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Cardio Equipment

Learn about the best equipment for cardiovascular exercise

So you've decided to lose a little weight, or maybe you just want to stay in shape. The best way to get the body you want is to focus on cardio exercise, which means you'll be engaging in moderate to intense physical exercise in order to get your heart pumping. This, in turn, will help you burn calories and slim down (or keep trim).

Most experts recommend that individuals participate in at least 30 to 60 minutes of fairly intense cardiovascular activity three or four times a week. How you do that is up to you – it could include going for a brisk jog alongside the family dog, playing touch football with friends or sprinting laps down at the local high school track. However, since getting cardio exercise outside isn't always easy, let's take a brief look at some cardio equipment for your home.

Treadmill

Perhaps the most popular piece of cardio fitness equipment is the treadmill, which simulates the experience of outdoor running and jogging by rotating a rubber track at adjustable speeds and inclines. However, the treadmill offers some advantages over a jog outside – for one, most feature some sort of shock absorption to make sure your knees don't get worn out as you bounce up and down for 30 to 60 minutes at a time, several days a week. The pavement on Main Street won't do that for you. Ranging between $700 and $1,000, they're sometimes a more economical option for someone hesitant to join a gym, where memberships can run $40/month, meaning you more or less "lease" aerobics equipment and end up with nothing in the end.

Unfortunately, there are disadvantages to a treadmill. Unlike running outside, the scenery rarely changes and sometimes that means you will lose interest in the activity. Here's an idea: set up a television in front of the treadmill and tune it to an engaging program that helps you forget your activity and, ideally, pumps you up to keep going further and faster. Fast-paced rock or dance music videos are a nice choice.

Elliptical

The second most popular type of cardio exercise equipment is the elliptical machine. This machine, invented only in 2004, mimics the running motion but is designed to prevent strain on the feet, knees and other areas impacted by running. Note, however, that using elliptical machines may saving your joints, but will not burn as many calories as using a treadmill or running outside. A good start, nonetheless!

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