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Your Health is Important Get Fit For Life
By: Martin Smith

Choosing fitness equipment for your personal use can be a rather daunting task. You canít turn on the TV without seeing ads that promise or imply that if you buy their exercise product and use it for 10-20 minutes a day you will have a slimmer trimmer body. We all want to look better but be wary, check around, and see if you can find any test results on this product.

Before embarking on a fitness or exercise program check with your physician to be sure the program or equipment you are considering, is safe for you. Find out what the makers of a particular piece of fitness equipment claims it can do and check it out. There are web sites where you can find the results of testing, often these tests use several brands of say stationary bikes, for durability ease of use, and performance. Ask other users, a personal trainer or a coach at your local gym.

When you go out shopping for fitness equipment, wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Be sure to ď take a test driveí on any piece of equipment that you are considering. Any retailer that refuses to let you try out a piece of equipment that you may want to buy, is not one you want to do business with.

There are questions you need to ask before purchasing any exercise equipment, Find out about warranty and return policies, and the cost and frequency of repairs.Also ask if there is a trial period, after which you can return the item for full store credit or refund. Reputable dealers of exercise and fitness equipment are generally willing to do this.

If you work long hours and you donít want the expense of a gym membership, you may be thinking about setting up a home gym. This can be confusing, which bike, treadmill or weight bench should you get? Do you have the space, What equipment will fit your budget? The American Council on Exercise suggests the following steps to help you make the right choice.

Identify Your Fitness Needs: Make sure that the activities you choose are enjoyable, or you are not likely to stick with it. Try to get equipment that increases resistance as you get stronger.

Determine your budget: The $99.00 treadmill from the discount store that falls apart in less than a year, is not a bargain. Shop around and compare prices, The cost range for a particular exercise device can span a wide price range, from store to store or web site to web site. Another possibility is to buy used equipment, but be cautious, only buy from authorized resale dealers. And get any warranty in writing.

Determine how much space is available: A treadmill requires at least 30sq. ft. A stationary bike, about10, and a Multi-station gym approximately 50-200 sq.ft. Examine the product: features, design, manufacture, safety, and serviceability. Make sure that while using the equipment, your body moves in a safe and correct manner.

Examine the product, make sure that features, design, manufacture and serviceability, Make sure that while using the equipment, your body moves in a safe and correct way, the equipment is comfortable, fits your size, and is not to difficult to learn.

Assess ďbang for the buckĒ Is the equipment safe? Can you afford it? Is it adjustable? Durable? Does it fit the space you have allotted to it? Is there a warranty? And can you get parts. Does the company offer a service plan?

If money is really a problem, buy one good quality-training piece, like a treadmill then add inexpensive strength training equipment. Such as tubing, and bar bells, you can always add to your home gym later. Treadmills are very popular despite all the new equipment, with all the bells and whistles. They are great for a good cardiovascular workout.

Some reasons why you should at least consider a treadmill is: They can be used by people of all ages, they have handrails that can be used by those who have problems with balance, and you can choose to have either a low or high impact session. Most treadmills adjust for incline, which allows you to increase the intensity of your workout without increasing speed. No special training is needed if you can walk, you can use a treadmill.

Once you have decided to get a treadmill, there are some things you need to check, before handing over your credit card. First check the frame, it should be sturdy with no wobble. High alloy steel is better than aluminum, but is heavier and needs to be coated against rust; A welded frame is sturdier than a bolted one. And donít even consider one with a plastic frame. The handrails can be either on the sides or in front like handlebars. Just be sure they donít wobble or interfere with your arm swings. Check whether AC or DC powers the machine you are looking. Most homes use DC and AC will require a separate power line.

Speed ranges are important, and you definitely want one that can adjust to your comfort pace, either running or walking. The belt needs to be at least as long as your longest stride, and about 16 inches wide. Be sure that the incline adjustment is easy enough for you to do on your own. The more fancy bells and whistles on the control panel, the higher the cost, donít buy what you wonít use. A well made quality treadmill will run you about $1,000 or more .Try to get a least a 2 year written guarantee on moving parts and 2 years on the frame.

There are all kinds of exercise and fitness equipment available besides treadmills, Stair climbers, stationary bikes, ski machines and free weights are just a few. Check consumer information Talk to people who use the equipment you are interested in, and research the benefits and drawbacks of items you want to purchase, You can also get good information from personal trainers and fitness coaches.

Used equipment can save you big bucks, but be cautious, only buy from reputable resale dealers, who will probably offer you a limited warranty. These dealers usually have all used equipment serviced and reconditioned, when possible.

The only way to get fit and stay that way is through, a program of proper nutrition and exercise. A fitness routine is like a marriage, if you arenít committed it wonít work.

About the Author
Martin Smith is a successful freelance writer providing advice for consumers on purchasing a variety of Fitness Equipment which includes Home Gyms, Exercise Bikes, and more! His numerous articles provide a wonderfully researched resource of interesting and relevant information

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape


Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.

Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:

Dave Snape

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