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What Is a Cardio Machine?

Stay hydrated when using a cardio machine.
A treadmill is the most popular cardio machine.
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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2014
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A cardio machine is a piece of fitness equipment used for cardiovascular exercise. Cardio fitness machines may be found at gyms and fitness centers, or they may be purchased for home use. A cardio machine can be a great way to get in shape, lose weight, and increase cardiovascular health without needing to go outside in poor weather or unsafe areas.

There are a few different types of cardio machines. Treadmills, elliptical fitness machines, stationary bicycles, and step machines are all cardio fitness machines. A treadmill is the most basic and most popular cardio machine, and can be used for jogging or walking. In general, if purchasing a treadmill for home use, it will be necessary to purchase a more expensive version to run on than if one plans to simply walk on the treadmill. Treadmills found in gyms are perfectly acceptable to run on.

An elliptical fitness cardio machine falls somewhere between a treadmill and a step machine, but it does not create any impact on the joints. Instead, one presses the pedals forward on an elliptical machine as if jogging. The pedals on an elliptical are generally attached to a flywheel or are magnetized, and allow the user to move forward or backward to exercise different muscle groups. Again, elliptical machines with a flywheel are typically less expensive than those that are magnetized, and they may not last as long.

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A step machine offers users the same workout as running up and down a flight of steps. These come in portable versions as well. A stationary bicycle, which is fairly self explanatory, mimics the exercise of riding a bicycle outdoors. All of these four cardio machines offer users the option to increase or decrease the difficulty to simulate exercising outdoors, where terrain constantly changes.

In addition, a cardio machine will often feature additional features such as the ability to create custom programs or to check heart rate and calories burned during an exercise session. At fitness centers, cardio machines commonly have small televisions attached, so users can watch and distract themselves while exercising. Users may want to switch between different cardio machines during a workout, or to simply stick with one per day.

All of these machines can offer great workouts that burn calories and increase cardiovascular fitness. Be sure to stretch after using a cardio machine, and to always stay hydrated. In addition, it is important to add some strength training to workouts as well, in order to increase muscular strength and bone density.

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