Entering a large, modern health club for the first time can be a bit daunting - a cavernous room full of sweaty people working their socks off on a variety of weird exercise machines. But if you look a bit closer, you'll see that there's actually only about half a dozen different types of cardiovascular fitness equipment.
These machines are popular because they provide cardiovascular (CV) fitness - which means it works your heart and lungs - and will deliver excellent results in a short period of time.
Treadmills offer versatile and efficient training for people of all fitness levels, whether you just want to walk, or are training for a marathon. You can set the speed and the incline to provide a customised workout - and you never have to take a day off because of bad weather!
Steppers are ideal for both fitness improvement and weight loss, and are an excellent way to improve your cardiovascular system. A stepper works both legs simultaneously, so stepping is an effective way to tone and strengthens the buttocks, thighs and calves.
Exercise bikes are an efficient, safe way to improve general fitness and develop leg muscles. They are suitable for people of all ages, sizes and fitness levels, and can be particularly good for those rehabilitating joint and knee injuries.
Rowing exercises all the major muscle groups, and is an excellent way to burn calories. The smooth, natural movements do not impact upon the joints, so training is both effective and safe, and is a tremendous way to strengthen the muscles in your back and shoulders.
Elliptical trainers, or cross trainers as they're also called, are appropriate for all fitness levels. The smooth elliptical motion for the legs combined with upper body exercise, increases your heart rate without undue stress on the joints.
Finally, you may find a climber in your gym. These are usually reckoned to be one of the hardest machines to train on, as they work all the major muscle groups.
So if you want to find out more, or even consider buying some of these for your home, then why not check out our dedicated fitness equipment channel