Did you know that physical inactivity ranks as a top health concern in Canada? Health experts list inactivity as more concerning than smoking and unhealthy diets! For adults, at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week is recommended. That means we need to exercise at least 20 minutes a day to achieve optimal health. If you’re not meeting those recommendations don’t worry, you’re not alone. Only 16% of adult Canadians meet that guideline according to a recent Canadian Health Measures Survey.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 safety concerns and the closures of gyms have made it even harder to keep moving. As a result, many have found a solution by using exercise machines at home. Fitness machines provide a safe and fun way to get that heart rate up, however, they are not the easiest on your wallet. But your health is one thing that is priceless, right?! You are totally worth it! Plus, with regular care and maintenance, you can get plenty of bang for your buck from a machine. Follow these easy exercise machine maintenance tips to keep your equipment fit for years to come!
Place exercise equipment on a mat
To avoid having your machine suck in all the dirt that’s on your carpet, buy an affordable rubber equipment mat to put your exercise machine on. This holds especially true for treadmills. Placing the equipment on a clean mat will prevent a treadmill’s moving belt from collecting dust and hair from the carpet while it’s in use. Additionally, a rubber mat will protect the electronics of your machine from malfunctioning due to static electricity.
Keep the area clear
Ensure that no debris is left around the machine such as toys, balls, or tools. Moving parts of the machines can pull items into the unit if they come in contact with them. Consequently, this can cause serious damage which will not be covered under the manufacturers’ warranties. For example, treadmill running belts move at a high rate of speed and can pull items into the unit if they make contact with the belt.
Power it properly
If your exercise machine has a plug, ensure it is plugged directly into the wall or into a surge protector. Using a surge protector has the added benefit of protecting the machine’s electronics in case of a power surge. Avoid using an extension cord. Extension cords can result in lower power delivery to the unit, causing damage to or inefficient operation of the mechanics. If an extension cord is a must, manufacturers recommend using an extension cord that is 6 feet long or less.
Keep exercise equipment clean
After each use, wipe and dry your machine down to remove sweat and moisture. This will help fight against rusting and the deterioration of moving parts. Just like road or sea salt is bad for metal cars and boats, the salt in your sweat can accelerate the rusting of the metal parts of your fitness machine. Additionally, you should keep your machine dust and dirt free, since the build-up of all that stuff can cause malfunctioning down the road. So if your at-home fitness habits go in stops and starts, make sure to give it a good clean before starting up again! Also, using a can of condensed air to clean out the cracks every so often can do wonders!
Flaman Fitness, a supporting member of the ElectroRecycle Program, has great basic exercise machine maintenance videos on their Youtube channel. Follow the below links for videos detailing more on:
- Cleaning and maintaining your exercise bike
- Taking care of your treadmill
- Cleaning and maintaining an elliptical (video below)
Read the Owners Manual
If you’re not exactly sure how or what to clean your machine with, check out the owner’s manual. Do your best to actually put into practice the cleaning and maintenance checklist the manual suggests. If you’ve misplaced the manual, you can check on the manufacturer’s website, call the manufacturer, or contact the company that you purchased the machine from to request a new one.
Lubricate the machine regularly
The Owner’s Manual will usually set out lubrication requirements to keep your machine in top shape. Refer to the manual to determine how often and what type of lubrication is needed (wax or silicone lubrication is common). How to lubricate your exercise equipment should be detailed in the Manual, but you can also hire trained technicians for this task as well.
Note the warranty
Take note of the length and terms of the exercise machine’s warranty. If any problems arise within that time, call the manufacturer for support to solve them promptly and have the machine fixed for free under the warranty. You don’t want to lose out on hundreds of dollars because the issue falls by the wayside and the warranty expires!
Call a professional
Exercising on a machine that needs maintenance can be unsafe. If you don’t have time to regularly tune up your machine or your unit has an issue that you can’t make head nor tail of, call the experts! Look for an insured and certified exercise machine maintenance technician. Check with the store your unit was purchased at to see if they have a repair team or contact a specialty fitness equipment repair shop near you!
What if it can’t be repaired?
Regular exercise machine maintenance can save you money and increase the lifespan of your machine by up to 25%. We wish you many long and healthy fitness sessions! However, when your machine inevitably does reach a point beyond repair, do you know what to do with it? You can recycle it for free with ElectroRecycle!
Our BC-wide program accepts exercise machines, small appliances, and power tools for recycling. We partner with collection sites across British Columbia to recycle treadmills, cycling machines, ellipticals, and more. Please note, exercise equipment is not accepted at all ElectroRecycle collection locations. To find a location for recycling a large item like an exercise machine:
- Go to our website’s Collection Location search tool
- Uncheck the box at the top of the map that says “Small Appliances and Power Tools”
- Check off the box for “Oversized Items”
- Enter your location and click “Search”
Author: Leah Coulter