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What Is an Elliptical Glider?

Women on elliptical machines.
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  • Written By: A. Pasbjerg
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 17 July 2014
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An elliptical glider is a type of exercise machine that combines the benefits of a stair-climbing machine and a treadmill to create a motion similar to skiing. Two pedals are set on an elliptical track, and the user moves his or her legs to glide them along that track in a smooth motion. There is also typically an upper body component, with handles that move similarly to ski poles. Both commercial models, typically used in gyms, and smaller home versions are available.

Most types of elliptical gliders have controls that allow the user to adjust the incline and resistance of the pedals. This allows the person to vary the intensity of the workout and increase it over time as he or she increases in level of fitness. Some machines also have pre-designed programs that the user can choose to get a specific type of workout, such as fat burning or climbing.

When purchasing an elliptical glider, there are several things to consider. There may be restrictions on how much weight the machine can hold. Many gliders come with optional warranties which the buyer may want to purchase. Most models provide a built-in heart monitor so the user can track his or her heart rate. Different options such as calorie counters, fans, or speakers for personal music players may be included as well.

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There are several advantages to using an elliptical glider instead of other exercise machines. An elliptical machine offers a workout for both the upper and lower body. The rate of calorie burn and the cardiovascular effect is comparable to other machines such as treadmills, but due to the smooth motion of the foot pedals, the workout is low impact and therefore the stress on the joints is minimized. The ability to modify the intensity of the workout allows a wide range of people at a variety of fitness levels to use them.

Working out on an elliptical glider may not be right for everyone. For runners, a treadmill is probably preferable since it offers a workout closer to their chosen sport. The glider gives a good cardiovascular workout, but users trying to build more muscle mass and strengthen bones will need to go elsewhere. Users may experience numbness in their feet after using the machine for long periods of time; this may be due to the relatively immobile position of the feet on the pedals.

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