Best aerobic exercise machine (New Year's IS coming!)

A bunch of people are going to be buying something to help them again attempt to meet the annual Resolution. Help them out. What works best?

A treadmill with siderails can hold almost an entire closet’s worth. :smiley:

Seriously, it’s the machine they enjoy using most.

Rowing machine. Whole body, low impact, and (if you put effort into it) faster at calorie burning than treadmills or static bikes.

We just got a Wii with “Just Dance 3” and it’s tons of fun and a good workout. Cheaper than most equipment, too.

Whichever machine you will be most likely to use.

^This. I personally like to run outdoors, but if I’m in the gym I use the elliptical.

In the “whatever keeps you going” department is our elliptical.

Had modest success with a treadmill, but the impact on my knees caused intermittent soreness. YMMV, but I had a hard(ish) time keeping in the “right” heart rate zones (I use a Polar HRM).

With the elliptical, I was able to relatively quickly build up to an hour, then an hour and a half per day split between zones 2 and 3. I’ve been doing that since June and average four to five times per week.

For the record, I am not into fitness per se and am not athletic by any means. About a year and a half ago I decided to shed some weight. I’ve never been active, and from elementary school have been somewhat roly-poly. I’ve droped a bit over 70 pounds so far (exercise and sensible eating) over the past year and a half or so. MUCH of that is due to the elliptical.

Yes, the machine that actually gets used will be much more effective than the one that does not … or is used exclusively as a clothes hanger. So feel free to answer in terms of which machine do you enjoy using enough, or even tolerate using enough, to use long enough, or intensely enough, and often enough, to have fitness result?

Or answer assuming sufficient motivation to use whatever is bought.

For me a bicycle. I love burning miles on my bikes.

Where do you live? I don’t use machines. I run and bike outside all year, but I live in CA.

The best way to keep exercising is to have a partner (or two or three) with whom you exercise. Machines are bad in that it’s tough to make it a social thing, and (as someone once said), do you ever exercise for one second after the machine says your done?

Heh, that’s how I ended up at an hour and a half. I always did a few extra minutes after the time I set for myself passed because I figured the first few minutes or some distraction took away from the block. Then I thought that I really shouldn’t count the warm-up as ‘exercise’ time, so I stated doing ten minutes then resetting the clock. Then I added a bit more to the end because I really shouldn’t count cool-down time as exercise. Then I added a few more minutes to the beginning… and so on and so on. Just a bit here and there, but it adds up.

I figure I need to keep this borderline-OCD effort up for another six to eight months before I can move back to a more maintenance level/amount of time.

I’m intrigued at the comment that rowers are good. I was always under the impression that they’re crap. Have they come a long way since I first saw one (in the early 90’s)?

Chicago. And I actually do bike to work maybe once a week during the winter, and still like to get out for a run so long as it is not too slippery or raining. But nothing is as time efficient for me as waking up and going in my basement before I make the coffee and shower before going in to work. Personally I don’t want to socialize when I work out, although I will sometimes join a friend at his request. At my peak, training for a half ironman, I hung onto the rear tires of the serious biking club, but in general others are either above or below the speed I want to go at, and I would rather work hard enough that I can’t have much of a conversation. Plus I’d rather let my mind drift.

For me it is all about variety. Actually, in addition to running and biking outside, I have (or will have, the rower is being delivered this week) all of the above. The treadmill is currently only used by my 16 year old, who is a year younger than the machine; it served me well the year I did the marathon, allowing me interval training on rainy days, but I don’t enjoy it like I do a real run. The recumbent stationary was bought for my wife but she never uses it, and I’d rather bike outside even in the cold than use it or the trainer stand with one of my bikes. Sometimes I mix in a little time on it though. I love the elliptical and use it in a circuit with the weights mostly (focus on compound exercises) and also do sets of calisthenics, often as Tabata intervals. I also jump rope and do some balance disc work and even a little yoga. I am really looking forward to the rower, a Concept2. But I have the space in my unfinished basement and have few other hobbies. Mixing it up constantly keeps me interested and, I believe, keeps my system guessing.

I could get by just with running, biking, calisthenics, a weight bench and a few select dumb bells, and be fine, but what would I choose if I was to pick one indoor machine? For now the elliptical, but I’m expecting to fall in love with the rower next week.

As the guy at the beginning of “Drunken Master” said, “70 percent legs, 30 percent fists” (or something like that, so I picked none. Legs. Walking, running up hills is what I like to do and it keeps my mind occupied. Rain suit in rain (Driducks – $15 full suit full waterproof, and breathable, very lightweight), sneakers, nylon liner socks, wicking shirt, mp3 player, pencil, paperback book, prescription sunglasses are my essential equipment (doughy middle-aged male).

Oh yeah, and pants/shorts.

For me, my wife is the best aerobic exercise machine :wink:
(tongue-in-cheek, of course – not to objectify her in any way).

Concept 2 Ergs are excellent fitness machines. They are used by competitive rowers in the off season because there’s nothing else that simulates the overall rowing workout. They are high quality and can be a great workout.

But I agree with everyone that says the precise machine isn’t that important. It’s going to be the machine you use the most. BTW, I live in the greater Boston area and I run and bike year round. I’ll only use the machines at the gym if it’s particularly nasty outside.

Thanks for the additional info. Do you have much experience with rowers? Honestly, the few times I’ve used a rower, I enjoyed it. I’ve wanted to get one for a while but never heard good things about them. I’m thinking now that the people I was asking didn’t actually like rowing.

What does erg mean? I looked at the Concept2 site and I’m thinking the Model D with the PM3 would be more than enough for me, as an amateur who’s not interested in competition and it’s a hell of a lot less expensive than ellipticals and treadmills. Any thoughts?

I hate exercising outside, regardless of the weather. I also don’t like exercising with other people.

Well if you hate going outside a friend of mine had spectacular results with a treadclimber

I’m a big fat lady and immediately fell in love with the elliptical. Easy on the joints, can get my arms working too, and there’s a variety of workouts. I never have a problem keeping my heart rate up.

I wouldn’t get one without programs, adjustable crossramp and adjustable resistance. I do it 4 days a week and do 4 different things. It’s so nice to press “cross country” and have it do all of the ramp and resistance changes for me while I glide along.

I don’t know if the ones I use at the gym are electrical or powered by me. If they are plugged in I can’t see the plug but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a hidden plug.

“Erg” is just another word for the machine, shorthand for ergometer, or “work measurer”, really a literal reference to the performance monitor more than the machine, but that device is what many love about the Concept2. It allegedly allows for accurate tracking of the work you do, thus allowing motivation as you track your improvement, and even for competition.