Both inexpensive and versatile, exercise balls can be used for stretching, improving balance and strengthening and toning muscles. The size chosen should be based on the user's height. They can be found at almost any sporting goods or department store. Estimated cost: $20.
Dumbbells, or hand weights, are a great addition to a home gym for beginners because they are easier to balance than barbells. Dumbbell users should purchase weights that match their fitness level.
Dumbbells come in two styles: single weights or adjustable kits. Adjustable weights come with various plates that increase or decrease the weight of the dumbbell. They are generally cheaper than fixed weights, but are less convenient. Estimated cost: $100 to $500 for a set.
Resistance tubes are a cheap and effective alternative to expensive weights and machines. These portable strength trainers come in a variety of shapes and strength levels, depending on the muscle group being targeted. Estimated cost: Bands sell for $10 apiece, but you can find sets for under $100.
These popular fitness machines can provide a great cardio workout at a reasonable price.
Stationary bikes give you the cardio benefits of cycling at home. Many models are economically priced and come with a wide variety of options.
Recumbent vs. upright: Upright bikes resemble regular bikes, while recumbent bikes put the pedals in front of you. Choose a model that works best for you.
Look for a bike that offers varying degrees of difficulty.
Exercise bikes come with a variety of features, including odometers and heart rate monitors. Features add to the price, so choose a bike with options that fit your needs. Estimated cost: $400 to $2,000.
Treadmills are one of the most popular options for home fitness. They have come down in price over the last few years, and buyers can find a good-quality treadmill for under $1,000.
Look for a quality treadmill that has a smoothly operating walking belt.
Features: Most treadmills feature the standard heart-monitor hookups, timers and odometers.
Make sure your treadmill has adequate safety features, such as an emergency stop. Estimated cost: $700 to $3,000.
At a higher cost, you can create a home gym that has the same amenities as a fitness club, in the privacy of your home.
Total gyms are the all-in-one choice for strength-building machines. They are easier and safer to use than barbells, but they take up a lot of space. Look for machinery that is made of high-quality materials with smoothly moving parts.
Before you buy, make sure you have enough space for your equipment at home. Total gyms typically require 50 square feet. Estimated cost: $1,000 to $3,000.
The latest in cardio exercise machines, elliptical trainers are designed to give exercisers a good workout while limiting impact forces and chances for injury. Instead or running or cycling, the user moves his or her legs in a circular motion to operate the machinery. Estimated cost: under $500 for low-end models. High-end models can cost $1,000 to $4,000.
American College of Sports Medicine
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