A health walker is a popular piece of fitness equipment, that helps a person work out the arms and legs. This piece of exercise equipment is very similar to an elliptical machine, and features a low-impact walking type motion. Walking equipment is popular with exercisers who have bad knees or joint pain, and is an alternative to indoor walking. The health walker and other walking machines are part of the alternative walking for fitness movement.
The health walker can often be found by the steppers and elliptical machines in gyms and sports equipment stores. Walkers allow the user to engage the muscles in the legs that are used for walking and can be a good part of a cardiovascular fitness routine. While used more often for low impact workouts, it can also supplement regular high-impact workouts and lifting routines.
Like elliptical machines, the health walker sits on a large stand. The walker features platforms for each foot and handles for each hand, and allows the exercise to kick one leg forward in a walking motion as the other leg is pushed backward. At the same time, the handle opposite the forward foot is pushed forward, while the other handle is pushed back. This allows the user to move in a natural running motion so that neither both hands nor both feet are in front of the body at the same time.
A lower body workout can be performed with this equipment by using only the legs on the machine. When the hands are added, a full upper body workout can be performed by swiveling the hips and moving the hands back and forth. By pressing forward with the hands, more pressure is created for the hamstrings; by pulling the handles back, there is more pressure created for the quadriceps.
Whatever muscles are being engaged with the health walker, a workout can typically last around 30 to 60 minutes and can burn as much as 800 calories. The workout is popular as a warm up before lifting weights or to engage the muscles early in the morning. A health walker can also be used as a rehabilitation tool and to help increase strength, stamina, and flexibility in the legs.