Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Fitness Machines

Fitness Machines

Overview

Many people exercise with fitness machines such as treadmills, stair-climbers, stationary bikes, and cross-country skiing machines. These all offer aerobic exercise. They may also strengthen muscles.

Fitness machines can be great for exercising when the weather is bad or days are short. You may also like the fact that these machines let you control the intensity of your activity. They may tell you your heart rate, calories burned, or miles covered. Fitness machines are safe and handy, but they can be boring. Listening to music, watching TV, or exercising with a friend may make it more fun.

Treadmills.
Treadmills let you walk or jog while seeing your time, distance, and speed. Many have adjustable inclines to provide a greater challenge when you want one. The treadmill should have handrails (located in front) to help you keep your balance or to steady yourself now and then. But you should not hold onto them during exercise. It's better to swing your arms as you walk or jog and to use the handrails only when you need them.
Stationary bicycles.
These work much like regular bikes. Many have computers that track your workout. Some have programs to simulate real bicycle courses. These extras aren't needed, and they aren't as important as having a bike with a good overall design. The bike should pedal smoothly and have a comfortable seat. You should be able to adjust the seat to your height. If your seat is too high or low, you may have knee or hip pain. Try to have a slight bend in the knee at the bottom of your pedal stroke.
Cross-country ski machines.
These machines are very good for burning calories. They can help you build both upper- and lower-body muscles. They also put little stress on your joints (low impact). But they require coordination. They may tire you sooner than other machines because they use muscles in both the upper and lower body. If you are new to these machines, start slowly (5 to 10 minutes a session). Bit by bit, do more as you are able.
Stair-climbers (stepping machines).
Stair-climbers are similar to ski machines, but they work only the lower-body muscles. They are simpler to use than ski machines, requiring no special coordination. Beginners should start slowly. Bit by bit, you can increase intensity and length of time on these machines. Keep good posture, and avoid leaning on the handrails.
Elliptical cross-trainers.
These machines combine elements of treadmills, stair-climbers, cycles, and cross-country ski machines. Some machines have arm resistance to work both the upper and lower body. Like ski machines, they require some coordination and may tire you faster than other machines. But they give a very thorough aerobic workout along with some resistance training.

Buying a fitness machine

Advertising for fitness products often promises large gains with little effort. This is a promise that sounds good but is rarely true. Before you buy, think about these tips.

  • Be sure you already like the activity.

    A machine or device probably won't make you like an activity that you dislike in the first place.

  • If you buy through an advertisement or online, check the dates for return.

    Make sure you can return it if you don't like it.

  • Test a machine in the store or a gym before you decide to buy it.

    Make sure it feels right to you. Sometimes the more expensive machines work more smoothly and make exercise more comfortable and fun.

  • Talk to an expert.

    Get the opinion of a trainer or experienced person at a health club, YMCA, or other fitness setting about the equipment you are interested in.

  • Think about whether you really need a fitness machine.

    Many products promise to help tone and develop muscles in the belly, thighs, or buttocks. But you can strengthen and tone these muscles without special devices. And most devices don't make it easier or safer than doing exercises on your own.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Related Links

Fitness: Getting and Staying Active Fitness: Adding More Activity to Your Life

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna

Audiences

Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

Cigna Company Information

About Cigna Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice [PDF] Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap

Disclaimer

Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities  that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details