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Find the right fitness equipment

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (1/5/11)--Is your New Year’s Resolution to get fit, but your personal economy is shaky? You can lose weight, gain muscle mass, pump up your endorphins, increase flexibility--name your goal--without spending precious time and scarce money at a gym. Learn how to shop for quality new or used fitness equipment--from the simplest to the most complicated--and move your workout into your home ( Dec. 27). New equipment is ideal--it comes with a warranty and is an investment. But if your budget says “no,” or you aren’t sure what you need, it makes sense to purchase used equipment. Websites can help you figure out what you need and want, get you started on your own exercise program, and even review brand names and models. Then, when you are ready to purchase equipment, you can make an informed decision. Use key words and phrases to search these sites for ratings, comparisons, reviews, or helpful tips:
* reports what experts and users say about a product, without being influenced by advertising or other commercial considerations. * gets its information from real people with passion and expertise in their fields who agree to observe a conflict-of-interest policy. * combines expert with practical knowledge to help you research, share, and discuss solutions and tips for just about anything you want to do.
Examples of key words or phrases: exercise video, treadmill, resistance band, strength training, toning, elliptical machine, fit on a budget, and so forth. You’ll find choices for information about the topic you enter, plus leads to new areas of exercise you perhaps hadn’t considered. Before you buy fitness equipment:
* Think about activities you already enjoy. This is important when venturing into something new to increase the likelihood you’ll actually use the equipment you buy. For example, if you hate bike riding, don’t buy a stationary bike. Start with exercise videos that you rent or borrow from the library and a good pair of shoes to find out what you like. * Determine your budget. Exercise gear doesn’t have to be expensive, but you want good quality. Visit and search “exercise on a budget” for alternatives to spending a lot of money for gym membership or on home equipment. * How much room do you have? Before you buy anything bigger than resistance bands, think about where you’ll put it. Measure your space to avoid future problems. * Beware of fitness fraud. This includes quick fixes and impossible claims. Example: An ab machine will target your abdominal muscles, but it won’t reduce fat over your tummy.
For a broad review of healthy ideas, listen to “10 Ways to Save on Health Care” on the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.