval training (alternation of high intensity and low intensity workout intervals), which is more effective than exercising at constant moderate rate)
Disadvantages of Aerobic Machines:
  • Can be boring at times (same thing over and over).
  • Occupy a sizable chunk of your living space.
  • Will make you huff, puff, and break a sweat (in fact, you have to break a sweat in order for the workout to be effective).
  • Can be rather noisy (if you want to watch TV while exercising, chances are you won't be able to hear the soundtrack).
  • Offer limited strength training benefits - i.e., don't build significant muscle mass.
    (This disadvantage can be partially corrected if your machine permits adding resistance. An example of a machine that permits adding resistance is a treadmill with variable incline: The steeper the incline, the higher the resistance created.)

Note: It is prudent to consult with your doctor prior to starting an exercise program, especially if you are new to exercise, suffer from any medical conditions, or are a woman over the age of 50 or a man over the age of 40.


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