Exercise for homebodies

Exercise for homebodies

Jack Hayes


You don’t have to take upjogging or join a health spa. You don’t have to show yourself in leotards. You don’t even have to quit the privacy of your own bedroom to be aerobically fit. So–what’s your excuse for being out of shape?

“Admit it. You’re too darnedlazy!” exclaims 43-year-old Guy Riotto, a New Jersey researcher who rows hard for 20 minutes three days a week on a make-believe lake in his tiny Hoboken apartment.

Riotto has achieved reasonableaerobic fitness without the glamour or ritual so essential to many fitness buffs, and by rowing his way to fitness on his own machine, he saves time and money. A $200 rower costs less than the annual fee at many fitness centers, and he doesn’t have to go across town to use it.

Riotto is not alone. In 1985,Americans purchased some 2 million rowers, 3 million exercise bicycles, and $50 million worth of treadmills to make home exercise one of our country’s booming pastimes.

Even if your job or your hobbykeeps you active, you can still improve what doctors call cardiac reserve with three moderate 20-minute aerobic workouts every week. Such exercise helps the body use oxygen more efficiently so the heart doesn’t have to work as hard. Whether you exercise in the morning or at night doesn’t matter. The only thing that counts is doing it.

Marty Liquori, a well-known milerin the early 1970s at Villanova University, peddles an exercise bicycle in front of the television to keep aerobically fit. Liquori, who wrote a book about home exercise, says the typical person can make many mistakes trying to improve or regain fitness at home: buying poor equipment, making an elaborate ritual out of exercising, or pushing too hard for results that take time. “Very slowly is the way to start,” Liquori says. He also advises keeping the program simple.

Which of the three–treadmill,rower, or stationary bike–is considered best? The answer is, it depends. On a treadmill, you imitate running, which experts consider one of the best forms of aerobic conditioning. Using a rower, you combine a strength workout with the aerobics. And on a bike, you can watch television–even read a book–during your 20-minute session.

Because you need at least some enjoymentfrom your exercise, pick a machine you’ll have fun with. No matter how committed you are in the beginning, your attitude will eventually sour if you don’t like the machine, and that could be bad for your health.

COPYRIGHT 1987 Saturday Evening Post Society

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