For me, the challenge with physical fitness has been finding a type of exercise that is an ideal blend of fat-burning cardio, slenderizing toning, and strength training, but that is also absolutely low impact. As a teenager (which was a million years ago, I know) I ran on the high school varsity track team as a sprinter. And my knees took a beating as a result. So for years I have been unable to do any kind of exercise that is high impact. Jogging, forget about it. Running, no way Jose. Dancing, who are you kidding? Jumping Jacks, impossible. Jumping Rope, out of the question. Plyometrics, are you out of your freakin mind?
So that left all of the low impact forms of exercise that either didn't give enough of a cardio burn, were just plain boring, or required donning a bathing suit and getting into a pool. On a treadmill the only way to get a decent cardio workout was to crank it all the way up to 10 incline like I was walking straight up a hill and even with the best workout music mix on my iPod, it was still monotonous. Then I had to do something else for toning and still something else for strength training. Ugh. I'm not retired yet, so I certainly don't have that much time in the day. I loved Yoga, but many of the moves still put too much pressure on my knees and it was a challenge to get a decent cardio burn. People suggested Bikram yoga, but the thought of doing Down Dog in a room heated to 105 degrees while simultaneously having a hot flash left me with one thought - heck no! I had tried mat Pilates which I also enjoyed, but it still lacked the fat burning cardio that I needed for a well rounded exercise program. Keep in mind - whatever I'm doing, I'm always doing it at home. I have tried gym memberships a few times and I always hate it - I'm too intimidated by trying to figure out all the machines and the times I'm able to go to the gym are the same times everyone else is able to go too - standing around waiting for machines just seems counter-productive, not to mention worrying about what I'm wearing and spending time driving there and driving back. It began to feel like the perfect exercise program was as illusive as the fabled unicorn.
Then I began to do research into Pilates Reformers - particularly those that come with Cardio Rebounders. From all appearance, these machines seemed to be the perfect combination of all the things I was looking for. And then I found a brand on QVC that was being offered at an unbelievable price (under $500 and with Easy Pay). So after fulfilling my promise to my husband that I would sell my treadmill (aka coat rack) before buying any other piece of equipment, I ordered my Stamina AeroPilates Reformer from QVC and anxiously waited for it to arrive. Was I going to be disappointed? Was it going to be too good to be true? After using it every day for almost a month, suffice it to say that it has exceeded all of my expectations. I have my found my exercise miracle! Below are photos of my actual machine, along with two videos that describe the machine and also how the cardio rebounder compares to a treadmill and eliptical in terms of cardio benefits. Don't let how easy it looks on the videos fool you - it is unbelievable what an intense cardio workout, ab workout and leg/glute workout you get LYING DOWN! And no stress on my knees! For reference - at first I could only do 10 mins on the cardio rebounder without being completely winded (I've worked myself up to 20 mins now).
Here is my actual machine the AeroPilates 5-Corded Reformer with Cardio Rebounder - the only item not shown in these shots is the padded foot rest which is also included (along with two beginner workout DVDs).
Here is the video talking about the 5-corded reformer and modifications for various exercises:
Here is a video (featuring an older 3-cord machine) that talks about the benefits of the Pilates Reformer in general and specifically the increased heart rate/cardio benefits of the cardio rebounder as compared to both a treadmill and elliptical (not viewable on mobile devices):
And it's even PET APPROVED!
Improve your strength, endurance, and flexibility - shop QVC for AeroPilates equipment today!
So if you are looking for the perfect, low impact cardio, toning & strength training exercise program, I highly recommend you check out the AeroPilates Corded Reformer with Cardio Rebounder. This absolutely gets 5 Cheers from me especially at the price offered on QVC. If you're thinking of ordering it through QVC, here's a tip - the first time I tried to order it on QVC it was sold out, but I checked back a week later and they had it back in stock, so if you have that problem, keep checking back - I think this is an item that will be offered for a long time to come. You can probably also do equally well with the 4-cord reformer. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!