Many people want to buy ellipticals or other workout equipment, but aren’t sure if they can/should put it in the garage. Many people do it, but is it really a good idea to place an elliptical in your garage?
Workout equipment doesn’t fit well with most home décor, and it can be hard to find a place for your elliptical. Keeping your equipment in the garage is a common solution to this problem, but it can cause major damage to the components of your machine.
Although the possibility of equipment damage is intimidating enough for many people to consider keeping their elliptical somewhere besides the garage, there are also benefits to a home-gym in the garage that should be considered. Even if you decide not to keep your equipment in the garage, there are a few other solutions we’ll look into.
Pros of keeping your elliptical training in the garage
Let’s focus on the benefits first, shall we? The main benefit of keeping your elliptical in the garage is practicality. Like I said, workout equipment isn’t pretty. It doesn’t match most interior designs. It’s bulky and takes up a lot of room.
While keeping it in your living room may help motivate you—watching your favorite tv show while running can drive you to work out more often—you’ll have to find a way to make room next to your couch and coffee table. The same issue comes up if you want to keep it in your bedroom. It’s a bad decoration match that takes up a lot of space!
Not only is space a problem, but there will also be almost no privacy in the main areas of your home. If you’re shy about your workout, it might help to keep your equipment in the garage—there’s less of a chance that you might have an audience. In addition to isolation, you’ll cause less disturbance to the rest of your household.
Ellipticals are noisy, and so are you during your workout. Whether it’s heavy breathing, heavy footsteps, the vibrations and noise from the machine, or the music you rock out to, exercise is loud and intrusive. Isolating your workout to the garage will be less obnoxious for everyone else in the house, and you’ll avoid getting gawked at. A garage can be a great workout environment. Most garages have cooler air than the rest of your house, which can keep you from overheating during your workout.
Keeping your workout equipment in the garage is also a lot safer. Running on an elliptical is safer for you, personally, than running on the streets in bad weather, in the dark, or in dangerous communities. And keeping your equipment out of the way in the garage is safer for any pets and children in your household. Curious children are the most likely to get hurt. They might push the wrong buttons, choosing a speed they can’t keep up with.
Ellipticals are for adult use and are designed to be used by individuals of a certain height. Children don’t meet those requirements, and won’t be able to use many safety measures the machine offers. Misuse of treadmills can cause friction burns, blunt trauma, and even loss of fingers or toes. While pets might not press buttons or stick curious little fingers into unsafe places, they can still be seriously injured by workout equipment.
If your pet has a tendency to stay by your side, or an unhealthy curious streak, it’s best to keep them locked in the house while you work out in the garage. Remember, misuse of any workout equipment can cause damage to the machine itself. By keeping your elliptical locked away in the garage, you can prevent injuries and mechanical harm.
Cons of keeping your elliptical training in the garage
As great as these benefits may be, there is a good reason that most manufacturers advise against keeping your elliptical in the garage. First and foremost, the conditions your equipment will be in when stored in the garage. Extreme weather in the unregulated temperature of garages will cause damage to your machine.
Humidity and cool air lead to corrosion of your machine’s working parts, which leads to premature failure. The cold can damage the belt and LCD screen of your elliptical as well. Moisture from the ground and air can irreversibly ruin your machine. In many cases, this type of damage will void your warranty, and cost a lot in repairs. In a worst-case scenario, your machine will be beyond saving, resulting in a colossal waste of money, time, and energy.
Not only are the temperature conditions a problem, but the garage itself also isn’t ideal. Garages are, as a general rule, not very clean. They’re often dirty and cluttered. This dirt and grime can and will ruin your machine’s working parts. To keep your equipment working well, you’ll have to clean your equipment more often and more thoroughly to keep it in ideal working order. An elliptical or treadmill mat will help to keep dirt and moisture away, but it still won’t be enough to keep your machine squeaky-clean.
As well as being a problem for your equipment, a dirty garage isn’t safe for you. Chemicals in your garage—gas, oil, and maybe paint—aren’t good for you to be breathing in, especially in the condition your body is in during a workout. Fumes can make you feel light-headed or dizzy, and irritate your nose, throat, and eyes. Long term exposure to these chemicals can cause bone and blood disorders, and different types of cancer. Certain gases can cause nose, eye, throat, and lung irritation, as well as long-term, chronic damage to your liver, kidneys, and nervous system.
Opening windows and using airtight lids may help, but if you keep your car in your garage, or smell anything sharp or strange in the air, it’s not a safe area to be in.
In addition to chemicals, garages are breeding grounds for pests and germs, and home to all sorts of mold and fungi. Cockroaches spread bacteria and can trigger asthma attacks. Roaches can cause respiratory problems. Mold and fungi cause breathing problems, headaches, and infections. Mold can be easily cleaned away with soap, water, and bleach, but be warned: disturbing mold can release spores into the air, which can cause the same health problems. If you smell anything dank or musty, it’s best to get a professional to get rid of it.
Another problem is accessibility. A common joke is that workout equipment becomes just another place to hang your laundry and clutter. This is doubly true in a garage. Just take a moment to think of all the junk you keep in your garage. Now, think of trying to find a place for your workout equipment in the middle of that mess, as well as the time and effort it will take to get to your equipment. Keeping your machine in your garage may require you back out your car onto the driveway, move ladders, shovels, gardening supplies, bikes, sports equipment, holiday decorations, all sorts of junk.
All that work, just to have some exercise—and after your workout, when you’re tired and worn out, you’ll have to move everything back into place. All that decluttering and moving around will take a lot of time, both before and after your workout; and most people barely have time for a decent workout, much less time for that organizing and re-organizing. As a general rule, if it’s a workout to get to your workout, you’re never going to do it.
Now that we’ve covered the benefits and disadvantages, let’s consider some other solutions.
There are a few basic guidelines to follow. First, your elliptical will need to be on flat ground, and close to an electrical outlet. It’s best to put your elliptical somewhere away from children and pets, or at the very least somewhere you can keep an eye on it. There’s a bit of a debate on whether or not you can use an elliptical on the carpet, but it should be alright.
A thick carpet isn’t ideal. Thin carpet may not be sturdy enough for an elliptical. In this case, using a mat or a piece of plywood can help; in addition, a mat will evenly distribute the weight of the machine and prevents damage to your carpet. If this isn’t an option or doesn’t work well for you, most ellipticals have adjustable feet with rubber grip pads.
Keeping your elliptical on the second floor of your home is structurally ok—the machine won’t fall through your first-floor ceiling. Most ellipticals only weigh up to 250 lbs; even if you were to weigh 300 lbs, that’s only a total of 550 lbs.
A building that is up to the current safety code can handle 40 lbs per foot, meaning the total weight of an elliptical and yourself isn’t a problem at all. If three adults can safely stand in the place you want to keep your elliptical, then there’s no reason to worry about the weight of your machine. But if you’re still worried, you can keep your elliptical against a load-bearing wall, or directly atop a floor joist.
Safety aside, there are a few reasons not to put your elliptical upstairs. Keeping any workout equipment on the second floor can cause intrusive sound and vibrations to the floor below. And then there’s the struggle of getting the heavy equipment up the stairs and into place. Many people keep their workout equipment in their bedroom or spare room, where it’s out of the way, isolated, and they can have some sort of entertainment to motivate them.
Many people keep their workout equipment in their bedroom or spare room, where it’s isolated and out of the way. Unfortunately, this increases the chances of your expensive workout equipment being used for hanging laundry or holding clutter. However, it can also help motivate you during your work out, by having some sort of entertainment nearby.
Another factor to where you workout is motivation. Where you place your workout equipment has an impact on how often and how well you exercise. Even a nice window view can help. Listening to music, news, or podcasts can help you focus on your workout.
Most people like to watch TV while they work out—if you’d like to do the same, be sure your elliptical is directly facing the TV, not at an angle. Just like you shouldn’t look left, right, or behind when running, you shouldn’t turn your focus away when on an elliptical or treadmill. Turning your head when moving forward is dangerous, and can cause injuries.
Professionals advise against watching tv while working out, or at the very least regulating what you watch. Instead of going on auto-pilot, use whatever show you’re watching to encourage variety in your workout. For example: try sprinting through commercial breaks, or change exercises when a certain phrase is said.
Try breaking your favorite TV show into different workout segments: warmup, intense workout, and cool-down through the show’s resolution and credits. Even the type of show you watch has an effect on your workout and should be carefully considered. Comedies and action movies are best, and intense drama or complicated news programs may distract you from your workout.
Limit your screen time when exercising, and reserve TV for low to medium intensity workouts, and don’t get so wrapped up in your entertainment that you get distracted, don’t push hard, and lose the benefits of your workout, or ignore your body’s cues and injure yourself. And never use your phone while on any workout equipment—you’re too likely to get distracted or hurt.
All in all, it’s up to you. Keep your elliptical wherever you have space and feel comfortable, and wherever you’ll feel motivated to work out. Depending on you circumstances, and the conditions in your garage, you could probably get away with keeping your elliptical in your garage, especially if you’re willing to do the extra work to keep it in good condition. However, it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and listen when they warn you not to keep your equipment in the garage, both for the good of the machine and for your own healthy and safety.
Favorite Cardio Machine Accessories
Check out these accessories that improve a home cardio workout:
- Equipment mat: All cardio equipment should be put on an equipment mat. The Rubber-Cal mat (Amazon) is an affordable yet very high quality choice.
- Interval timer: To time your intervals and workouts, there is no better choice than the GymNext Flex. It’s super easy to use and set up with a phone app.
- Tablet holder: Cardio can be boring. With this tablet holder (Amazon) you can follow along with on-demand workouts or just watch a movie on any cardio machine.
- Heart rate monitor: Monitoring your heart rate is very important while doing cardio. The Polar H10 (Amazon) connects to almost anything you can imagine and is very accurate.
To find which cardio machines I recommend for home gyms, click here.