Exercise Equipment

Consumer Watch Fitness machines in TV infomercials promise to make exercise fun and easy.

Consumer reports tested several heavily-advertised devices. These promise a cardiovascular workout. And these claim to strengthen your abs.

While panelists worked out, sue booth measured their muscle activity and the number of calories burned. And she compared the workout they got on a standard treadmill ¯ and using nothing more than a floor mat.

The $100 dollar Ab Rocket proved slightly less effective than traditional ab exercises. Even less effective the $230 dollar Rock'n Go. None of the panelists who tried it said they'd buy it.

Two of the cardiovascular exercisers gave a pretty good workout. The $200-dollar CardioTwister and the $80-dollar Rock'n Roll Stepper burned about the same number of calories as walking briskly on a flat treadmill.

The Bowflex Treadclimber turned out to be even more effective.

But the panelists had to really concentrate to stay on the belts. And the Bowflex treadclimber is also the most expensive machine in the tests $2,500 dollars.

Consumer reports said that before you buy any exercise equipment, you want to ask about return policies. Also be wary of promises like a 30-day money-back guarantee. That sounds good, but returning the product won't be easy if it's heavy or bulky.


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