Choosing Cardio Equipment

Decorating your home gym is one thing, picking out your gym equipment is another.  For this task, you need to consider the benefits on your body, and whether or not you will actually use the darn thing if you purchase it.

Using your personal preference, and the benefits of popular home gym equipment, choose what you will use to help you lose!


The most popular piece of home gym equipment, treadmills give a great cardio workout and particularly benefit the lower body.

  • If you plan to run or jog, invest in a surface with more give, it's worth it.
  • An inclined, motorized track is an important option - walking uphill burns more calories and can provide the same intensity as jogging.
  • A 1.25- to 1.5-horsepower motor is best.
  • If you plan to walk only,  your walking surface can be a little more narrow and short, but should still be at least 5 feet in length.
  • Make sure there are sturdy handrails.


Stair Climbers

An intense cardio workout on a stair stepper is good for the soul, and your joints, as it is much less impact on your legs and feet than a treadmill. 

  • Stair climbers offer the same cardio benefits as treadmills, while  building the muscles in your legs, thighs and buttocks
  • Some models have linked pedals in which pressing down on one forces the other one up. Unlinked models provide a more natural rhythm.
  • Small, portable climbers are affordable and can include monitoring for calories burned or steps taken, but the intensity level is very limited.
  • Many stair climbers simulate an up and down movement, while higher-quality machines use a revolving staircase that have a more accurate motion of stair climbing.
  • Hand rails are important features – they can be side rails or front rails and depend on user preference.

Exercise Bikes

Exercise bikes provide fairly intense workouts with little stress to the knees and feet. They also tend to be one of the least expensive and space efficient home gym options.  One of the most popular home gym options in equipment, as you can read, watch television or even talk on the phone while working out.

  • Designs that recline reduce strain on the lower back, but can limit workout intensity.
  • Some models offer arm movements as well. Arm and leg exercise burns more calories and causes less fatigue per calorie burned for a more efficient workout.
  • Consider seat comfort.
  • For resistance, stationary bicycles use friction belts or wheels, magnets, hydraulics, or fans, and users tend to prefer one over the others.

Cross-Country Ski Machine

Cross-country skiing action uses both upper and lower body muscle groups more than other exercise machines do, meaning more calories burned in a shorter workout time.  A low impact choice, it’s not everyone’s favorite cardio workout, as it’s difficult to read while on a skiing machine.  When choosing a skier, consider equipment that allows separate adjustments for upper- and lower-body resistance.

Can’t decide which one is best for outfitting your home gym?  Choose two for a varied workout and to eliminate workout weariness.