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Health Walker Exercises

author image Marie Mulrooney
Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. A retired personal trainer, former math tutor, avid outdoorswoman and experience traveler, Mulrooney also runs a small side business creating custom crafts. She's published thousands of articles in print and online, helping readers do everything from perfecting their pushups to learning new languages.
Health Walker Exercises
Close up of eliptical machine. Photo Credit Julißn Rovagnati/Hemera/Getty Images


Health walkers like the Gazelle, also be known as health striders or air walkers, all work on the same general principle. You stand on two pedals, suspended from the machine’s frame and swing your legs back and forth in an arcing motion, as if you were drawing the bottom part of a circle. Because health walker machines are so similar, you can do the same three exercises on almost all of them.

Lower Body

The simplest way of using any health walker-style exercise machine is the basic pedaling motion. Step into the pedals and swing your legs back and forth like pendulums. Hold onto the center crossbar for balance. This works your entire body from the hips down, with the exception of your calves. The more you bend your knees and let your heels come off the strider platform, the more balance you’ll need -- but the more muscle fibers you’ll recruit, too, including your calves.

Upper and Lower Body

Once you’re feeling stable enough to let go of the crossbar, hold onto the moving handlebars instead. Almost every health walker-style machine has handlebars slaved to the pedals so that pushing and pulling with your arms helps you move your feet faster. Some, like the Gazelle, also allow you to tilt forward as you pedal; this puts more pressure on your chest muscles. Leaning back puts more strain on your back muscles.

Side Stride

Most health rider-style machines let you work your inner and outer thighs, too. Grasp the middle crossbar for support and turn sideways on the machine, placing one foot sideways in each pedal. Spread your legs apart, then bring them together again against the resistance from your own body weight. Repeat. Switch leg positions halfway through the workout.

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