Workout Devices Get Rated
Experts Argue Pros, Cons of the Latest Exercise Equipment
Bryant: "Spinning bikes are pretty effective -- they can be
adjusted to match individual body dimensions. The speed can also be adjusted.
However, most people don't know exactly how to adjust these bikes. There are
bike-fitting and ride-along videos to teach you. One of the best out there is
Le Mans Webmaster -- it helps keep you motivated."
Fichera: "Spinning bikes provide a very smooth form of
low-impact exercise. But I don't think they have the variability in resistance
that a standard bike has. Also, in classes you are pushed way beyond your
comfort zone. To get results, you have to feel some degree of discomfort
or burn. I can't see someone doing it in their own home."
The Total Gym
Bryant: "This has been around for quite some time. It
allows you to perform functional exercise movements like pull-ups. People can
get a reasonable dose of resistance exercise. It's not for people who have
trained at a high level in a gym. But for a home device, it does give a minimal
dose of exercise."
Fichera: "I've only seen this in a video, but it looks like
a good piece of apparatus, particularly for beginners. My question is, does it
provide enough resistance? There's a time when the body reaches adaptation, and
you have to increase resistance to get benefit. It doesn't look like you can
get much more with this system. Also, I'm concerned that some of the exercise
motions could put too much stress on ankles, knees, and the lower
Bryant: "This is another effort to minimize impact from
weight-bearing exercises, just like the Kangoo Jumps. Theoretically, you can
get a good aerobic workout if you move at an aggressive enough speed. But it's
hard to sustain that high rate. It also would be hard to get much calorie burn.
There is a free-flowing nature to your movements, which could help in managing
stress. It has a soothing effect. But that's largely theory."
Fichera: "Mini trampolines are great; they can allow an
aerobic workout that is non-impact. As opposed to jogging outside, you can jog
in place. There's a good amount of calorie burn, because you challenge your leg
muscles and, indirectly, your abs. You also get a decent cardio workout. It's
safe, fun, different."
Fichera's mother is a prime example of staying fit with minimum
equipment: "She's 71 years old, and she uses her mini trampoline two or
three times a week. When she can't go out for long walks, she gets her
trampoline out. She also plays in four bowling leagues. Plays handball twice a
week. In fact, she beats women a third her age at handball."
Some "As Seen On TV" products live up to their hype.
But buyer beware. "I'd want to try it first, see what it felt like, if it
were me," Fichera tells WebMD.