The choices available if you are looking for fitness equipment are simply huge. Fitness equipment falls into three main categories – cardio, strength, and accessories – and the possibilities are huge for each.
Cardio equipment tends to be the biggest, most expensive fitness equipment on the market. The most popular options include treadmills, stationary bikes (upright and recumbent), cross trainers, rowers, steppers, and climbers. Each has their advantages.
For a lower body workout the choices are between treadmills, bikes, and steppers. Each has their adherents – bikes and steppers are both low impact, which is good if you have joint problems, but treadmills are enduringly popular. This is probably due to the sheer pleasure of running and walking- it is after all, the most simple, natural movement of all.
If you want to get a good cardio workout while working both lower and upper body, you have the choice between cross-trainers, rowing machines, and climbers. Each of them gives a superb, low impact workout – which you prefer is really a matter of personal preference.
When you turn to strength training, you will find an even wider range of choices. Like treadmills, free weights are perhaps the simplest and most enduring option for strength training, and whether you choose barbells or dumbbells, you will be able to perform a huge range of exercises for the entire body.
In commercial fitness facilities you will usually find a variety of strength training machines – these are often considered safer than free weights, and it is quick and easy to adjust the resistance, but they lack the flexibility of free weights.
Other options that are increasing in popularity include bands – which re originally used for rehab, but are now recognized as a valid training tool for anyone – kettlebells, and suspension systems.
Kettlebells are one of the hottest pieces of equipment in fitness right now, used as a substitute for dumbbells and barbells. They allow you to perform a great series of exercises for the whole body, many of which activate the core, making this a complete way to train.
Similarly, suspension systems like the TRX are quick and easy to set-up and sue, and offer a fantastic workout using just your own body weight. You can use them at home, and they are also ideal for when you are traveling.
Finally there are some great accessories that can enhance your workouts. The simplest is a good floor mat – a comfortable floor mat is essential for flexibility work, and will also be a valuable tool for working your core.
Other accessories that are great for core work include the BOSU, and an exercise ball. Both allow you to work the deep lying abdominal muscles that are so vital for a strong, healthy core.