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Wise Up When Purchasing Fitness Equipment
Whether you're tired of the lines at the gym or you just want the convenience of being able to work out at home, starting your own home gym can be a baffling experience. From abdominal rockers to rowing machines to stationery bikes, it can be difficult to decide what equipment you need - and how to assess quality. February is a great month to purchase fitness equipment because it's Wise Consumer Health Month, which is observed to help people renew their commitments to their physical, emotional and mental health.
Celebrate Wise Consumer Health Month by using these tips to get the best buys in home fitness equipment:
- Plan before you shop. Cost and space constraints are probably your major considerations. Think about the types of equipment you use at your gym and how you can adapt the same types of equipment to your home space.
- A well-rounded fitness plan includes cardiovascular exercise, strength training and stretching, so consider how you'll accomplish these components when doing your equipment shopping. Running, walking, biking, climbing stairs and jump roping are great ways to get cardiovascular exercise for little but the cost of your shoes. If you love exercising, but hate inclement weather, though, you may want to invest in indoor cardio equipment such as a treadmill or stationery bike. You can design a bargain strength-training program with resistance bands, dumbbells and an incline bench, or you can go all out with Nautilus equipment that caters to every muscle group.
- Consider quality. Cardio equipment such as treadmills, bikes and stair steppers are available in a wide range of prices, but you should always test the equipment before leaving the store to make sure your good buy is sturdily constructed. Be especially careful when choosing weight benches with bars for bench presses because flimsy bar rests may be dangerous. Checking Consumer Reports for quality ratings on name-brand products is always a good idea before you buy. Fitness equipment that has been lightly used, especially dumbbells and cardio machines, may provide quality at a lower cost. Look for fitness center "going-out-of-business sales" or classified ads for name-brand bargains.
- Be careful of extra features. A treadmill that provides you with a printout of your heart rate during your run may be neat, but you may not actually use extra features and gadgets regularly. In many cases, extra features = added cost, so be sure you're getting something you'll really use.
Sources: IDEA, http://www.ideafit.com