Argos Product Guides - Health and Fitness

Looking to get fit and healthy? Read these product guides

What exercise equipment does for you

Ready to exercise? Great! You’ll soon feel stronger, healthier, and have bags more energy every day. But buying the right exercise equipment can be a bit of a workout – so we’ve put together these Product Guides to Health & Fitness to help!

Most exercise equipment – treadmills, cross trainers, exercise bikes, rowers - are cardiovascular. (Home gyms are cardio too, but like cross trainers they also build strength.) Cardiovascular exercise makes your heart and lungs fitter, so blood pumps around your body smoothly carrying oxygen and energy to your muscles. But different machines exercise different parts of your body. Learn about the different muscle groups here, then choose which machine you’d like to look at first...

Gluteals or glutes The big muscles covering your backside. (It may feel like fat, but it’s muscle!) When you stand up from a chair, climb stairs, or walk forward. Treadmills, cross trainers, home gyms
Quadriceps The ones on the front of your thighs When you stand up from a chair, climb stairs, or push off to start walking. Exercise bikes, rowers, home gyms
Hamstrings The ones on the back of your thighs Lifting your feet up when you walk Treadmills, cross trainers, exercise bikes, home gyms
Hip abductors and hip adductors On the inside and outside of your thighs. Abductors on the outside, adductors on the inside Abductors let you move your leg away from the body and adductors pull it back. (Imagine walking sideways!) Home gyms
Calf & shin On the back and front of your legs below the knee When you push off to take a step. They’re small but can handle lots of weight Treadmills, cross trainers, home gyms
Lower back On your back, near the bottom of your backbone When standing up straight or carrying something in front of you Cross trainers, rowers, home gyms
Abdominals Wrapping around the front and sides of your stomach Sitting up when you get out of bed Rowers, home gyms
Upper chest Covering the front of your chest Pushing at a door or doing press-ups Cross trainers, home gyms
Rhomboids and Latissimus Dorsi On the upper and middle parts of the back, between your shoulders Pulling at a door or standing up straight Home gyms
Deltoids Capping your shoulders. There are three parts, anterior deltoid (front), medial deltoid (middle), and posterior deltoid (rear) Lifting things above your head Cross trainers, rowers, home gyms
Biceps The front of your arm between elbow and shoulder Pulling things towards you Cross trainers, rowers, home gyms
Triceps The back of your arm between elbow and shoulder Pushing things away from you Rowers, home gyms
Hand flexors The small muscles in your wrists and fingers Gripping, holding, and using tools Home gyms

Your heart rate

girl on exercise bike

Exercise forces your heart and lungs to work harder, which means they get stronger over time… and that’s how you get fit. The fitter your heart is, the slower it beats. (Within reason!) Most people’s hearts beat around 80 times a minute at rest; below 60 is excellent and below 50 you’re up there with top athletes.

While working out, your heartrate will rise, and there’s a maximum heart rate above which you should rest. Your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. (This is only a rough measure, though - if you’re new to exercising, we recommend you see a doctor first.) For best results, exercise at 70-80% of your maximum heart rate. For example, if you’re 30 years old, your maximum heart rate is 190 and your ideal heart rate while exercising is a steady 152.

Remember though – you don’t get fitter while exercising; you get fitter in the 24-72 hours between workouts, as your body recovers and rebuilds! So always pace yourself, and if you feel tired all the time, catch a lot of colds, or your resting heartrate feels high, stop for a few days or check with your doctor.

Keeping safe

How often should I exercise?
3 times a week is a good rule of thumb –
a day with exercise, a day of recovery.
How long should I exercise for?
At least 20 minutes or until you feel hot and slightly sweaty. As you get fitter, work up to hour-plus workouts. Of course, the longer you go the more calories and fat you’ll burn!
Why should I warm up first?
Starting with some low-intensity, gentle movements prepares your muscles for exercise, meaning less risk of hurting yourself
Why should I warm down afterwards?
Stretching the muscles you’ve just exercised after your workout will let them rest easier. It’ll prevent you feeling sore the next day – less sore, anyway!
Why is what I eat important?
A healthy, balanced diet keeps your body supplied with the energy and nutrients it needs to exercise. Five portions (a portion is about a cupful) of fruit and vegetables is a great start – and remember to keep fatty or salty foods and those ready meals to a minimum. Nothing beats fresh food cooked by you!

So it’s Ready, steady, GO! Choose which machine to look at first: treadmills, cross trainers, rowers, exercise bikes, or home gyms.