The Gazelle Edge Glider is a home fitness elliptical trainer produced by Fitness Quest and famously marketed by workout guru Tony Little. These machines are designed to offer the benefits of an elliptical trainer at a much lower price than many competitor models. According to Fitness Quest's website, the Gazelle Edge can be used to target and tone any major muscle group in your body.
The Gazelle Edge has two independently operating foot platforms that pivot near the center of the A-frame body when you move your legs back and forth in a running motion. This is the equipment's main feature for building leg strength and cardiovascular fitness. The front portions of the pedals connect to a set of handlebars that you can hold on to for an arm workout while you using your legs. The speed, distance and calories burned progress you make during your workouts is monitored on the Gazelle Edge's fitness computer, which is mounted between the handlebars.
The basic gliding motion of the Gazelle Edge provides you with a solid cardiovascular workout while having a low impact on your joints. When holding the handlebars and moving your legs, you quickly elevate your heart rate into the target heart rate zones laid out by the American Heart Association for fat burning and cardiovascular training.
When you increase the length of your stride on the Gazelle Edge, you engage muscles in your legs and abdomen that you do not normally use when running. This can lead to greater leg strength if you are diligent in your training. To work your upper body, you can lean forward or backward on the Gazelle Edge to change the incline. This shifts the focus from your legs to your chest, back and shoulders.
MayoClinic.com contributor Edward R. Laskowski, M.D. states that while elliptical trainers such as the Gazelle Edge offer many of the same physical benefits as a treadmill, they are a preferred method of exercise by many fitness seekers because they do not cause strain on your knees and hips. Laskowski also notes that elliptical machines with handlebars like the Gazelle Edge give you an efficient total body workout that is preferable over treadmills.
A 2010 study at the University of North Carolina published in the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research" analyzed the physical benefits and discomfort of treadmills, elliptical machines and arc trainers against each other. The study monitored 18 subjects for maximal oxygen uptake, respiratory exchange ratio and pain in the knee, hip and lower back during maximum and sub-maximum usage of the machines. The authors of the study, led by M. J. Turner, found that the subjects' heart rates were highest on the elliptical by comparison at sub-maximum exercise rates. Meanwhile, the perceived level of discomfort remained lower than the treadmill and about the same as the arc trainer. However, subjects with or at risk for "lower-extremity joint pathology" did experience higher levels of discomfort on the elliptical trainer than the arc trainer.
The Gazelle Edge Glider should be assembled correctly and used on a solid, level surface with ample space to conduct all desired movements. The machine's exercise guide suggests learning the basic glide motion first and then moving on to more complex exercises after you have become comfortable with that movement. Failure to do so can lead to loss of balance and possible injury.
When exercising on the machine, you should always closely monitor your heart rate and keep it within your target range. If you are below your range, you are not exerting yourself hard enough and will not receive maximum benefits from the machine. If you are above your range, you are working yourself too hard and risk injury to your body and heart. Consult with a physician before beginning any exercise regimen.