Working out at the gym offers a great social environment, motivation and the chance to make use of top of the line equipment. But even if you love going to the gym, there are many benefits to investing in at home fitness equipment.

It’s perfect for those days when you can’t make it to the gym. It also suits doing your workouts on your own time, without having to leave the comfort of your home. Also, some of us just simply prefer to work out in the privacy of home rather than in a busy gym.

It can be daunting to sift through the wide array of home fitness equipment available. This is why people often end up buying too much equipment, equipment that is all of the same type, or something gimmicky that they end up not using. The result being wasted money and more dust collection surfaces in your home. Here we have put together a list of options that can easily fit you, your workout plan and your budget.

Some Budget Friendly Options
A yoga mat is a worthwhile investment, since it can last for a number of years with constant use. It offers better traction and a layer of insulation against often cold floors. Added to that, its cushioning actually improves your balance. All your floor exercises can be done in this soft, clean space.

Stretch bands offer a variety of resistances, ranging from light to medium or heavy. They can be used with familiar strength training moves, and they don’t require you to have a spotting buddy.
The time honored jump rope is a fantastic weight loss calorie-burner. Your heart will love it because it provides a great cardiovascular workout. Plus, it’s a good way to tone muscles and spice up your regular routine.

Any well-balanced workout plan needs exercises that will build strength and stability.
Here are two suggestions for building strength. Dumbbells provide a huge range of exercises which can be more joint-friendly than their barbell equivalent. A medicine ball, on the other hand, is great if you are training for a specific sport.

Swiss ball(a.k.a. stability ball),– you lift the others but you sit on this one (at home, in the office, or just about any place). It gives you a soft, unstable surface that strengthens your core muscles, while helping to develop your balance and coordination.

An aerobic step platform will help you build both cardiovascular and muscular endurance when used regularly. Because you can incorporate both upper and lower body movements, you will find that it also helps to improve your coordination and agility.

Let’s say you like cycling and already own an outdoor bike, then investing in a stationary bike stand may help you get more out of your bicycle training. No excuse on days when the weather is not cycle friendly, or you just want or need to stay home.

When you think elliptical trainer you probably think clearing out an entire room make space! If that is not an option for you, then a mini elliptical trainer might do. It’s portable and gives you an effective light cardiovascular workout. Some may even be upgraded with features such as resistance bands and a handle.

$400 and over
A stationary exercise bike is a great idea if you’re not the cycling outside type, but still want to get in shape with an incredible low impact workout. Or maybe you just don’t want the fuss of moving your outside bike back and forth!

This brings us to the very popular treadmill. It enables you to walk or run in the privacy of your home. Treadmills are relatively easy to use and give you the benefit of a predictable surface, reducing the risk of tripping as when outdoors.

You control speed, incline or time spent warming up and cooling down. A treadmill at home means being able to watching television, read, or monitor other activities in the house. Generally, running on a treadmill is a faster calorie burner than most other forms of exercise you could do at home.

Since buying a treadmill could set you back as much as $2000, here are a few buying tips to keep in mind.

Think safety first. Desired features: an auto off safety – a must if children are in the home; a tether and safety clip – if you move too far back from the console it automatically shuts the treadmill off; and a sturdy frame with front side rails.

Which features best suit your fitness goals? Some models calculate step count, have heart rate monitors and can total up the number of calories burned. They may even allow you to design custom programs to suit your exercise timeframe.

The deck should be long and wide enough to suit your stride. So hop on and give it try first.
If you plan to run regularly, go for a thick belt surface to help cushion your steps and provide a flexible, less joint-jarring surface.

Since simpler models will only give you an 8-10% incline, if you are into serious running, try finding one that offers up to 15%.

How often do you plan on using it? A motorized treadmill is best and one with a strong motor will last longer.

Who else will be using it? One that is customizable to different users without adjusting the structure may be the type you need. Each user should be able to adjust the speed and incline to walk at a comfortable pace.