Health & Fitness

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fitness Equipment For Your Home; When You're Tired Of Fitness Centers

Have you noticed how the body changes depending on the amount of exercise that you take? Seeing celebrities in the media with perfect bodies can make anyone want to buy some fitness equipment instantly. Regular exercise can make a huge difference to not only your condition but of course also to the way you look. Research has shown that people who do not eat less but exercise more will lose weight and tone up within only a few weeks. This makes getting fit worth while.

Burning calories should not be your only reason for taking up exercise and picking the right fitness equipment for your body and the areas of your physique that you want to improve is all important and there are more options than just jumping onto a treadmill for half an hour a day. With a well balanced exercise regime you can focus on problem areas of your body or simply on cardiovascular exercise. Know what fitness equipment to pick and get going!

But how do you get fit if you have a busy lifestyle? If you have a job and are taking care of the kids as well? Driving to the nearest gym may simply take up too much time, so how about getting some fitness equipment installed at home to make use of the time that you have available? You can even do your exercises when watching TV in-between chores. As exercising creates endorphins in the body you will get lots of energy from it and after half an hour you will be ready to face your busy day again.

So what fitness equipment is best for you? Exploring the options and outweighing what is best for you and your body is a great start to a good fitness regime. Examples of popular fitness equipment are:

The treadmill

This machine makes it possible for you to run a few miles anywhere you want. Put the machine in your bedroom or study, or buy one with wheels and roll the machine into your living room during the day to exercise when watching TV.

Ab crunch machines

This piece of fitness equipment will help you get rid of the dreaded belly. If your stomach is not as flat as you'd like it to be this is the kind of machine you should go for. The crunches can be done sitting or lying down and if you maintain a regular exercise schedule you will see results in a few weeks.

Ab Benches
This fitness equipment enables you to lie down and lift up your upper body to do a perfect ab crunch. This is a great exercise to strengthen your back and to create a flatter stomach.

So what are you waiting for? Take your pick from the great fitness equipment that is on offer nowadays and take your time to find out more about your own needs when it comes to getting in shape. Look at your body and figure out what you'd like to change. Log on to the Internet and browse the many types of fitness equipment available to you. Here (LINK) you will find plenty of information to get you going.

By: Gary Holdon

Cycling Your Way To Fitness - Stationary Exercise Bikes - Still A Top Choice For Overall Fitness

In all the craze over new fangled fitness equipment, exercise bikes often get overlooked. Stationary exercise bikes have been around for many years, which can lead some people to think they are outdated or not as effective as newer types of equipment. But for many people, exercise bikes provide a fun, consistent, reasonable means of exercising, improving cardio functions, and losing weight.

Stationary exercise bikes provide all the benefits of riding a bicycle. They provide good cardio workouts, have much less impact on knees, hips and other joints than walking or running, and can be used at any time it’s convenient. Most stationary bikes have manual or computerized controls to allow you to adjust resistance and speed. Many also come with heart monitors and cardio workouts already programmed in. There is a huge selection of price and style, and stationary bikes tend to be the most affordable cardio exercise machine.

Plus, with a stationary bike, you don’t have to worry about traffic, dogs, or bad weather. You can exercise in the convenience of your own home and even watch television or read a book while you bike. Try doing that on the bike path at the park!

Types of Stationary Exercise Bikes

Standard, upright stationary bikes come in single or dual action models. Dual action bikes have handles or levers to work the upper body and have been shown to provide more effective cardio workouts, burn more calories, and also improve overall body tone more efficiently than single action bikes. Dual action bikes work well for those with hip or leg injuries who need to exercise but also need to go easy on their legs. The dual action allows the arms to work harder to operate the machine, thus requiring less work from the legs.

A recumbent bike, sometimes called a “bent,” is a type of stationary bike that is more laid back…literally. It places the body in a semi or fully reclining position, taking pressure off the back area. Some people feel the position is difficult to adapt to at first, but many who choose recumbent bikes say they are very easy and comfortable to ride. They usually come with a larger seat, which often means you will stay on the machine longer or not have discomfort later.

Because of the reclining position, a recumbent bike works the abdominal muscles more and also creates more hamstring action. The lower center of gravity makes for better balance as well. Doctors feel they are better for those with back problems or with cerebral palsy and related diseases. The recumbent bikes also bring your feet more closely in line with your heart, keeping blood pressure low and providing for a safer overall workout.

Popular Models & Prices

Most stationary bikes come with ways to assess your speed and distance. Economy models have a tachometer/odometer combination and a design that utilizes a flywheel to provide resistance. These models are not programmable and provide the least effective workout, but are at under $200 can be an inexpensive way for a beginner or someone on a tight budget to get some exercise. They can be purchased at many department stores.

Standard models usually come with more features such as a programmable consul that calculates heart rate or allows you to pick a heart rate and then adjust the resistance accordingly. These bikes may use flywheels, fan blades, or magnetic resistance, depending on the quality. Magnetic resistance is usually the best method as it operates more smoothly and is quieter. These models can range from $200 up to $1500 and provide the broadest range of selection for the average person. Some popular models include Tunturi F520 (recumbent), Vision Fitness R2000, and several models from Schwinn, the popular bike manufacturer.

More expensive stationary bikes often use magnetic resistance and typically need to be plugged in to an outlet. They come with all the bells and whistles, including extended warranties, more varied programming features, and comfort options such as built in fans. They typically cost over $1500. Lifecycle 5500HR and 5500RHR (recumbent) are popular choices among those who are serious about their workout or have a healthy budget.

Other popular manufacturers of exercise bikes include Nordic Track, Reebok, Weslo, Keys, Fitness Quest, and Edge.

Compared To Other Equipment

All types of stationary bikes provide a low impact workout that many feel is an advantage over treadmill exercise. The force on the knees, ankles, feet and other body parts that occurs with walking or running can cause swelling or discomfort in the joints. It can irritate old injuries or sometimes even produce new problems. A stationary bike provides non-weight bearing exercise that reduces impact on these areas.

In the health and fitness industries, and among customers, there is an extensive debate over which machines burn more calories and give a better cardio workout. There is evidence on both sides of the issue, but many people agree that a stationary bike should have dual action to optimize weight loss and heart health. The pumping of the arms has a significant impact of the effectiveness of any workout, and a treadmill is less effective as well if you hold onto the hand supports rather than letting your arms swing or pumping them in rhythm to your motion.

Elliptical trainers are another exercise option that provides a low impact workout, but many feel they do not provide the same cardio benefits. Rowing machines are boring, more difficult to use, and can be hard on the back. Other equipment has disadvantages as well, making stationary bikes a good choice for overall effectiveness and satisfaction. Consumer buying shows that exercise bikes continue to rank as a top choice for exercise and fitness training.

In the ever expanding world of health and fitness equipment, there have been some true advances as well as a bunch of gimmicks. A stationary bike is an old standard that has been a proven exercise tool for years, and that continues to improve and adapt through new technology. The overall effectiveness, ease of use and variety of designs and prices makes a stationary exercise bike an excellent choice for beginners and advanced enthusiasts alike.

By: C.J. Gustafson

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Importance Of Weight Training

There's a story that the first person who trained with weights was a Greek named Milo, way back when the original Olympic games flourished. He acquired a small calf, and each day he would walk around an amphitheater, carrying it on his shoulders. Each day the calf grew a bit larger, so Milo had to work harder to carry it around. But because it grew only gradually, he was able to do it. Finally, he was carrying a full-grown bull around the amphitheater, and had the musculature to show for it.

Well, anyone with common sense knows that women were the original weight trainers! Substitute a new born baby for a small calf, and there ya go.

Unfortunately, once the babe has grown enough to be able to walk on his or her own two feet and not want to be carried whenever their little legs get tired, some moms never lift weights again, and the muscles that were used to perform these feats become little used, and therefore weaken. When they get on in years, the dowager humps and the flabby underarms and the general loss of bone mass happen just the same.

Which is why weight training is important, and training the upper body is more important for women than it is for men.

So, what type of upper body exercises are there?


Strong arms don't do you much good if your shoulders can't support them properly.

The exercises that target the trapezius muscles only is the shoulder shrug.

The shoulder shrug can be done with either a barbell or dumbbells. For a woman, it's probably easier just to use dumbbells, of appropriate weights. Stand up straight, holding the weights at your sides - 15-pound weights are best. Then, simply make a motion as if you were shrugging your shoulders, ten to fifteen times. You'll be able to feel the muscles being worked after you finish the set.

Exercises that target both the trapezius muscles and the deltoid muscles are "presses," "raises," and "fly"s.

When you press a dumbbell or barbell, it means that you're pushing it over your head. Again, dumbbells are easier to use than barbells (indeed, if you don't want to go to the expense of a barbell and the weights that fit onto it, a selection of dumbbells of appropriate weights will suit the purpose also.) .

Simply stand with your hands holding the dumbbells at shoulder-high level. Then lift them alternately over your head, until you've done a total of ten with each arm.

To do a dumbbell raise, on the other hand, you stand with your arms at your sides, holding 10 pound dumbbells in this case. (Or five-pound dumbbells, depending on your strength level.) Simply raise your arms straight outward from your sides, until your arms are parallel to the ground. Lower and repeat ten times. Again, you'll be able to feel your shoulders after repeating this set.

To do a back fly, stand up, but bend over, so that your chest is parallel to the ground. Let your arms hang straight down. Then, simply raise your arms straight up. This really works your pectorals as well as your shoulder muscles, and is harder to do than the other exercises, just because of the body angle.

But you really want to work your pecs, because this will help prevent sagging breasts in old age!

By: Derek C

How To Gain Muscle Mass Fast- 3 Simple Steps

Despite all the hard work, protein shakes, gym visits, calories of chicken and tuna are you still struggling to gain muscle mass fast? Well lucky for you I have discovered 3 of the best ways to gain muscle mass quickly. Follow these simple steps and you will start building big muscles all over your body. So let’s get started.

1. Squats and Dead lifts. These 2 big “animal exercises” are crucial for gaining muscle mass quickly. In fact squats and dead lifts workout over 75% of your musculature, including your back, shoulders, arms, gluts, hams, calves and core muscles. Truly an all in one workout exercise. Moreover these 2 exercises also result in greater levels of growth hormones being produced which means you will gain muscle mass fast all over your body. This is because squats and dead lifts have a strong level of intensity which other exercises don’t. This is particularly relevant for skinny guys and hard gainers. The best way to gain muscle mass.

2. Focus on compound exercises such as squats, leg presses, dead lifts, bench presses, barbell rows, pull ups, chin ups, over head presses, and dips. These exercises are must do’s if you want to gain muscle mass fast because they focus on the strong muscles. A lot of people who want to know how to gain muscle mass quickly focus on things like calves and arms and wonder why they never get really bulked up. Focus on weak muscles and that’s exactly what you will get.

3. Time your rest periods. A key aspect of gaining muscle mass quickly is using a stopwatch and timing your rest periods properly. The higher the number of reps, the shorter the rest period and the lower the number of reps the longer the rest period. If you are training for maximum strength then you need to take between 3-5 minutes break between each set. If you are taking a shorter period then you are not working out properly. Further if you are trying to get maximum muscle gain this requires shorter break times of 30-90 seconds. Also if you rest times are not the same, you cannot monitor your true improvement.

Ok so now you know 3 simple but highly effective strategies to gain muscle mass quick. Remember to include them in your next workout and you will see measurable improvements in how you look and feel. For more killer ways to gain muscle mass fast check out my resource box.

By: Rory Wilkinson

Exercise Bike Equipment Choices - 4 Tips To Chooose A Winner

Exercise bike equipment can be a great investment for improving your health and fitness. A good workout just makes you feel better and the right equipment is fun to use. Choose an exercise bike that feels right and you'll enjoy riding. Equipment that doesn't fit correctly or is in any way irritating will be a constant aggravation.


Exercise bikes come in several types and all kinds of price ranges. The electronics which include programmable ride simulations and video displays affects the price quite a bit. You can get built in heart rate monitors and many other electronic options.

Upright or Recumbent

Another basic choice in bikes is whether you prefer an upright bike or a recumbent one. The recumbent bike puts you in a sitting position which minimizes the stress to the knees. But it's difficult to vary your position on a recumbent, so you're pretty well stuck in one spot. The upright bikes let you shift around some, but may stress the knees more. Plus the seat on an upright is very important. Especially if you do long workout, a seat can cause muscle problems in the hips since you're putting weight on the muscles that are doing a lot of the work of pedaling.

Resistance Type

The system used to provide resistance to pedaling varies in bikes. Standard in most bikes now is a magnetic resistance system. Most are electric systems, either plug-in or battery powered. Also sometimes the magnetic resistance is generated by the pedaling. Check the warranty for the resistance system since this is a major part of the bike. Years ago, resistance for exercise bikes was often just a friction band but most of these bikes are gone. Another older system is the one where you turn a fan with your pedals creating more resistance the faster you pedal. This reliable design is still found in the Schwinn Airdyne.

Special Purpose

You can also get a dual action exercise bike which works your legs and your arms at the same time. Another type of machine for people unable to use their legs lets you pedal only with your arms for a workout.

There is no reason to buy the most expensive multi-thousand dollar machine for home use. But don't pay too little and get low quality exercise equipment that you won't use. If possible try out a machine like you are considering and make sure you like the fit and function.

Exercise bike equipment is a long term investment that can help you feel better and improve your overall fitness.

By: Al Bullington