10 Cardio Exercise Equipment Options (At Home & Gym)

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Cardiovascular health is an important part of your physical fitness but it can be a challenge to train. What are some cardio exercise equipment options you can use?

Your cardiovascular system is the circulatory system inside of your body and includes the heart and blood vessels. These transport many types of important nutrients, oxygen, and waste throughout your body.

When doing certain types of training you engage this system more than usual which can strengthen it if you don’t overdo it and give your body enough rest afterward.

There are cardio exercise options that don’t require any equipment. Even so, there are also many other equipment options at home or in the gym that can offer a more enjoyable cardio workout or improve your existing cardio routine.

In short, you will likely benefit from implementing some of the equipment on this list in your cardio workouts. Keep in mind that even though there are upsides, like with any exercise there is always a certain injury risk. You may want to talk to your primary care provider before starting a new workout routine.

1. Stationary bike

The stationary bike is a very popular piece of cardio exercise equipment both to get at home or in the gym. To do your cardio workout you simply take place on the bike and start pedaling. They often come with training programs but you can also do your own thing.

Cycling on the stationary bike can offer a variety of benefits that include improving your cardiovascular health indoors, engaging your leg muscles, burning calories, you are not dependent on the weather, etc.

A more unique benefit of the stationary bike is that it is a cardio exercise equipment option where you do not need to use that much balance. If this is a concern, a stationary bike may be a good choice.

You can also easily do other activities like talking to family friends and watching tv while using a stationary bike. Besides that, a stationary bike is a relatively inexpensive piece of cardio equipment and is usually not that big. This means it can be good cardio equipment for small spaces.

A potential downside of many types of stationary bikes is that if you like to engage a variety of muscles during your cardio workout, this option is rather lacking. You won’t engage your upper body and your legs do not go through a full range of motion.

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2. Jump rope

A jump rope is simply a rope that can be used to jump over at a fast pace. At first, it can be hard to imagine that a small piece of fitness equipment can be a good option for cardio workouts.

However, jumping rope is a great alternative way to train your cardiovascular health at home, outside, or in the gym. This makes it so a jump rope can also help you burn a lot of calories, it improves coordination, you will strengthen your leg muscles to some extent, etc.

On top of that, a jump rope is definitely one of the cheaper cardio exercise equipment options on this list. It also requires basically no storage space and you can bring it with you wherever you go.

One thing to keep in mind is that jumping rope can be relatively rough on body parts like knees and back, especially if you have a lot of pounds to lose. As long as you don’t overdo it this can lead to stronger bones but your injury risk does become higher.

Something else to remember is that to use a jump rope to its full extent your ceiling needs to be high enough and you also need a good amount of space around you.

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3. Elliptical machine

The elliptical machine is a relatively popular cardio gym machine. Using this machine may look a bit complicated at first but this cardio exercise equipment is actually very beginner-friendly.

You simply select your desired resistance, put your feet on the pads and hands on the handles. After that, you move forward with your feet and back and forth with your hands at your desired intensity. It sounds and is simple but it can definitely help you strengthen your cardiovascular system.

Using an elliptical machine improves your cardiovascular health, burns a lot of calories, engages a variety of muscles, improves balance and coordination, is relatively knee-friendly, etc.

Things more unique to the elliptical machine are that it engages both your upper and lower body muscles. Muscles like your glutes will also be able to go through a relatively big range of motion. You can also turn up the resistance to increase your chances of building some muscle during your cardio workout.

Another benefit is that using an elliptical machine is relatively quiet. This can make it a suited cardio exercise equipment choice for an apartment where you have to consider neighbors on all sides.

One potential downside is that an elliptical machine does generally have a higher price tag compared to for example an exercise bike.

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4. Walking or running shoes

All these cardio machines can definitely be a great addition to a good workout plan but you also shouldn’t forget the simple cardio options. Going for a walk or run outside can offer a great cardio session too.

Similar to the machines walking or running can help you burn extra calories, strengthen your cardiovascular health, engage your leg muscles, improve balance and coordination, etc.

Extra sunlight, even if the sun is not shining brightly, also generally benefits things like sleep and health more than artificial light which you often have to use for the other options. Depending on where you live going outside can also offer a fresh breath of air.

To do both of these outside cardio workouts you preferably have good walking or running shoes to protect your feet, knees, hips, and lower back.

One downside is that you are more dependent on the weather.

You can walk or run in the rain but this is less comfortable than working out indoors. You also need enough room outside to go for a comfortable walk or run.

Especially running can also be slightly harder on your knees and lower back. This can lead to more bone-strengthening but involves a higher injury risk as well.

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5. Treadmill

A treadmill is one of the most popular gym machines there is. It simulates an endless flat surface to walk or run on. To use this cardio exercise equipment you will also need the previous option, good walking or running shoes.

Once you have both of these, using the treadmill, especially if you use it for running, offers strengthening your leg muscles, burning a lot of calories, improving lung health, and the other benefits of cardiovascular workouts to a large extent.

Another benefit is that treadmills are relatively budget-friendly and often can be folded to save storage space.

One potential downside of something like running on the treadmill is that it is a lot harder on your knees. In turn, this can lead to more bone-strengthening as long as you don’t have to stop exercising due to injuries.

Besides that, if you are interested in strengthening upper body muscles, the treadmill is likely not what you are looking for. In addition, using a treadmill can be a bit noisy. Any neighbors or family members may not enjoy that.

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6. Fitness tracker

Fitness trackers are small devices that are often worn on your wrist that can give you more insight in your workouts.

They can help with a variety of things like helping you adjust your pace, measuring your cardio capacity progress, counting your steps, measuring the distance you run or walk, and simply telling you what time it is.

Fitness trackers are not a must-have piece of fitness equipment but they can definitely level up your cardio workouts at home or in the gym and motivate you to get in your daily step count.

You can also find fitness trackers under $100 but one potential downside is that some models do have a hefty price tag.

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7. Rowing machine

A rowing machine is a gym machine that simulates the movement of rowing a boat. This machine is a great cardio exercise equipment option if you are interested in a bit more upper body muscle focus while still training your cardiovascular health.

Similar to many of the other options on this list rowing can help you burn a lot of calories, strengthen your muscles, improve cardiovascular health, etc. All in the comfort of your own home or in the gym.

If you turn up the resistance, a rowing machine can also help you engage your back and bicep muscles a nice amount. Resistance training beginners may even be able to build some amount of muscle this way.

There are also potential downsides to a rowing machine. First of all, a rowing machine requires a bit more storage space compared to many of the other options on this list.

Using a rowing machine can also be a bit noisy depending on what model you use. Lastly, the price tag of rowing machines is also often more above-average.

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8. Step aerobics stepper

Step aerobics is a type of workout where you do sequences of steps with extra movement on and off a raised platform named a stepper, usually with music in the background. Many people consider this exercise as a fun way to get in some extra movement.

Step aerobics offers you a variety of benefits like burning a lot of calories, training your leg muscles, improving balance and coordination, improving cardiovascular health, etc.

Something more unique to this cardio exercise equipment option and the accompanying workout is that is generally considered a fun workout. Especially compared to for example going through 30 minutes of the exact same motion on an elliptical machine.

A step aerobics fitness equipment kit is also relatively cheap compared to the bigger cardio machines or a long term gym subscription.

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9. Stairmaster

A stairmaster is a gym machine that simulates an endless flight of stairs. That may not sound like a dream scenario but it can definitely offer a great cardio workout. If you have a large flight of stairs available you can definitely use that instead.

Walking stairs and using the stairmaster offer similar benefits like improving cardiovascular health, strengthening leg muscles, improving coordination and balance, etc.

A specific benefit of stairmasters is that your legs go through a relatively big range of motion. Especially if you are experienced enough to skip a step every once in a while, the stairmaster can help you engage your glutes, quadriceps, and calves a nice amount.

The main downside of a stairmaster is that if you want to get one at home, it comes at a relatively steep price. This cardio machine will also require quite a big amount of storage room.

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10. Vertical climber

Gym machines often try to simulate some real-life activity and the vertical climber is no different. Using this machine is similar to climbing an endless ladder.

The vertical climber is slightly more focused on engaging your muscles but it definitely also offers you the option to strengthen your cardiovascular system.

Some of the other benefits that come with using the vertical machine include burning calories, improving coordination and balance, offering a low-impact workout, it is relatively inexpensive, etc.

One potential downside is that using a vertical climber requires a bit of balance and coordination. If this is an area where you struggle, this piece of cardio exercise equipment may not be for you.

A vertical climber is also slightly harder on your knees compared to something like an elliptical machine. Additionally, you will need a somewhat high ceiling for this machine.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.