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Exercise Equipment That’s Easy on the Joints

By Mike Newford

Many of us are committed to exercise ~ even enjoy it! ~ but worry about the effects it will have on our aging joints.  Here are some new workout products designed especially to be gentle on our joints while still giving us a full work-out. Some you will want to purchase for home use, others you’ll want to use at the gym. As is the case when you start any new exercise regime or want to add a new piece of equipment into your existing workout, it’s wise to consult your doctor first.

THE ELLIPTIGO

The basics: Combo elliptical trainer and bike used outdoors to simulate running with less impact. Eight gears. Rider remains in upright position while riding.

Pros/Cons: Can trigger cardio “‘high” without same joint wear-and-tear. Seat-less feature a plus for cyclists with back, neck or prostate issues. May require modification to fit riders not in the 5-foot to 6-foot-6-inch range. At 40 pounds, device is heavier than many bikes.

www.elliptigo.com

TRX SUSPENSION TRAINER

The basics: “‘Suspension training”’ via two heavy-duty nylon straps that attach to door or other secure post. User grasps handles or places feet in cradles to leverage body weight during exercises such as squats, hamstring curls and chest press. Modifying stance alters intensity.

Pros/Cons: Total-body workout for under $200. Comes with training DVD. Workout area of 8 feet by 6 feet needed for full range of motion. Door anchor may chip paint or stress less-sturdy frames.

www.fitnessanywhere.com

VALSLIDE val-copy1

The basics: Two foot-sized “slides” activate lesser-used muscles in hips, legs, buttocks and abs for sculpting and cardio workout.

Pros/Cons: Can fit in a handbag or suitcase; low-impact. To be used on carpet or with $5 pair of booties on hardwood and tile floors. Some balance required.

www.Valslide.com

KETTLEBELL

The basics: Weight resembling a cannonball with a handle; generally come in sets of 2 and are often made of cast iron. Some plastic models can be filled with water or sand to vary load. Can execute swinging moves not easily performed with dumbbells.

Pros/Cons: Design flexibility permits fat burning/ metabolic exercise as well as bodybuilding. Stress injuries and bruising possible with certain flipping exercises.

www.beacon-fitness.com

SELECTTECH DUMBBELL

The basics: Adjustable-weight dumbbell. User sets dial to needed weight and unit picks up appropriate poundage.

Pros/Cons: Space-saving; can replace up to 17 sets of weights. Adjusts from 5 pounds to 52.5 pounds or 10 pounds to 90 pounds, depending on model. Expensive versus some traditional weight sets.

bowflexselecttech.com

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