Do you want to get fit fast? How about losing those extra pounds without having to work up a sweat? Wouldn't it be nice if you could reap the health benefits of physical activity without actually having to do the exercise? Scam artists and manufacturers who make exaggerated claims about their exercise equipment use these "hopes" to lure many of us into buying their products.
Although it would be nice if these enticing claims were true, the fact is, in order to achieve a healthy, fit, and toned body you actually have to do the work of exercise. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers this advice when evaluating the claims of exercise equipment manufacturers:
- Ignore outrageous claims - declarations that an exercise machine can help get results effortlessly are false. You can only get the health benefits of physical activity by actually exercising your body, which takes effort and work.
- Be skeptical of claims that an exercise machine can help you burn excessive calories. Read the fine print. Results may be based on using their equipment in conjunction with other devices or in combination with caloric restriction. Note that exercise machines which exercise the whole body may burn more calories than equipment that focuses on one body part; however, if it is too hard to use or makes you uncomfortable, chances are you won't use it in the long run. Buy equipment that you think you will actually use on a regular basis.
- Think twice about claims that an exercise machine can "spot" reduce or burn fat in a specific area of the body. These claims are false. Your body weight is dependent upon the number of calories you consume relative to the amount of total body exercise you perform.
- Question celebrity endorsements, testimonials and before-and-after pictures. These results may not be typical, or even true.
- Calculate the total cost of the equipment. Check the fine print for sales tax, shipping and handling fees, and/or delivery and set-up fees.
- Understand the manufacturers policies on returns, warranties, and guarantees. Re-stocking and return shipping fees may apply.
- Investigate the company's customer and support services. Is someone readily available to answer your questions or to provide you with replacement part information?
Doing a little research on the credibility of an exercise product's claim can save a lot of grief, and money, in the long run. Question a company's claim that results have been clinically proven. How was the study conducted? Have the results been taken out of context? Were the findings published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal?
Even if the claims of an exercise device appear to be legitimate, before you buy, be honest with yourself. Will this exercise machine help you meet your fitness goals? Is it a piece of equipment that you truly will use, or will it end up collecting dust? Remember, the best form of exercise is that which you will actually do on a regular basis.
Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for, or who currently have, chronic health conditions.
Labels: exercise equipment, false advertising, false claims, scams