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Cardio contraptions

If you’ve peered inside a gym and seen scores of sweaty exercisers working away on stationary equipment, it may look imposing — or perhaps boring. But those fitness tools are admired for a reason: improved cardio health, from better sleep and more energy to reduced stress and more confidence.


Though running, jogging, and walking are great outdoors, those preferring to break a sweat indoors can choose from treadmills, step machines, elliptical trainers, rowing machines, and stationary bikes. Here are four signs of a successful cardio machine workout:


1. It’s enjoyable. Sidestep monotony with cardio variety — the spice of exercise success. Those 30–minute workouts — a common cardio benchmark — won’t seem so dull or strenuous.


2. Your heart’s pumping. During prolonged periods of elevated heart rate, cardio machines can burn calories and fat while improving heart and lung function.


3. The machine suits your physical needs. Consider existing health and injury concerns before beginning. Stationary bikes provide more back support, while elliptical trainers and stair steppers can be less stressful on joints.


4. You’re achieving results. Stationary bikes and treadmills emphasize leg strength, while rowing machines and elliptical trainers offer both upper– and lower–body workouts. The right machine will thrust you through that daily fitness finish line.

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