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Splurge and Steal Cardio Equipment

Make good investments - or get great deals- when spending your fitness dollars
When it comes to cardio there are a lot of options. It can be difficult to know where to spend your hard earned money. Do you get one big ticket item and cross your fingers that you’ll put it to use, or do you trust that equipment costing less than $100 will give you everything you need. Here’s a list of some splurges and great steals so you know what you’re up against as you shop for cardio equipment.

Splurge
Treadmill - The most well-known piece of cardio equipment, fitness treadmills are also some of the most expensive. High end models that have all the things that make treadmills fun - such as individual programs, variable inclines, a wider range of speeds and high tech heart rate monitors and calorie counters - can cost home users upwards of several thousand dollars. Even a cheap store-brand treadmill will cost about $400, and that’s if it’s on sale. If you’ve ever used a health club quality treadmill you might find yourself disappointed if you choose to settle for a relatively lower priced model for your home. So if you’re going to splurge for one of these cardio machines, you might as well go the distance and get one you will actually like.
Elliptical - Ellipticals offer smooth motion and low-impact aerobic exercise, which is why so many people love using them. Many have moveable handles so you’ll benefit from a total body workout. And if you get one with a good range of incline you’ll be able to work your lower body from a variety of angles, including several that will really target your butt and thighs. I myself have tried a few cheaper elliptical trainers that cost their purchasers as little as $150 to $300, but without incline and the ----- to change resistance I found the workouts they lacking. If you choose to splurge on one of these make sure you try it out thoroughly before you buy.

Steal
Mini steppers - For about $50 you can get one of these compact pieces of equipment that’ll tone your butt while raising your heart rate. Some of these machines come with attached resistance cords so you can work your arms at the same time. The best part about the mini stepper isn’t the price though, it’s the size. They are small enough to store in a cupboard, and you can even put them under your desk to get a bit of cardio in while you work.
BOSU ball - You might be thinking that a BOSU ball isn’t a cardio machine because it has no motor or even moving parts, but you’d be doing yourself a big disservice. I think it’s what you do with the equipment that counts, and with a BOSU you can do almost anything. These oddly-shaped wonders (they look like half a stability ball attached to a flat platform) give you the butt toning benefit of a step, combined with an uneven surface that forces your body to use core stabilizing muscles at every move. Like mini steppers, some BOSUs have resistance cords attached so you can target your entire body and up the calorie burn.
Hula hoop - I know what you’re thinking. Those aren’t cardio equipment, they’re children’s toys. That may be true, but there aren’t many other kids toys that’ll burn this many calories and help you lose inches off your entire body (while making you feel years younger), unless of course you count the skipping rope.

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  1. John B
    July 6th, 2010 at 02:24 | #1

    Has anybody found a good workout machine for home use in a home gym? I am thinking of Bowflex… John B.

  1. July 5th, 2010 at 19:13 | #1
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