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How do I Choose the Best Aerobic Exercise Machines?

By Thomas Henry
Updated Jan 24, 2024
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Choosing the best aerobic exercise machines for you will depend upon what you hope to accomplish. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, each week most healthy adults should get at least 2 1/2 hours of moderate aerobic exercise or at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. If your goals are to lose weight or just stay fit, they can be met on most aerobic exercise machines, including treadmills, stair steppers, elliptical machines, and exercise bikes. All of these machines are common pieces of home fitness equipment.

One of the most basic aerobic exercises is walking on a treadmill. A 180-pound (81.6 kg) man can burn about 350 calories by walking 3 mph (4.8 kph) on a treadmill for 60 minutes. Someone who is heavier will burn more calories, while a person who weighs less will burn fewer calories walking at the same speed and for the same length of time. Even more calories can be burned by running on a treadmill. A 180-pound (81.6 kg) man who runs a pace of 10 mph (16 kph) for 30 minutes will burn about 730 calories.

If you are someone who has bad hips, knees, or ankles, you may want to try an elliptical machine. With an elliptical machine, your feet don't come into contact with the ground. Another plus is that most elliptical trainers have dual-action handlebars for your arms and foot pedals for your legs, providing a full-body workout. A 180-pound (81.6 kg) man who exercises for 60 minutes on an elliptical trainer may burn more than 900 calories, depending upon the intensity of his workout.

A stair-step machine is another one of the most common aerobic exercise machines. Stair-steppers have been found in homes, gyms, and fitness centers since the early 1980s. They are a good choice for someone who wants to tone up and lose weight because they offer both strength training and aerobic exercise. A 180-pound (81.6 kg) man who exercises for 60 minutes on a stair-stepper can burn more than 570 calories.

Bicycles are another type of aerobic exercise machines. A 180-pound (81.6 kg) man who rides an exercise bike for an hour could burn 300 to 700 calories, depending upon the intensity of his workout. Bikes are popular because they are often more affordable than treadmills. Another plus for exercise bikes is that they come in two forms, upright and recumbent, both of which enable the rider to sit as he exercises. This is a good position for someone who wants to read or watch television and exercise at the same time.

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Discussion Comments
By ElizaBennett — On Jan 18, 2012

@EdRick - I like rowing, too. My gym has a rowing class that I've tried several times. It's surprisingly intense.

I notice that the article is mostly focused on home exercise equipment, but I find it more convenient to belong to a gym. That way, I don't have to worry about maintaining the machine, keeping it away from my kids, etc. The gym has a child care room that is quite reasonably priced so I am not limited to working out during nap time.

The other nice thing about the gym is that it has a wider variety of cardio exercise machines so you don't get bored. There are several different kinds of elliptical trainers and different kinds of stair steppers (personally, I like the one that is like a down escalator that you're trying to walk up). There's also a "skater" machine that is great for working inner and outer thighs. If you do own a home exercise machine, it shouldn't be the only exercise you do - cross-training is so important.

By EdRick — On Jan 17, 2012

Another option for aerobic exercise equipment for the home is a rowing machine. You get a full-body workout that's both strengthening and cardiovascular. The nice thing about rowing is that it really works your core, which the other machines really don't. It's nice if you don't like doing a million crunches and want to get a little ab work in in other ways.

The only disadvantage of the rowing machine is that it's loud - it's a little harder to watch TV while you're rowing. But that's something to consider about any piece of equipment for your home: how you're going to use it. See how loud the machine is, how much space it takes up, whether it can be folded away, etc. And if you have small children, you'll need to consider where you will keep the machine that the kids can't get at it and hurt themselves.

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