Exercise Accessories Buying Guide

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Whether you already have a good fitness routine or you're just starting, you'll want to make the most of the time you spend working out. Once you have read our exercise equipment buying guide and found your basic equipment, read this guide to find the exercise accessories that will help you reach your goals.

The Best Fitness Accessories:

  1. Fitness books and videos: When you are unsure about how to start a fitness plan, you'll want to get fitness advice from the experts with fitness books and fitness videos.

    When to Use Books and Videos:

    • You want advice on working the right muscle groups for the sport you want to play and on the foods to eat while you train for the sport.

    • You are going through a change in life (pregnancy, aging, or an illness) and need to learn how to manage the physical effects.

    • You want new exercise ideas, so you can start a new fitness routine.

    • You need help sustaining a full 30-, 45-, or 60-minute workout.

    • You need direction with stretching, reminders about form throughout a workout, and a guided cool-down.

    • You want to make the most of your fitness equipment. Exercise videos can guide you through a full workout on your treadmill, exercise bicycle, or other home fitness equipment.

  2. Fitness apparel: There's nothing more awkward and uncomfortable than wearing the wrong clothes during a workout. Without fitness apparel, you'll be hot, you won't be able to move easily, and you may get a few funny looks from the people around you. You'll also need the appropriate shoes for the exercise you plan to do.

    Features of Good Workout Clothes:

    • It should be made out of fabric that is breathable, absorbent, and quick-drying.

    • It should be made out of fabric with plenty of stretch.

    • It should be attractive and flattering. When your fitness apparel is comfortable and stylish, you'll look forward to putting it on and exercising.

  3. Fitness tech: You may be getting more exercise than you think, and you can find out with the right fitness tech. You may also need help seeing where your lifestyle isn't helping you out as much as you thought.

    Choose Your Fitness Tech:

    • A pedometer measures how many steps you take every day. When you don't walk around very much, you are probably taking about 3,000 or 4,000 steps daily. Add another 2,000 steps (about half an hour of walking) to help prevent weight gain. When you want to lose weight, take about 10,000 steps per day.

    • A heart rate monitor can help you determine if you are getting the level of exercise that is appropriate for your age, fitness level, and physical goals. Fitness experts have determined the rate at which your heart should beat in order to achieve different fitness results. This is called your target heart rate, and it's figured out using a mathematical equation. With a heart rate monitor, checking your pulse and figuring out the math are taken care of for you, and you never have to stop exercising to do it yourself. Most heart rate monitors continuously display your heart rate, so you know throughout your workout whether you are burning fat, working your cardiovascular system, or just wasting your time. Many heart rate monitors have other features, such as stopwatches and timers. Some can calculate how many calories you have burned during your workout.

    • Activity trackers take the technology further by taking the functions of heart rate monitors and pedometers and adding sleep monitors and working with apps to let you track your diet.

  4. MP3 players: Studies have shown that exercising is improved when there is some good music to get you excited about working out and to distract you from the hard work your muscles are doing. The best way to have music while exercising is with an MP3 player. You can program a workout mix or even buy and download workout mixes online.

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Updated January 20, 2015