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What you want from exercise equipment

Fitness equipment can be expensive, so it's important to be clear what you want before you get the credit card out.

It's easy to spend upwards of a thousand pounds on a good piece of fitness equipment - that's a lot of money to pay for something that could end up as a glorified clothes hanger!

So before you spend anything, you need to analyse what you want. The first choice is, cardio or resistance equipment? Let's look at both:

Cardio: Cardio equipment includes steppers and rowers, treadmills and exercise bikes, cross trainers and mini-trampolines.

Resistance: Choices here include free weights (dumbbells or barbells), machines, and bands.

You have to decide what type of workout you're after - if your goal is to improve your heart and lungs, then go for cardio. If you want to get stronger and add some muscle, look at resistance equipment.

The second major consideration is space - some equipment (e.g. a treadmill) can take up a lot of space. Do you have a dedicated workout room? If so, no problem.

If you don't, then your choices are usually between the living room and the spare bedroom. If your equipment is in the living room, it is convenient to use, but can be unsightly. The spare room may seem a good choice, but it is often a case of out of sight out of mind.

Finally there's price - the bottom line here is that you usually get what you pay for. Our advice? Buy the best piece of equipment you can afford - it will last longer and give you a better workout.

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