In researching an article I am writing about health clubs, I found a great article on WebMD on “The Top 6 Exercise Excuses And How to Beat Them.” I found it to be a bit humbling to read some of the excuses I have for not exercising included on this list. WebMD is a trusted resource when it comes to just about anything medically speaking, so I thought I would put my spin on excuse #4, “Exercise is Boring.”
In fact, exercise can be extremely boring. But, it doesn’t have to be. If you do the same routine on the same machine at the same time every time you work out, this maybe a sign you need to switch up your routine. In most health clubs, cardiovascular machines – treadmills, exercise bikes, steppers – have some type of build in entertainment system so you can watch TV or listen to music. Most, if not all, cardiovascular machines have pre-set programs so you can change the intensity of your workout. On the strength training side, most health clubs have options such as selectorized machines (machines with weight stacks), dumbbells, and free standing racks and benches. Here are three great options that I use at my local gym, West Bay YMCA here in North Kingstown.
- Expresso Upright Bike. These bikes offer a simulated ride with an interactive console. The intensity changes as you go up hill, then head down hill, then ride onto a straightaway. This bike has gears just like an normal outdoor bike. It has handlebars which are interactive with the video screen, allowing you to turn left and right through your course. There are tons of course options. Plus you can create an account to track your workouts online through a member portal on Expresso’s website, www.expresso.com. It makes your workout fun and engaging. Plus, Expresso bikes are a great calorie burner as well.
2. Functional Trainer. In your strength training section of your health club, you might find a machine similar to the photo above. At West Bay, it is located downstairs in the free weight room. A functional trainer combines the safety of a selectorized machine (weight stacks, pulleys, cables) with the freedom of movement and user defined range of motion of dumbbells or medicine balls. Selectorized machines have a specific range of motion defined in the machine – a chest press machine typically only allows for a chest press movement. Dumbbells or medicine balls (because there are no cables attached) have a user defined range of motion, meaning you can move them in any way you would like. There are different configurations and designs in the fitness equipment industry, with some looking like the photo above. Essentially, there is a pulley system with cables that extend from a weight stack to a moving arm or handle. The handles can be adjusted for height and angle of a desired exercise, such as a bench press or squat movement or biceps curl. Next time you are at your health club, try a functional trainer instead of your dumbbell workout or the 10 selectorized machines in your strength circuit. Ask a fitness professional at your club to assist you in getting the proper form for each exercise. Form is everything in strength training.
3. The Escalator Machine – Walking is the most natural form of exercise you can do. On a treadmill or hiking, you often encounter changes in elevation which increase the intensity of your workout. When I first started in the fitness industry back in the 1990’s, there was a machine called “The Gauntlet”. It looked like the revolving steps of the escalator at the mall, except on this machine you just kept climbing and climbing. Over the years, various manufacturers have put their stamp on the climbing machine, like the one you see in the photo provided. These climbing machines are a great cardiovascular workout and a fantastic alternative to just walking or running on a treadmill. There are comfortable handles for balance and safety during your workout. Most, if not all, of them in your health club will come with pre-set programs and possibly the entertainment systems I mentioned earlier. To use the machine, simply step up and keep up with the rotation of the stairs. It is a great calorie burning exercise machine.
If you need further assistance on curbing the boredom of your exercise routine, try these three exercise alternatives. If you are unfamiliar with how to use them, consult a fitness professional at your facility.
The author, Noel P. Roby, has been working and writing in the fitness industry for 20 years. To contact the author about the content in this article, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.