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Fitness

What To Look For In Exercise Equipment

Shop around before investing in exercise equipment. Visit a reputable sporting-goods outlet, seek recommendations from friends and health-club personnel, and check ads in sports and fitness magazines. Machines for home use are usually cheaper than health-club models, but can still cost several hundred dollars. If possible, try before you buy, and remember that you don't need fancy equipment to stay in shape.

Rowers give a vigorous aerobic workout that doesn't pound joints. With a piston rower (shown) you pull and push two long rods while sitting on a sliding seat. More expensive fly-wheel models, in which you pull on a bar attached to a chain, more closely simulate on-the-water rowing motions. To avoid injury, start with low resistance and build up gradually.

Climbers work leg and buttock muscles and quickly get the heart pumping in or above the training zone. Resistance, step height, and speed can be adjusted on many models; some keep track of pace, time, and number of steps. Climbers are not recommended for beginners.

Ski machines mimic outdoor cross-country skiing, though even experienced skiers have difficulty finding their balance on them at first. Feet are held in place on sliding platforms, and hands grip either push-and-pull, polelike evers or handles attached to a rope-and-pulley system.

Cycles run the gamut from simple resistance trainers that attach to outdoor bikes to whisper-quiet, air-resistant ergometers that give both arms and legs a workout. A good performance feature: Clips or straps to hold feet in place, so that legs pull up as well as push down on the pedals, working more muscles.

Treadmills allow you to jog or run indoors. The safest models have handrails and let you adjust speed gradually so that you won't stumble or fly off the back of the moving belt. Manual (nonelectric) models cost considerably less than the sophisticated electronic versions, with programmable intervals, "hills, " and video screens.

By Neklausk Ne -


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