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Exercise equipment can be fun at first, but what does it take to keep you happy, hooked and healthy?
 
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  • Updated:5 Sep 2005
 

03.Elliptical (or cross) trainers

Woman on crosstrainerElliptical trainers are the newish kid on the block, with sales rapidly increasing as people become more aware of their benefits. They're like a cross between a stair climber, ski machine, treadmill and a cycle (see the photo, below). You stand on large platform-like pedals and there are also moving handles that you can use to provide an upper-body workout.

Advantages: Because your weight is partly supported, the main advantages are a low-impact workout, so there’s less stress on your joints, and that you get a good workout for less perceived exertion.

Disadvantages: Lower-priced models may not be well-constructed and have a jerky up-and-down motion rather than a loping run. It might take a while to get the hang of the action. And unless they fold somehow, they take up a lot of space.

Member quotes

“I love the leg workout I get with the elliptical movement. It also gives my arms a good workout. I had to quit running after 13 years and this is a terrific substitute.”

“It took up too much space to put it in an interesting place to use, and it was difficult to move around, especially through doorways.”

What to look for

  • Check the height of your ceilings — tall users may hit their heads.
  • Fixed and moving handles. Make sure the moving handles don’t hit you in the arms if you’re holding the fixed ones.
  • Wide pedals with safety rims on both sides.
  • The stride length should be long enough for all users — some are too short for many people.
  • The action and ‘feel’ can vary from model to model, so try out different ones before you buy.
  • If you’re likely to need to move it around, check it can be moved (wheels help) and can fit through doorways.
  • If space is an issue, see if you can get one that folds or can at least be moved out of the way.
 

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