A new trend in home gyms is internet-enabled exercise equipment. Several companies are offering bike and elliptical machines that utilize a subscription service that can bring the shared experience into the home.

Mikaela Farasyn, a spokesperson Nautilus, Inc., said the primary benefit to having a home gym is convenience.

“In the time it takes to go to the gym, you could be finished with your workout at home,” Farasyn said. “You can also do it anytime you want, without having to worry about how you look or having to wait to use a piece of equipment.”

Farasyn also said more people are turning to shorter, more consistent workouts rather than less frequent longer workouts.

“The future of fitness is working shorter workouts in throughout the day. Studies show that three 10-minute bouts of exercise have the same benefits as one continuous 30-minute session,” she said. “When the number one barrier to exercise is time, getting in shorter workouts at home is a surefire solution. You’re not going to go to the gym to do a 20-minute workout, but you can and should do that at home.”

Popular exercise equipment brands include Bowflex, Nautilus and Schwinn Fitness, and they all offer cardio products like bikes, ellipticals and treadmills. The Boxflex Max Trainer line has been a hot seller for several years, Farasyn said.

“Our premium model, the Max Total, is the first Max Trainer with a built in console,” she said. “Among our digital products, the monthly subscription app JRNY (pronounced ‘Journey’) is widely used and enables an enhanced experience on the Max Total, among other Bowflex products.”

A new product the company launched this year is the C6, an indoor cycling bike that offers integration with popular third-party apps, such as Peleton and Zwift. The JRNY app uses Bluetooth to provide a customized experience on several models.

“First and foremost, people are looking for a piece they will enjoy using frequently,” Farasyn said. “They don’t want it to become the proverbial ‘coat rack,’ going unused after a short time and ending up with buyer’s remorse. The good news is that there have never been more options available, in all sizes and at all price ranges.”

With new technology also comes new ways to experience the exercise itself.

“(People) are also looking for different ways to disassociate during their workouts, namely focusing on anything other than the exercise itself,” Farasyn said. “Features that provide this mental diversion include music, coached video workouts (live and previously recorded), the ability to run, ride, etc. on different virtual courses around the world, workouts guided by artificial intelligence and more.”

There are a number of benefits to having a home gym beyond just convenience — people want to look better, feel better and live longer.

“While weight loss will always be at the top of the list, people are now embracing the myriad ‘non-scale victories’ that are the benefits of exercise,” Farasyn said. “These include increased energy, decreased stress, building lean muscle, helping to avoid injury, better sleep and improved heart health, to name but a few. They want to add years to their lives as well as life to their years, being able to enjoy their activities of daily living pain-free.”

When it comes to safety, Farasyn said to have between five to six feet of open space behind the treadmill in case of slip and falls. She advises to never place the back of a treadmill directly against a well. Always be aware of children and pets when running on a treadmill, using an elliptical or riding a bike, and keep pets and children a safe distance from any moving parts at all times.

Farasyn offered some advice when shopping for the right machine.

“Look for something that you will enjoy, a machine that you can see yourself ideally using several times a week,” she said. “There are so many different options to choose from now. Do a little research to find the perfect machine for you. Read reviews on the internet, watch videos, ask friends. Find something that you can get excited about using for many years to come.”