For those of you trying to stay in shape or shed a few pounds (who isn't?) there are tons of resources. Perhaps you think there's nothing better than outdoor sports to burn up the calories as you feel those wonderful endorphins kicking in.
But what if it's winter and you're snowbound? What if you live, as I do, in the Southeast, where it seems that it's either too hot and humid for outdoor exertion, or it's pouring rain.
Your next best alternative may be an indoor regimen. Gyms, however, are expensive, and crowded - and, annoyingly for those of us who are well past our prime, full of 18 year olds in Spandex that make us feel like the Pillsbury Doughboy in sweats.
So, it's home gym time. Yes, stationary bikes are the cheapest, but have you ever sat on one of those seats for any length of time? Ouch!
My favorite indoor equipment is a home treadmill. It burns up more calories than a stationary bike, is more comfortable, and doesn't tear up my arthritic old knees like a stair stepper. Best of all, I can turn it on, climb aboard and watch TV all at the same time. My exercise time just flies by. Then I fold it up, stuff it under the couch. Try doing that with a Bow Flex!
Your home treadmill can be manual or electric, and come in a variety of different styles and options for workout speed, regulation and incline. You can walk on a flat surface at an easy three miles per hour or race rapidly up a hill. It's all up to you. Treadmills are easy to operate and offer a workout that quickly adapts to your desired pace and exertion level.
Those that fall in the $1000+ category usually offer two to three hp motors, and several incline options. They can rev up your own motor to running speeds of up to eight to ten miles per hour. Many are easily portable, folding away for under-bed or closet storage.
A higher end treadmill might offer an LCD display that lets you see your calories burned, your speed and time elapsed. What's really nifty about these $1200-$2000 models is that if you get really bored you can choose from one of their myriad computerized programs, which give you workout variety and a little spontaneity as well. A few even offer a chest sensor, a great option to prevent you from overdoing.
Top-end workout wizard models typically come with a warranty for motor, parts and labor. Handy features often included are 12 mph top speeds, many more workout programs, calorie counter and heart rate monitor, two cooling fans, personal profile centers, impact absorption and even carbohydrate counters.
For the budget conscious there are plenty of good manual treadmills out there at bargain basement prices. For a few hundred dollars you can still get a fast-paced workout. You can spend as little as $200 for three incline choices and a top speed of five miles per hour. Of course, there are also plenty of folks who made the purchase and are now just letting their home treadmill gather dust.
--------------------- About the Author ---------------------
Jeff London is a personal fitness trainer and owner and editor of Best Treadmill Reviews - a Treadmill Buyers Guide web resource dedicated to providing reviews of all the leading treadmill brands.
© 2005 All Right Reserved / This article can be freely reprinted providing it is published in it's entirety, including the resource box and copyright notice.