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Sometimes home is where the health is

December 31, 1998|By Meg H. Partington

The health club scene is not for everyone.

[cont. from lifestyle]

For some, working out in front of others is uncomfortable. Time and financial constraints are hindrances to other would-be exercisers, and still others have enough motivation to do their workouts at home.

"You don't always need a health club," says Cynthia Reeves Tuttle, assistant professor and nutrition extension specialist at University of Maryland in College Park.

Aerobics classes are offered outside the realm of fitness centers and videos can bring fitness instructors right into your home, she says. Public and private pools offer another opportunity for a well-rounded workout.

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Home has potential, too. With the right equipment, a room can be transformed into a personal health club, says Brian Everhart, who owns Everhart's Home Fitness in Chambersburg, Pa., with his wife, Cathy.

Avoid buying machinery through television offers because it is often not well made and there is no one to offer instruction on proper use, Everhart says. Instead, turn to stores run by professionals who know how the equipment works and who will demonstrate their functions to buyers, he says.

"If you're going to put this stuff in your house, you want it to be safe," he says.

Expect to pay between $1,500 and $2,000 for a quality treadmill and between $1,200 and $2,000 for a sturdy setup that allows you to exercise all muscle groups, he says. It may seem expensive at first, but if you stick with it, the investment is worthwhile, he says.

If you're worried about motivating yourself to exercise at home, get a loved one or friend to join you, Everhart says.

One major advantage that home fitness areas have over most gyms is accessibility.

"It's available to you 24 hours a day," Everhart says.

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