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Get in shape during the new year!

The right home exercise equipment can help you reach your fitness goals in 2014

Published: December 2013


If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most powerful drugs ever invented. Chances are, you’ve heard many variations of that sentiment. Research suggests that exercise can cut the risk of colon cancer (60 percent), type 2 diabetes (58 percent), heart disease (40 percent), and Alzheimer’s disease (40 percent). Another study, which compared regular exercisers with couch potatoes, concluded that each minute of physical activity added an average of 7 minutes of life span.

You’d think statistics like that would make everyone lace up their sneakers. But apparently, powerful evidence isn’t powerful enough: Just 20 percent of Americans say they get the recommended amount of aerobic and strength exercises.

Why? Partly because many people overestimate how much they need to work out. But you can get benefits with just 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise or 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity. Better yet, “10 minutes three times a day is just as effective,” says Carol Ewing Garber, Ph.D., associate professor of movement sciences at Columbia University and president elect of the American College of Sports Medicine. And if you can’t do that, “even 5 or 10 minutes a day can make a difference.”

“Convenience and proximity are key predictors of exercise,” says Garber, so it makes sense that working out at home ups the odds not only that you’ll become active but also that you’ll also stick with a routine. The best machine for you is the one that you’ll use—but how do you know which one that will be? Our tests of elliptical trainers, rowing machines, spin bikes, and treadmills can help you decide. And we consulted with experts to help you pick the machine that will best help you reach your health goals.

Editor's Note:

This article appeared in the February 2014 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.  

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