If you're one of the many people who are hearing from their doctors that they need to: lose weight, lower their cholesterol, and get more active in order to decrease their risk of various diseases, then it's time to pay attention. There are many ailments that can be largely prevented by maintaining a healthy weight and fitness level.
One way to control weight is to make exercise a habit. This increases the metabolism, which helps burn calories. But with today's busy and hectic lifestyles, how do you incorporate regular exercise into your busy day? How will you know if the exercise you do is effective enough to be worth it?
The right exercise equipment, provided you are disciplined enough to use it, may help. There are advantages and disadvantages to owning your own machine(s). Exercise equipment that is personally owned and kept indoors removes the excuse of not having enough time to get to the gym, or enough money to keep up with health club membership payments. It also enables you to work out on your own schedule, instead of getting to the gym before they close, or wanting to work out before they open. For those whom it matters to, it's your equipment, which you don't have to share with hundreds of other people, or worry about disinfecting before each use (although keeping your equipment reasonably clean is important!).
Possible disadvantages of investing in your own exercise equipment is that because it's at home with you, you might just get used to it being there, like another piece of furniture. Too often, exercise machines end up being used more as objects to drape air-dry clothes across, or dust-catchers, than instruments of heart disease prevention. Another con may be that you don't understand how to use the item, and with no instructors or trainers around, like at a health club, you end up injuring yourself or not using the equipment at all because you don't know how to use it properly.
Another potential disadvantage is lack of variety. At a workout facility, you have the choice of many different kinds of equipment to exercise all your different muscles. Weight bearing, aerobic, anaerobic, land, aquatic, you name it, it's not necessary to limit yourself. When you buy exercise equipment, each machine will usually only serve limited functions. If you need a different kind of exercise on alternate days, for example, to stick to your prescribed fitness routine, you may have to either buy other equipment or go outside to run or do another sport -- and in inclement weather, that may become another excuse not to work out.
A great way to get around the problem of too little variety is to look for machines that will provide a number of exercises to meet your health needs. For example, the bowflex treadclimber combines a treadmill and climber in one. So you get an comprehensive cardiovascular workout with only one machine. If the bowflex climber is outside your price range ($1,500 to $2,200 for the high end models) new, look around for a used machine. Or look at other types of machines.
The most important thing is to give up the excuses. After all, there is no excuse that feels as good as being in shape!