Medicine balls

Related Terms

Body ball, climbing machines, elliptical cross trainers, elliptical fitness machines, elliptical gliders, ellipticals, gym ball, fitness balls, heart rate monitors, interval training, med balls, medicine balls, resistance bands, rowing machines, sports ball, stair climbing machines, Stairmaster?, Swiss balls, therapy ball, Thighmaster?, yoga ball.


Aerobic exercise, such as walking and running, increases cardiovascular endurance. Anaerobic exercise, such as weight training and sprinting, does not affect cardiovascular endurance and increases muscles strength. Isometric exercise is a form of physical exercise in which the muscles flex and hold a stationary position. Stretching should be done in anticipation of physical exercise. It is the act of applying tensile force to muscles in the attempt to lubricate and lengthen them.
Several machines and props have been popularized and used in the home as part of a "home gym" as part of an aerobic, anaerobic, isometric or stretching exercise routine. Experts recommend trying all exercise equipment before making a purchase. Machines vary greatly in price based on the features that they offer. It is also stressed that individuals take their workout habits into consideration as well as the space available before making any purchases.
Elliptical machines are a slight variation from cross-country machines that were made popular in the 1980s. These machines are available for residential or fitness club use. These machines feature a low impact elliptical motion, which is also used in elliptical cross training, allowing a user to move through an exercise in a smooth, fluid manner. Some manufacturers claim that the machines offer a total body workout in 20 to 30 minutes. These machines are appropriate for all fitness levels and maximize the time spent exercising while minimizing the wear and tear on joints. As a break from the standard treadmill, ellipticals may add variety and keep an individual motivated. Machines offer the ability to burn up to 720 calories an hour. This number will however vary based upon body mass and workout intensity.
Medicine balls, also referred to as exercise balls, med balls or fitness balls, are weighted balls roughly the size of volleyballs. Medicine balls usually come in 8, 10 and 12 pound weights. They are normally used for strengthening the abdominal muscles or to increase the explosive power (pylometric exercise) of basketball and baseball players.
Stairmasters?, or stair climbing machines, simulate the motion of walking up stairs. They offer a cardiovascular workout while shaping the muscles of the upper legs and buttocks.
Stationary bikes allow the user to simulate the riding of a bicycle indoors without actually moving any distance. The machine offers a great cardiovascular workout.
Swiss ball: A Swiss ball is a ball made of elastic rubber that is used for physical therapy and exercise. It is also known as an exercise ball, a gym ball, a sports ball, fitness ball, therapy ball, yoga ball or body ball. Compared to exercising on a flat surface, the body responds by engaging many more muscles and maintains balance when exercising with a Swiss ball. Swiss balls can help develop control and strength of core body muscles, increase lower back mobility, strengthen the abdominal and back muscles, as well as improve overall balance and stability.
Thighmaster?: The Thighmaster? was introduced to Americans in the 1990s by actress Suzanne Somers. A Thighmaster? is made from two pieces of bent metal tubing connected by a hinge. The device is placed between the thighs and squeezed to contract the thigh muscles.
Treadmills are indoor exercise machines that allow for indoor running without moving any distance. The treadmill is based on a belt system that moves over the top of the machine and allows the runner to move an equal distance. Runners can vary their gradient as well as their speed.

Theory / Evidence

Physical exercise offers a variety of benefits to its participants. Frequent and regular exercise can reduce risk factors for diseases such as cancer, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
Exercise also helps with brain function by increasing the amount of blood and oxygen being supplied to the brain and releasing the release of chemicals in the brain that aid in cognition.

Author information

This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (


Consumer Reports. 11 May 2006.