When making the long-term commitment to your physical fitness, a good exercise machine can go a long way in helping you achieve your goals. Whatever your main objective is to drop ten pounds, get in shape for that annual marathon or just keep your body at peak physical condition, you can not go wrong with a machine that's as hard-wearing as you are.

An unfortunate number of today's exercise machines tend to dazzle buyers with flashy features paired with shoddy construction. Luckily, this is not the case with the Schwinn 431 Elliptical Trainer. Do not let its light frame and affordable price fool you: it is a high-performance machine that packs a real punch. While it may not boast the same heavy-duty specs as some of the pricier elliptical models out there, the Schwinn 431 is just right for most ordinary homeowners and even most serious athletes.

While many elliptical trainers are known to be massive metal behemoths, the Schwinn 431 takes up just as much room as a conventional treadmill. At 59 by 26 by 68 inches, it is only barely larger than a standard exercise bike. This makes it a godsend for you apartment owners out there. Assembly is fairly straightforward provided you have a good screwdriver at hand, and piecing it all together can take up a cool three hours of your afternoon.

One of this deceptively simple trainer's most outstanding features is its quiet construction. As gym buffs will certainly know, quite a few machines on the market can be awfully noisy. Many of a home fitness regimen has been cut abruptly short just because of all the ruckus a single machine can generate. This is not a problem with the Schwinn 431, which is unique in that its mechanisms are smooth and intelligently designed to create as little noise as possible. In addition to movable parts assembled for minimal friction, it comes with an advanced magnetic resistance system to help reduce any potential whirring, rattling, or clanging.

Naturally, any elliptical trainer worth its weight in gold is only as good as the workout it provides. The Schwinn 431 has sixteen preset resistance settings, allowing you to set your workout according to your own strength or endurance levels. Settings can be adjusted through a user-friendly LCD display, which also allows you to customize your own resistance workout. This model's rock-solid workmanship is built on a foundation of sturdy parts and ergonomic design. It features cushioned foot pads and soft hand grips, allowing you to hold a steady pace as your workout increases in intensity. The 18-inch stride length should be plenty enough for your needs, and indeed most anyone else's. All of these are guaranteed to give your body a fun but challenging workout.