Comparing Necessity and Want

by Angela Yorke | April 30th, 2012 | Exercises

The wealth of information currently available on virtually any topic has enabled consumers to make better-informed decisions when it comes to new purchases. Chief among these items is sports equipment, as awareness of the need to be fit has increased in tandem with the rising prevalence of lifestyle diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Yet, a wealth of fitness equipment doesn’t automatically lead to better workouts or fitness.

For example, if you work out at home most of the time, then you don’t need to own an exercise mat. Typically, exercise mats are used as a clean surface if you work out at a gym and are squeamish about touching surfaces on which others have perspired, even though that has dried or been wiped away.

An exercise mat is also used to cushion a hard floor while providing a nonslip surface, thus it would be useful if your home workout routine includes yoga; however, if your workouts involve stationary exercises, then a towel would suffice. Similarly, carpeted floors would obviate the need for an exercise mat if you do yoga at home.

Another item that typically features in gyms but that might be unnecessary to your own fitness routine is a Swiss ball, also known as a fitness, exercise, or balance ball. A Swiss ball is usually used in physical therapy and to improve balance and/or core strength.

Yet, these activities can also be carried out without a Swiss ball. For example, stationary exercises such as planks build core strength, and all you need is yourself and a floor. You could use a Swiss ball to add variety to a workout routine, but it isn’t necessary. Chances are, you would probably use your exercise ball as an ottoman or footrest.

I have a heart rate monitor, and a confession – I rarely use it. I’m not training for a triathlon, nor am I a marathon/ultra-runner, so precise monitoring of my heart rate is not necessary in that sense. It can be helpful to know what it is (because everyone likes to talk numbers when it comes to exercising these days), but I’m not involved in a finely tuned training program. It is sufficient for me (in my opinion) to run at a pace that precludes a thoughtful conversation.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.