I want to buy some exercise equipment for my room so I can workout while listening to my radio. Which cardio machine is the best in your opinion? Treadmills, elliptical machines or stationary bikes?
Funny you should ask this question as my wife and I recently went through the process of researching, testing and ultimately buying a piece of exercise equipment for our home. To be more accurate, we live in a condominium and this distinction is important as I illustrate the many things to consider before purchasing a machine. The following is a list of things we had to consider, some of which may or may not apply to your situation:
- Price: Price is a fairly obvious place to start and it is exactly where we started. One of the first things you will come to find is that every category of home exercise equipment (bikes, treadmills, elliptical machines), just as with cars will have a certain amount of styles within a certain price point. All of these machines have a certain “base model” that is functional but doesn’t have the bells and whistles of the more deluxe models. The construction and durability of these base models is also generally inferior to those in a higher price point. With that in mind, it becomes a matter of maximizing your dollar. The question is which piece of equipment maximizes the quality and accessories you want within your budget.
- Preference. Often time’s people will buy a piece of equipment simply because a friend or family member had success using it. But no amount of fancy accessories on that treadmill is going to make you get on it every day if you hate to run. Along with this, you need to ask yourself which piece of equipment is best for your body. Do you have any nagging injuries that would be aggravated by the impact of a treadmill? If so, perhaps an elliptical machine is better suited for you.
- Space. This is by far the most overlooked area and one that we had the most difficulty with overcoming. It’s one thing to simply take measurements and see if the thing will mathematically fit in whatever room you choose to put it in but it’s also the fact that it may look ridiculous once you get it in the room. I had a friend who purchased a very nice elliptical machine for her living room and took all the appropriate measurements to make sure it would fit. Once it arrived and was put into place however, she couldn’t stand how big it looked in her living room. It stuck out like a sore thumb. She said, “It’s great when I’m on it, but the other 99% of the time I can’t stand being in my living room because it just looks so big and ridiculous”. So one thing to definitely consider is not only the mathematical space but the machine’s proportions to the room it’s intended for.
- Noise. As I noted above, we live in a condominium, on the 2nd floor. Although our downstairs neighbors are wonderful people, I doubt how long they could tolerate the sound of a pounding treadmill as they sat down at night for a quiet dinner. You also have to consider those who live with you (unless of course, you live alone). Keep in mind that even though many machines are quiet, I have yet to encounter one that is completely silent.
All in all, there are numerous pieces of equipment that all provide a great workout. Which one is best completely depends on your circumstance. One rule of thumb I can offer is to stick closer to the base models in the beginning. Get a well constructed base model and through the hours of time you will spend on it, you will begin to discover which accessories you may want should you decide to upgrade.