5 On Your Side

Getting fit at home is possible with the right equipment

Posted February 1

Is your New Year's resolution to hit the gym not working out?

Maybe it just takes too much effort, or perhaps the crowds at the gym are too daunting.

With the right equipment, you can still get in shape in the comfort of your own home.

Consumer Reports' latest test of elliptical machines and treadmills reveals good news for those looking to find a fitness machine that matches their lifestyle.

"You don't need to get all the bells and whistles. We found you can get a good workout on machines that cost around $1,000," Consumer Reports' Peter Anzalone said. "You just want to look for the features and capabilities that allow you to accomplish the things you want to do."

With elliptical machines, testers measured each one see how well it fits a broad range of people.

"We've created devices that measure the machine and compare it to the 95th percentile American male and the 5th percentile American female," Anzalone said.

The $2,000 Diamondback earned top marks, but for a fraction of the price, the $800 Scwhinn 470 is also a good choice. It's well made, easy to use and is a good fit for most people.

With treadmills, a sturdy frame and construction is a must have, especially for runners.

"We're looking at different aspects of the machine to make sure that if there are people who are of different fitness levels it works for the beginner to the advanced person," Anzalone said.

Testers liked the downhill feature on this Sole TT8 for $2,300.

If a downhill feature doesn't matter to you, the $1,000 Sole F63 is also a good choice. Its large buttons and display make it easy to use, and it is a good option for runners or walkers. The Sole also folds up to save space.

No matter which treadmill or elliptical you buy, Consumer Reports says it's a good idea to try it out in the store to make sure it works for you.

Consumer Reports also recommends measuring the space where you'll put your machine to make sure you have room. Most treadmills are 77 inches long by 35 inches wide.

Elliptical machines are usually two-and-half feet wide but can range in length from 50 to 84 inches.

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