Rules of cardio equipment

  • Mar. 23, 2017 12:30 a.m.

No matter which machine you decide to start with, there are several important things to remember when using any piece of aerobic equipment.

1. Warm up for 5 minutes beforehand

You may be anxious to lose fat, but your body’s not anxious to get hurt. That’s why you need to warm up your muscles before you start. Set the machine at a low level or slow setting and exercise for 5 minutes. On the treadmill, that may mean a brisk walk before running. On the cycle, stairclimber, or elliptical machine, that means placing the machine on level 1 or 2. On the rowing machine, that equates to setting the tension on its lowest setting or rowing at a much slower speed than usual.

2. Give every machine a 2-week test drive

Most cardio machines offer a certain amount of preprogrammed workouts built in. With the push of a button, you can change the speed, level, incline, etc., of a machine, depending on which one you’re using. These programs vary from manufacturer to manufacturer — some of the names run from “heart rate hill,” “fat burn,” and “speed interval jogger” — so it’s hard to say which ones you may encounter. Still, these can be terrific ways to change up your workouts, so we encourage you to try them eventually.

However, before trying any of the built-in programs, use the machine on your own for a few weeks to get a hang of the controls. Most machines have a button that just reads “START” or “QUICK START” on it. Hit this button, then vary your workout intensity. After a few weeks, you should feel familiar enough with the machine — and its buttons — to give its programs a shot.

3. Switch machines every 3 to 4 minutes

If you are looking to burn calories long-term and stay injury-free, mix up which machine — or activity — you use every 3 to 4 weeks. Too many people get stuck in a rut when they stick with the same piece of cardio equipment every time they exercise. Besides the boredom factor, there are two other reasons why this is never a good idea.

The first reason is that doing the same routine every time you exercise will eventually cause you to burn fewer and fewer calories as your body learns to work more efficiently to perform those specific movements. Just as they do during resistance training, your muscles — including your heart — will quickly adjust to the demands you place on them when training them aerobically. Eventually, they adjust accordingly and improve only the muscle fibers necessary for performing an activity. Increased speed and effort level are the only components that help you continue to burn calories. The rest of your body never gets a chance to work as hard or burn excess fat and calories.

The second reason is that using the same muscles over and over again overuses them — or makes them stronger than other muscles, causing a muscular imbalance. Both situations can lead to aches, pains, and possible injury — just the thing to shorten or stop your future workouts altogether.


This story is adapted from The Men’s Health Gym Bible and originally appeared on Rodale Wellness.



Visit at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



This column/content is for subscribers only. It is sold separately and is not included in your Tribune News Service subscription. To subscribe, please contact Rick DeChantal at Tribune Content Agency, (866) 280-5210 or, or you can purchase individual columns a la carte at .


Topics: t000018190,t000018200,t000003086,t000210238,t000210220,t000002827,t000412858,t000002872

Just Posted

Judge allows Mr. Big evidence in murder trial

Two men accused of triple-murder admitted their involvement to undercover police

Red Deer agency supporting for LGBTQ2S+ youth

New report on LGBTQ2S+ youth from the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate

Four people arrested after gas and dash

Four people were arrested after an alleged gas and dash in two… Continue reading

Arrests made at Red Deer Rebels game

Charges pending against two people

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer: Nov. 19

Watch news highlights from the week of Nov. 13

Red Deer Christmas Bureau to help 1,300 children this year

Demand is high, but Red Deer always provides

CP Holiday train to stop in Ponoka for another year

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month