Which Rowing Machine Type is Right for You?

If you are looking for home gym equipment that can provide you with a total body workout, consider investing in a rowing machine. Not only can they provide you with an excellent cardio workout to help lower the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke, but they also help you build muscle strength as well.

This is a good choice for people who enjoy rowing or kayaking as a fitness activity and who want to keep fit in the off season or those who want to build lean muscle without necessarily having to lift or pull a weight upward to do so. Being able to sit down while performing the activity may be more comfortable for some people and be more enjoyable than standard strength training.

Before you can decide which rowing machine is the best choice for your home gym, you will need to consider the different styles available carefully. Your evaluation should include considering each one for ease of use, how they generate resistance and cost.

Hydraulic Rowing Machine

This model is the least expensive style available on the market. It uses two hydraulic pins to create resistance when the user pulls on the machine’s handles. With this type of model, it can be very difficult to create a fluid motion with the machine. Some people find it very uncomfortable to use, and these individuals would be better off considering a different model for their home gym equipment needs. Pricing for this type of rowing machine starts at approximately $150.

Air Rowing Machines

The air rowing machine is the type of equipment that you are most likely to find in a gym or health club. The tension is created by the flywheel located at the front of the machine. The person using the machine pulls back on a chain. When this action occurs, the flywheel takes in air and creates resistance. The faster the user rows, the more resistance the user feels while using the machine. Price ranges for this type of machine can vary from $400-$1,600, depending on the model.

Water Rowing Machines

A water rowing machine is the most sophisticated model available. The design incorporates a steel paddle in a circular tank, which helps to create an experience that is similar to rowing on water. Resistance is created by the drag the water creates as it moves in the tank. As the water movement increases in speed, the user experiences a higher level of resistance when rowing. You can expect to spend between $900-$2,500 for a water rowing machine, depending on the type of specific model and the type of wood used.

Rent Exercise Equipment to Try Before You Buy

If you are interested in getting in shape at home but are unsure about buying a piece of exercise equipment for heart health, why don’t you consider renting instead? This option allows you to try before you buy to make sure that you will be happy with the one you are considering.

Getting exercise equipment for home use is a good strategy. Unfortunately, far too many people start off with the best intentions, only to lose their motivation within the first couple of months. In some cases, the motivation is gone before the new workout clothes and shoes have been broken in!

Choosing to rent exercise equipment allows you to find the right type of equipment. You can make sure that a particular model is a good fit for your abilities and preferred method of working out before committing to buying it.

Renting exercise equipment also works when you know that you will only need the items for a certain time. This can be a choice that makes sense to people who prefer to exercise outside when warmer weather comes, but who want a convenient way to stay fit during the winter.

Another situation where choosing to rent exercise equipment can be a good choice is if you know you will be moving soon. Rather than having to factor in the cost of moving your exercise bike, treadmill, elliptical trainer, stairstepper or stairstep machine to your new home or putting it up for sale, renting one (or more) of these items means you can stay fit without having to commit to ownership.

Repairs Covered

Renting your exercise equipment means that you are not personally responsible for the cost of repairs. When the item needs to be maintained or breaks down, the rental company looks after arranging for a technician to come to your home to do the work required to get it running again.

Cost Savings

If you want to stay fit but find it difficult to justify the cost of buying your own exercise equipment, consider renting instead. Be sure to find out whether the cost of renting includes delivery and set up. The exercise equipment rental company may offer better rates for long-term rentals, too, so you will want to ask how much you will be charged if you are prepared to commit to renting for three, six or 12 months at a time.

Another detail you will want to clarify before choosing to rent exercise equipment is whether the company you are dealing with will allow you to buy it outright if you choose. You may be able to get a good deal on rented equipment that has been returned, so if you have decided to set up your own home gym, don’t hesitate to ask about your options.

Home Exercise Equipment: Ab Machines

Ab machines are a popular piece of home exercise equipment. You are probably familiar with the television commercials for these products that promise rock-hard abs in just a few minutes a day. The idea of achieving those kinds of results with a minimal effort is certainly an attractive one.

Unfortunately, it’s not realistic to think that targeting your workout to a specific area of your body is going to help you lose fat. What an ab machine can do for you is tone your muscles and help to strengthen them.

People who gain weight in their abdominal region are at risk for heart attack, stroke and diabetes. An abundance of abdominal fat can cause high blood pressure (See: How High Blood Pressure Affects the Body), as well as elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. If you want to get rid of belly fat, you will want to eat a balanced diet and make sure you are getting some aerobic exercise regularly.

Why Choose Ab Machine for Home Exercise Equipment

If you are generally happy with your weight but you want to strengthen and tone your abs, you can do so without buying or renting home exercise equipment. Performing sit-ups or crunches can give you good results, but this strategy can be difficult to stick with.

If you are a person who prefers working out with a machine or you believe that you can get better results using this method, there are a number of choices available to you. Before you decide to buy an ab machine, make a point of doing your homework first.

If you want to get the skinny on different workout machines, the Internet can be a valuable resource. Start by gathering information about different options available. There are machines that are targeted towards newbies and those that are better suited to more experienced users. Some models are not good choices for people who are significantly overweight and if this is true in your case, you will want to find one that you can use comfortably.

Checking out customer reviews online can provide you with more information about home exercise equipment, including ab machines. Keep in mind that they are subjective and simply because a particular model does not have an abundance of good reviews, it doesn’t mean that the machine cannot help you get the results you are looking for. Dissatisfied consumers are more likely to express their opinion about a product than those who were happy with their purchase.

The best way to determine which ab machine will work best for you is to visit a retailer who carries this type of home exercise equipment and try different models to see which one you feel comfortable using.

Ease into Your Spring Workout Schedule for Best Results

Spring has arrived, and for many people it triggers a desire to get (back) into shape. Warmer weather means that it’s easier to get outside to exercise, and with every passing day the summer and bathing suit season gets closer. If you have decided that now is the time to shape up and improve your heart health, here are some suggestions to help you achieve your goal.

Your first stop should not be to the gym, but to your doctor’s office. If you haven’t been active for some time, you will want to be sure that you are healthy enough for physical activity. This is a great time to have a complete physical if you haven’t had one for a while, and be sure to ask your doctor to check your blood pressure to rule out hypertension as a health condition.

Before you start the exercise program, you will need to take some time to think about your goals. Do you want to improve your heart health by doing some cardio exercise? Do you want to lose weight? Have you decided to train for a running event or do you want to adopt a healthier lifestyle? Once you know exactly what you want to achieve, you will be able to make a plan that reflects your goal.

Choosing the Right Kind of Exercise

There are many options available when it comes to exercise, and your goal should be to find an activity that you will enjoy doing, as opposed to going with whatever type happens to be trendy right now.

Joining a gym does offer a number of options to people who want to get fit, and not all of them involve using exercise equipment. Check with your local facility to find out about yoga or Pilates classes for fitness. Both of these options offer a great workout, as well as the opportunity to meet new people.

Some people need to be around others to stay motivated to achieve their fitness goals, and signing up for a team sport is a good solution for them. It combines regular exercise with a social aspect that can help a person stick with his or her resolution to be more physically active.

Exercise can take on a number of forms. An effective strategy to ward off boredom can be to include different activities in a fitness routine. Even taking 10 or 15 minutes per day to devote to some type of exercise will help. Starting off slowly will help a person who has not exercised for some time to adjust to this lifestyle change.

Exercise Benefits Heart Transplant Patients

Exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle, and this is true for heart transplant patients as well as people who have not undergone surgery. A heart transplant patient can begin to start working with a physical therapist shortly after the surgery has been performed.

Physical activity is important for people recovering from a heart transplant because it helps to prevent blood clots and lung infections. Patients who are up and moving as soon as possible following surgery are less likely to develop painful bed sores as well.

Getting up and moving shortly after the procedure helps a heart transplant patient to gain strength. He or she may not have been able to exercise before the surgery because of health issues, and now is the time to start developing a healthier lifestyle.

Exercise Program While in Hospital

While a heart transplant patient is in hospital, he or she will continue to work with a physical therapist. A progressive program will be developed to help the patient build strength and endurance.

Breathing exercises are the first item on the list, and can be done while the patient is still in bed. These are simple, but a very important part of the recovery process since they help to prevent lung infections. The physical therapist or the nurse will instruct the patient to take a deep breath and then push the air out of his or her lungs.

Exercises for the legs and feet are also part of the exercise program for heart transplant patients. Performing these motions helps with blood circulation and helps to prevent blood clots from forming. Examples of leg and foot exercises include:

  • Wiggling the toes
  • Pointing the foot toward the face
  • Bending the knees upward
  • Rotating legs at the hip joint
  • Tightening and releasing muscles in legs and buttocks


Exercise for Heart Transplant Patients

  • Do include a warm-up in the routine.
  • Do push through to a period of intense physical activity and maintain this level for several minutes to give the heart a good workout. Aerobic activities like swimming, cycling and walking are good choices.
  • Do cool down for a few minutes after exercise by stretching or doing some walking.
  • Do check with your doctor before starting or changing your exercise program.


  • Don’t lift anything weighing more than 10 lb. for the first eight weeks following the surgery.
  • Don’t push or pull objects weighing 10 lb. or more unless your doctor or nurse gives you the go-ahead to do so.
  • Don’t do pull-ups, pushups or pull-ups.
  • Don’t continue performing any activity that causes pain or pulling in the chest area.


Daylight Saving Time Increases Risk of Heart Attack

Springing forward allows us to enjoy more daylight hours in the evening, but this annual practice also increases the risk of heart attack in the first few days immediately following the time change. Approximately one-quarter of the Earth’s population follows this shift in time twice a year.

Daylight Saving Time for residents of most parts of the United States and Canada starts at 2:00 a.m. local time on the second Sunday in March. The clock “falls back” on the first Sunday in November at 2:00 a.m. local time. Residents of Arizona (except the Navajo Nation) and Hawaii do not observe Daylight Saving Time.

In the European Union, Summer Time starts at 1:00 a.m. (Greenwich Mean Time) on the last Sunday in March. The switch to Standard Time takes place at 1:00 a.m. on the last Sunday in October.

Heart Attack Rates Go Up When Clock Springs Forward

According to results of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, incidents of acute myocardial infarction increase during the first three business days immediately following the switch to Daylight Saving Time. Women are slightly more likely to experience a heart attack during this time than men.

People are most likely to have a heart attack on the Monday immediately following the switch. This may be linked to the stress associated with returning to work after the weekend, but the more likely cause is the loss of one hour of rest due to the time change.

Many people are chronically sleep-deprived. To try to stay on top of our To Do lists, we don’t get the recommended eight or nine hours of sleep a night. People who don’t get adequate rest are more likely to be overweight or obese, develop diabetes or nighttime high blood pressure.

Losing a single hour of sleep once is not likely to trigger a heart attack on its own, but when a person who is already vulnerable to this type of incident loses an hour of rest, it can be enough to do so. It’s important to know the warning signs of heart attack and get medical attention for them. To lower this risk around the time when the clock is moved forward or back, it’s important to establish a good bedtime routine that includes going to bed at the same time every night.

Getting a good night’s sleep is an important factor in being able to function well during the day. Skimping on rest interferes with the ability to learn and concentrate, as well as has a negative effect on your health. Start treating it as something that is essential to your survival, whether the clock is springing forward or falling back.

Spring Forward into Fitness: Inspect Your Home Gym Equipment

As the temperature outside warms up, we start to come out of our winter cocooning stage. Milder weather makes us start to focus on summer, and it’s only natural for us to think about whether we will be in shape for bathing suit season.

Before you get back into your workout routine, take some time to check out your home exercise equipment first. You will want to make sure that it is in good working order before you start using it again. Taking the time to do so means lower risk of injury and better health benefits.

A good place to start is by giving the room or part of your home where you use your exercise equipment a thorough cleaning. Your goal is to make the space an inviting one where you will want to spend time. Sweep or vacuum the floor thoroughly, and include a thorough dusting to get rid of any cobwebs that have accumulated over the winter months.

If the room you usually exercise in needs a makeover, now is a good time to take care of that as well. A fresh coat of paint can work wonders to brighten up a space, and now is the time to take care of these kinds of details.

Inspect Your Free Weights and Resistance Bands

Once you have your exercise space ready for spring, take the time to inspect your exercise equipment thoroughly. You will want to check your free weights (dumbbells and barbells) for rust. If you are using plastic or vinyl ones, look over them carefully to check for holes. After your inspection has been completed, clean your weights with a damp cloth and allow them to dry before use.

If you have been using resistance bands as part of your exercise routine, these should be thoroughly checked as well. Bands with tears should be replaced promptly.

Check Out Your Exercise Ball

An exercise ball should be checked for holes and leaks. You will also need to check the inflation level for the exercise ball. Any signs that the ball is less than stable means that it should be disposed of and replaced.

Dispose of Unused Equipment

If you have exercise equipment at your home that is not being used, now is the time to get rid of it. Holding onto it in the hope that someday you will start doing so doesn’t make a lot of sense. You may be able to sell it and pick up some cash that you can use toward a gym membership, new exercise shoes or clothing.

Spring means a fresh start for getting and staying in shape. By making sure that your exercise area is clean and your exercise equipment is well maintained, you will be able to get and stay on track to reach your goal of a fit and healthy heart.

DASH Diet Helps to Reduce High Blood Pressure

Medications and exercise are strategies that can be used to help reduce high blood pressure. Diet also has a role to play in treating hypertension and prehypertension, and the DASH diet is an effective way to help lower blood pressure.

Hypertension or high blood pressure is defined as systolic pressure of 140 or higher and  diastolic pressure of 90 or more. Prehypertension is diagnosed when the patient’s systolic pressure is 120 or higher and the diastolic pressure reading is 90 or higher.

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and this eating program can provide results, including increased brain function, very quickly. Some people who have adopted the DASH diet report seeing lower blood pressure in about two weeks.

How the DASH Diet Works

A person who is eating 2,000 calories per day on the DASH diet would eat the following types of foods:

Grain Products
Seven or eighth servings per day is recommended. A serving is equal to a slice of bread or a cup of ready-to-eat cereal. For cooked rice, pasta or cereal, 1/2 cup is equal to a serving.

Meat, Poultry and Fish

No more than two servings of this type of food per day. A serving is approximately three ounces or lean meat, skinless chicken or fish.

Fruits and Vegetables

Four or five servings of fruits and the same amount of vegetables should be consumed daily, according to the DASH diet guidelines. A serving of fruit is equal to a medium piece of fruit, 1/4 cup of dried fruit or 1/2 cup of fresh, frozen or canned fruit. Six ounces of fruit juice is also considered a serving.

A serving of vegetables is six ounces of vegetable juice or 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables. A one-cup serving of raw leafy vegetables also counts as a serving.

Dairy Products

This eating plan includes low-fat milk and dairy products. Two or three servings per day are included on the list. A cup of yogurt, eight ounces of milk or 1 1/2 oz. of cheese are considered to be a serving.

Beans, Nuts and Seeds

These foods have a place in the DASH diet. Four or five servings per week should be consumed. A serving of one of these foods is made up of 1/2 cup of cooked beans, 1/3 cup of nuts or 1 Tablespoon of seeds.

Fats and Oils

A certain amount of fat is required to stay healthy, and this eating plan allows for two or three servings each day. A serving of fat or oil is a teaspoon of soft margarine or vegetable oil. A tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise or light salad dressing is also considered to be a serving.


People following the DASH plan can have five servings of sweets each week. A serving is an eight-ounce serving of lemonade, a tablespoon of sugar, jelly or jam, or 1/2 oz. of jelly beans.

Natural Remedies for Lowering High Blood Pressure

The American Heart Association estimates that one in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure. Of the people living with this condition, approximately one-third don’t realize they have it. This condition is often referred to as the “Silent Killer,” since an individual can have hypertension without having symptoms or even realizing that he or she has it.

The causes of this condition are varied. A treatment plan for high blood pressure may include lifestyle changes, such as getting more exercise. The doctor may also recommend medications to bring the blood pressure down to a more normal level.

High blood pressure is a serious health concern that needs to be treated appropriately. Untreated high blood pressure can lead to a number of conditions, including heart attack and stroke.

Garlic to Treat High Blood Pressure

Using a garlic supplement may be an effective way to lower high blood pressure. This remedy should only be used under the supervision of a doctor, though; garlic has similar blood-thinning properties to Aspirin.

For this reason, people who are already taking blood-thinning medications should not be using garlic supplements. Individuals who are taking Aspirin on a daily basis or using Vitamin E or gingko biloba should not be using garlic supplements, either, since doing so can exacerbate the blood-thinning properties of these supplements.

Folic Acid

Folic acid is usually associated with women of childbearing years. It can help to prevent spinal birth defects. It’s also necessary for the formation of red blood cells. Taking folic acid may help to lower blood pressure in some patients.

Calcium and Potassium

A patient with high blood pressure should make sure that he or she is getting enough calcium. Doing so may play a role in reducing high blood pressure.

Potassium is a mineral can also help to lower blood pressure in some patients. Good dietary sources of potassium include the following:

  • apricots
  • bananas
  • beans
  • beef
  • dates
  • fish (cod, salmon)
  • mushrooms
  • prunes
  • raisins
  • soy products
  • spinach
  • strawberries
  • turkey
  • veggie burgers
  • watermelon


Magnesium helps to keep the heart beating at a steady pace. It is sometimes administered through an IV to patients who are experiencing cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). Magnesium may also be given to congestive heart failure patients, since they are at an increased risk for arrhythmia.

It can also help to regulate blood pressure for some patients. A doctor can advise whether magnesium, administered orally or by IV, is the right treatment in specific cases.

Before trying natural remedies for lowering blood pressure, consult a physician. There are a number of elements that can be part of an effective treatment plan for high blood pressure.

Exercise Can Help Lower High Blood Pressure

It’s a fact that people lead much more sedentary lifestyles now than in previous generations, so it should be no surprise to discover that people who are not getting off the couch to engage in physical activity regularly have a 30-50 percent higher risk of developing heart disease than those who have a more active lifestyle.

A person who is overweight or obese is at a higher level of risk for developing high blood pressure. While medications can be used to bring the levels down, any use of drugs must be considered carefully. All medications, including those used to treat high blood pressure, have potential side effects and the individual and his or her doctor must weigh the benefits of using them against the potential risks of introducing a drug into the body.

Aerobic exercise can help to reduce high blood pressure, and it can even help to prevent hypertension. Engaging in an activity that increases the heart rate and keeps it elevated for a time can help to improve heart health, even if the participant doesn’t lose any weight as a result.

Healthy Aerobic Exercise to Lower Blood Pressure

There are many types of aerobic exercise that can help to bring blood pressure down to a healthier level. Walking is a great choice for people who are new to exercising to start with. It’s something that is easy to do, and all an individual needs to get started is a sturdy pair of shoes.

Other types of aerobic exercise are:

  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Dancing

For aerobic exercise to be an effective part of high blood pressure treatment, it must be performed regularly. One way to avoid becoming bored with a workout routine is to participate in a variety of activities.

Joining a walking or jogging group can help to keep someone who is new to aerobic exercises motivated. Having to schedule the activity means that the participant needs to plan to participate in it and is more likely to stay on track. Exercising with other people is a good strategy for sticking with an exercise routine.

Before deciding to start an aerobic exercise program to treat high blood pressure, it’s important to see a doctor. If making lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity levels, are going to part of a treatment plan, the doctor should be monitoring the patient’s progress to determine whether the plan is succeeding in lowering the patient’s high blood pressure. In a case where aerobic exercise is not bringing the blood pressure down, using medications can be considered.