If you’ve ever been to a gym, you’ve certainly spent some time in the presence of cardio machines. While anything that raises your heart rate to a sufficiently high level to increase your overall fitness is a good thing, there are both better and worse possibilities out there.
Although it’s has been said that because of sex, the bed is the world’s best piece of exercise equipment, this is only partially true. When you want to jack up your level of fitness to its pinnacle, you need something with a little more kick to it. So let’s take a look at a few different machines you’ll want to consider using, and then find the best.
The jump rope
Small, lightweight and able to be customized, the jump rope is a great way to take a good level of fitness and give it a solid shot in the arm. You can put your rope in your bag, and take it out wherever there’s room. The downside is, it’s very hard on your biceps and calves, so your performance will take a nosedive if those muscle groups are already fatigued. Plus, you need a fair amount of fitness to do anything but embarrass yourself.
The rowing machine
There are few machines better suited to giving your body all-around endurance than ones dedicated to rowing. Unless you have a lake nearby, this is the best you’re going to get. The upside is, most of the muscles in your body get a good workout, and even a few minutes can become extremely intense. The downside is, many gyms don’t have a rower, and a good home model can be kind of pricey.
The stair climber
Running (or even walking) up stairs is a great way to build everything south of your lower back. Have you ever taken a moment to appreciate a woman who is dedicated to the stair machine? Get on one (the machine) for 20 minutes, and feel your heart and your buns get stronger. The downside to these are that they only work your lower body, and can get a little boring.
The elliptical trainer
If you can’t actually go skiing, this is the next best thing. If your legs get tired, let your arms help out a bit. It’s not quite an alpine adventure, but at least you won’t get frostbitten (or have to pay lift fees). The downside to the elliptical trainer is that it gives you a poor range of motion, and simulates an unnatural movement that can actually exacerbate injuries (despite being low impact).
The winner: jump rope
While a jump rope isn’t most people’s idea of a “cardio machine,” there is really no better way to work your heart. And considering that you can buy one for only a few dollars and carry it anywhere, there is just no other piece of equipment that gives you as much value with as much flexibility.