Home Exercise Equipment

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Seeking gymnastics equipment for home use

Dec 2008

My 7-yr-old daughter loves playing on the bars at the playground--I'm not sure what they are called, just a simple horizontal bar that she can roll over on, like a single parallel bar about 4 ft off the ground. Where can I get one for her? All I see on the web are very expensive gym sets, things that need to be set in concrete. I've looked at chin-up bars for doorways, but most of them wouldn't allow her to rotate all the way over and around the bar. Suggestions? Karen

There's a reason why you can't find what you're looking for. Manufacturers don't want to be sued over a home-use horizontal bar that is improperly installed or for which the user is improperly supervised. Enroll your daughter in a gymnastics class with well trained instructors (Head Over Heels, Golden Bear, etc.). Their equipment is much better than a home solution anyway. Maybe they offer financial aid if cost is an issue. Or stick with the playground. Not a lawyer but thinks like one somtimes

Need to get elliptical repaired

Feb 2008

We have an elliptical which we loved, until it started clunking. That was 6 months ago and we miss the ease of exercising in the basement. I took enough casing off to know it's not something stupidly simple. I've seen a van that says it does repairs at home of exercise equipment. I couldn't get the numbers, though. Any recommendations? Or places to warn away from? I tried yelp, to no avail. thanks anon

Cynthia Elliott is amazing when it comes to exercise equipment repair! Check her out at www.roughandreadyrepairs.com or e-mail her at randrrepairs [at] sbcglobal.net...

Treadmill Repair

May 2005

Hello, Has anyone out there tried to have their treadmill repaired? My mother in law has a Nordic Trak treadmill that isn't working too well. She's called Sears and they'll come out at look at it but we wanted to see if there was another alternative. Need to Walk

I used Rough and Ready Repairs in Oakland recently for my treadmill. They were very nice and reputable. They had to come to my house multiple times and were always accommodating. Debra

Thinking about buying a treadmill

Jan 2005

Hi there - I have decided that I should finally start exercising. I hate jogging and am the worst at getting to classes. So, maybe a treadmill. Before I put money into something I might once again not stick with (I have wasted a lot of money in my life signing up for stuff and not doing it, I'd like to rent or borrow a small (has to be small if there's such a thing) treadmill which I could try for a month. Any ideas out there of a place that will rent or give loaners? Also, suggestions for something other than a treadmill (that's small) are welcome. Thanks. I can do this!

You could join a gym (one with a nominal or zero joining fee, of course) and try out the treadmills there. Or ask a friend who is a member to take you as his guest a few times. David
Don't know that this is smaller, but I've been told that eliptical trainers are a good way to get overall body exercise. Good luck. anon
If you hate jogging, why are you considering a treadmill? Jogging to nowhere on a treadmill is not going to be anymore fun than jogging outdoors. Probably a lot less fun.

Ideally, our fitness activities are both physically and emotionally rewarding. Think back when you were a kid. What did you love to do? Play games? Ride your bike? Swim? Take lessons, like dance or gymnastics?

If you loved playing games, then tennis, racketball, or an adult soccer or softball league might be a good fit for you. If you loved to bike or swim, get back into that activity. If you liked lessons, than finding a club/studio with great classes would be good for you.

Also think about the social aspects of various fitness activities. Some of us like, in fact cherish, exercising without any social interaction. Runners and swimmer fall into this category. Others of us like and need to be part of a group. Teams and classes will provide this phychological component.

If you decide that a treadmill is the way to go, lots of people have them and never use them for more than a clothes rack. Buy one used, so you're not going to feel guilty if you end up not using it.

Helene Byrne author, ''Exercise After Pregnancy: How to Look and Feel Your Best''

Elliptical trainer for home?

Dec 2004

Hi, I saw some very old (1998) recommendations on the web site for related items (rower, etc.) but nothing recent. I would like to purchase a home exercise machine, and from what I've read it sounds like the elliptical machine will do the trick.

Has anyone looked into, or purchased one recently? How much did you have to spend, to get a ''decent'' one? Any recommendations for brands, features, web sites to purchase, etc.? If you have one, do you like yours, and would you recommend that others get one (and/or get your brand specifically)?

Thanks for any & all pointers & tips. Never been in a gym; time to exercise!

Please see this month's consumer reports. They have a section on elliptical pro and cons. Leslie
The Jan. 2005 Consumer Reports (available now at newsstands or your library) gives advice about and ratings of elliptical trainers and treadmills, including how much you'll have to spend. David

Post-baby exercise at home?

Jan 2003

I put on quite a bit of weight with my second child and would like to start exercising soon. With a 2.5 year-old and a newborn, I need an activity that I can do at home while they are both asleep. I'd love to hear from people that use a particular videotape or exercise machine. Anita

I recommend finding a good, used recumbent stationary bicycle and riding it for 35-45 minutes daily/every other day. If you have the time (and money), I also recommend joining Weight Watchers. I did that and lost the 15 lbs that I wanted to in just 12 weeks - learning how to eat, actually eating well and enjoying food and exercise. I'm a lifetime member already and no longer have to pay for the materials and support that I get! (And, nursing moms get extra ''points'' each day!) Good luck. A Proud (and fit!) Mama
Also recommended: Exercise Videos

Exercise machine for home


I would like to buy an exercise machine to use at home, something which would give me a good work-out without trashing my already troublesome knees. I have used Stairmaster, stationary bikes, rowing machines, etc. at a gym, but would like to try having a machine at home. I just can't fit in the gym visits at this point in my life, but want to get in shape and kick those few lingering pounds from my pregnancy. What has worked or not worked for you? Please suggest brands if you have found something that worked (or not!), and price would help, too. Anyone used Health Rider? What do you think? I'd really appreciate any advice! Mary

I too am in the market for an exercise machine -- and am particularly interested in one that can be rolled in and out of a large closet. We don't have the room to keep it set up at all times. Any advice? Stephanie
We bought a Cardioglide. I was skeptical because it's advertised on one of those infomercials. But I checked Consumer Reports and it was rated highly - good quality and relatively low price. We didn't consider Health Rider because of the cost. We bought the Cardioglide used for half price from Play It Again Sports in San Bruno. I don't know if they have a store in the East Bay but other used sports equipment stores might. We asked the store to call us when one came in - about a three week wait. James
I have a NordicTrac skier and rower and I love them both dearly! I can't say enough good things about working out on these machines. (They have enabled me to greatly enhance my fitness level whilst my daughter was under my watchful eye looking at a video!) However, I want to share that I recently attempted (unsuccessfully) to purchase a replacement part for my NordicTrac rower. My experience was extremely frustrating. After numerous phone calls to the service department, I was still without my needed part (they kept saying it was on order). The last time I attempted to call their 800 number, I got a recording referring me to the store in Pleasanton. The store in Pleasanton referred me to the parts manufacturer, but as I was never given the part number, I was out of luck. They never responded to my email, and they appear to have deleted their web site.

Buyers beware! It appears that NordicTrac no longer maintains a customer service department (or indeed, any public contact via the telephone at all). Though I love both products, I don't know how I'll ever be able to repair my rower and make it functional again.

If anyone has had a positive experience, or knows how I can communicate this experience to NordicTrac, please share it. I would be very interested. Catherine (11/98)