Exercise equipment has certainly changed over the past 20 years! I was looking back over newsletter that were sent to our customers dating back to our first year in business in 1993 and was amazed first of all by the lack of variety in the cardio and strength options back then, and secondly by how much the equipment has evolved in terms of both biomechanics and electronics.
If we remind ourselves that in 1993 the internet was an unknown entity for most people, and individual cell phones were a luxury owned only by the wealthy and top business people, that puts the changes in exercise equipment into some perspective.
In 1993 stair climbers were all the rage, and stationary recumbent cycles were just being introduced. The other options for a cardio workout in the gym or at home were treadmills, rowing machines, upright bikes, and cross country ski machines. A piece of equipment called the HealthRider made a brief splash about that time as well. Life Fitness, which has always been on the cutting edge of the fitness equipment evolution, had 3 programs options; Manual, Interval and Hill, on their bikes and treadmills. Elliptical machines were not even introduced until later in the 90’s and did not become a household word until well after that!
Home gyms were very traditional with the standard press arm and leg extension/leg curl. Their biomechanics were not great and the number of exercises somewhat limited.
The hot selling accessories in 1993 were the Kelly Roberts Step & Video, Air Weights which were hand weights with a built in pump to fit any hand, the Slide Trainer for lateral lower body training along with the still popular Stretch Bands, Polar Heart Rate Watches, and Floor Exercise Mats.
Today home exercise equipment has evolved to fit the exerciser, whether it is the variety of movements allowed on the variety of standing and seated ellipticals available, as well as unique movements like the Octane LateralX. Treadmill development has evolved to reduce the impact on the runner and the biomechanics of both upright and recumbent bikes has improved by allowing increased seat and mast adjustment. The introduction of the indoor cycling bike made indoor cycling much closer to an actual outdoor cycling experience and became a popular winter activity for avid cyclers.
Of course the most dramatic changes in cardio equipment over the past several years has been in the electronics, that have resulted because of the changes in overall technology. Exercisers can now watch television, listen to music on their IPod, respond to emails or surf the internet on their IPad, ride or run on virtual trails all over the world, and develop their own user programs with the exact speed and intervals that fit their training needs, all while getting a workout in the comfort and privacy of their own home.
Home gyms have evolved into functional training machines that simulate actual activities required in daily living as well as sports specific activities. Accessories such at the TRX and Jungle Gym XT using the individual’s own body weight have also contributed to making strength training more functional and suited to all exercisers with emphasis on strengthening the core stomach muscles which is important for everyone to stay fit and healthy. The Bosu is another best selling accessory that helps to develop balance and works the core muscles.
There are lots of exciting new products and accessories too numerous to mention here that can enhance and improve the efficiency of your regular workouts. The best way to find out the many options that are now available in exercise equipment, is to browse our product selection online or better yet, stop by a HealthStyles location near you!