Getting in shape for less

Creating an Affordable Home Gym

by Debra Karplus

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Losing weight or becoming more fit appears high on the list of New Year's Resolutions for many. According to, only about 8% are able to achieve these goals. If fitness and well-being are on your list of "must-dos," maybe you need to consider purchasing affordable gym equipment for use at home.

Yes, you can join a place like Curves for approximately $30 monthly or Charter Fitness for only about $10 monthly. These places and other low-priced fitness facilities just like them are located all over the country in towns of all sizes and tout high success rates from their members. But the trick is that you need to show up at least a few times a week to these fitness centers and really use the equipment to meet your fitness goals. Joining is easy, but sticking with your exercise program may not be as easy. The convenience of having exercise equipment at home might be exactly what you need to stay on track with your fitness goals.

How do you know what to buy?

The main types of exercise equipment fall into the categories of either cardio or strengthening. Your fitness goals may be focused toward one or both of these areas. If you have had the experience of working out at a gym, even for a short amount of time, you are well on your way to knowing what types of equipment you like and what you don't like or isn't useful for your individual fitness program. If you are a newbie at exercising, as many people are, it may be worth joining one of the low-priced exercise facilities just long enough to narrow down what type of equipment you might like to have at home.

The most popular equipment for cardio workouts are exercise bicycles, treadmills and elliptical machines. When you enter a sporting goods or fitness equipment store or even one of the large discount stores, you are likely to feel overwhelmed at all the choices. Exercise bikes, which sell for as little as $200 and much more for those with more features, are designed as either upright or recumbent as well as a variety of lesser known types. A knowledgeable salesperson should be able to assist you in sorting out all the choices and options.

Treadmills are very popular with many who exercise regularly and can be purchased new for $500 and much more for the fancier ones. Some healthcare professionals express serious concerns with the safety of these machines. They claim that one simple distraction like a phone ringing can have you not paying attention, causing a fall from the machine. Elliptical machines are also popular and sell for $600 and up.

For body strengthening, you will need to purchase weights. There are so many options, such as free weights, dumbbells, weight training systems, and more. Search online at one of the sporting good shops such as Dick's Sporting Goods to see some of the many options. And if you have friends with equipment at home, perhaps they will let you try it out before you buy your own.

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Get your home ready for the new equipment.

Before you become serious about your anticipated purchase, be sure to select a convenient and safe spot at home where it will be located, because exercise equipment tends to be rather heavy and you won't want to keep moving it to a new spot. Be sure to carefully measure the selected spot, knowing that the equipment will need room on all sides of it, so it can be properly used. Also, if the equipment requires an electrical outlet, be sure your room is wired properly for that.

Be certain to learn other details about what you are buying.

So you've shopped and know exactly what you want to buy. Before you pull out your credit card, be sure you know if the equipment that you are purchasing comes assembled or if it can be delivered and set up. Additionally, you want to know exactly what the warranty covers and for how long.

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And what about buying used equipment instead of new? Typically, you get what you pay for and may or may not be happy with your purchase but will probably have no opportunity to return it. A well-researched purchase of new equipment is an excellent investment in your health.

Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on (kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for Learn more about her at

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