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Shaping up at Home

from Consumer Reports

If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most powerful drugs ever invented, according to Consumer Reports.

Chances are, you have heard many variations of that sentiment. It's not hype. A 2010 review of 40 studies in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, for example, found that being active can help prevent about 25 conditions.

Other research suggests that exercise can cut the risk of colon cancer (60 percent), type 2 diabetes (58 percent), heart disease (40 percent), and Alzheimer's disease (40 percent). Another study, which compared regular exercisers with couch potatoes, concluded that each minute of physical activity added an average of 7 minutes of life span.

Yet powerful evidence isn't powerful enough: Just 20 percent of Americans say they get the recommended amount of aerobic and strength exercises.

"Convenience and proximity are key predictors of exercise," says Carol Ewing Garber, associate professor of movement sciences at Columbia University and president elect of the American College of Sports Medicine. So it makes sense that working out at home increases the odds you will not only become active, but also stick with a routine.

Consumer Reports consulted with experts to help you pick the machine that will best help you reach your health goals. more


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