More than 36,000 ACE-certified fitness professionals were asked to name their single most important exercise items. Some answers were obvious (my body), while others were more abstract (daily goals, plenty of space). Here are their top 10 exercise essentials:

ACE'S TOP 10 EXERCISE ESSENTIALS

  • GOOD SHOES

    Be sneaker savvy. A proper fit is important. It is also good to get a shoe to fit your particular workout or exercise activity. People with high-arches tend to require greater shock absorption. People with low-arches need shoes with less cushioning but greater support and heel control. Try on shoes at the end of the day, when foot size is at its maximum — a person's foot can increase half a shoe size during the day. Allow a ½ inch, or the width of your index finger, between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe.

  • FUN OR APPROPRIATE MUSIC

    Music is a powerful motivational tool for your workouts. People who listen to music during their workouts tend to exercise more, for longer periods of time, and with greater intensity. In addition to getting better workouts, people who listen to music enjoy their workouts more than people who don't.

  • FREE WEIGHTS

    Working with free weights can increase muscle tone for firmer and better muscles, which helps burn fat. It can also improve balance, as well as allow you to do multiple exercises, with greater range of movement. An effective free weight program can strengthen your body, enhance your motor skills and improve your posture.

  • A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

    A good mental attitude is important when it comes to working out whether for stretching, cardio or weight lifting. It is important to be motivated before your workout. Before going to the health club think about your fitness routine and psyche yourself to have the best workout ever. Working out is a mind-body experience that lets you increase your fitness results, as well as lead a balanced life.

  • COMFORTABLE CLOTHING

    Your workout clothes need to keep up with you and be comfortable. Workout clothing is more streamlined and the fabrics can aid in your performance. Wicking materials keep you dry while working out, and compression tights can assist in muscle recovery after workouts. Never wear rubberized or plastic clothing. Such garments interfere with the evaporation of perspiration and can cause body temperature to rise to dangerous levels.

  • DRINK LOTS OF WATER

    When we exercise we need more water to help fuel our bodies and prevent dehydration. During exercise our bodies sweat to cool off and through this process we lose up to four cups of water an hour. Water suppresses the appetite and helps the body metabolize stored fat. Drinking water also helps maintain proper muscle tone, which aids muscle contraction. Drink water before, during and after exercising and remember that water reduces body temperature making exercise safer.

  • A SUPPORTIVE SPORTS BRA

    A recent study confirmed that many women experience breast discomfort during exercise. While many women take sports bras for granted, there was a time when women had few options beyond an Ace bandage tightly bound around the chest. Now, there are many designs in the market to make women feel more comfortable and secure.

  • SAFE, WELL-MADE EQUIPMENT (E.G., CARDIO MACHINES, HEART-RATE MONITORS)

    There are grades of exercise equipment, much like any item you can use from toasters to automobiles. While most health clubs feature safe equipment made for the high-usage they receive, be wary when buying equipment for home workouts to supplement your club training.

  • WEIGHT-TRAINING GLOVES

    Good weightlifting gloves will not only keep your hands from getting blisters, they will improve your ability to grip the bars. The secret to buying training gloves is finding a pair that's not too bulky and is supple enough to be comfortable and allow freedom of movement. They should also include a moisture-wicking fabric to keep the sweat off your palms.

  • ENOUGH TIME

    Exercise is vital to good health, whether or not you need to lose weight. Make sure to schedule your workouts for a time when there is little chance that you will have to cancel or interrupt them because of competing demands on your time.