Exercise is important for good health and weight management. Most health authorities recommend average adults get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Weather and schedule problems may make it challenging to exercise outdoors or to sign up for a class. Thus, home exercise equipment like treadmills and ski machines (such as those produced by Nordic Track) has become popular. To get the best value, consider which is the best for you.
Nordic Track was started in 1975 by Edward Pauls, who invented the cross-country ski machine to help his daughter, a cross-country ski champion, train in the off-season. The machine uses a system of flywheels and pulleys to simulate cross-country skiing. You place your feet in the foot-holds; as you move your feet back and forth along the runners you simulate the gliding motion of cross-country skiing. Dependent ski machines have linked foot mechanisms: As one ski moves forward, the other ski will automatically move backward by the same length. On an independent ski machine, the foot mechanisms are not linked; they move freely.
Nordic Track machines also use another pulley system for your hands and arms, thus allowing you to build upper body strength.
Many companies produce treadmills. These generally have a metal frame with a rubberized surface that rotates as you walk or run on it. Manually operated models only rotate as fast as you do. Motorized models allow you to set a specific speed: To go faster or slower, adjust the speed of the running surface and your running or walking speed will adjust accordingly.
According to NutriStrategy.com, a 130-lb. person using a cross-country ski machine like Nordic Track can burn 561 calories per hour; a 155-lb. person can burn 669 and a 190-lb. person can burn 819 calories per hour.
The same people walking on a treadmill at a 4 mph pace can burn 236 calories per hour (130-lb. person), 281 calories (155-lb. person) or 345 calories per hour (190-lb. person).
If they ran on the treadmill, they could burn 472 calories per hour (130-lb. person), 563 per hour (155-lb. person) or 650 (190-lb. person).
Many runners use cross-country ski machines to strengthen their legs in the off-season or to recover from injuries. Because your feet never leave the foot holds during the exercise, it is a non-impact activity. In addition, the upper-body motion allows you to strengthen the whole body in addition to burning calories.
Treadmills offer the ability to switch between walking, jogging and running.
Some people have difficulty coordinating their movements on a Nordic Track, especially those that have independent foot motion. With practice, it becomes easier.
While most people in good health can walk on a treadmill easily, building up to running can be painful on the knees.
According to TreadmillAdvisor.com, treadmills range in price from $500 to $5,000 or more. The less expensive models are intended for home use and vary in terms of features and reliability. The more expensive models are intended for use in health clubs. While they may be sturdier, it can be difficult to get service for your treadmill if it breaks down because commercial repair companies may not come to a private home.
Nordic Track’s Classic Pro Skier sells for about $700 from the company’s website. While it is the only model offered on the website, other models may be available used or from competing companies.
While Nordic Track is primarily known for its ski machines, the company, owned by CML Group, also sells treadmills, elliptical machines and other equipment. Likewise, other companies produce and sell cross-country ski machines. However, because they were first produced by Nordic Track, many people refer to all cross-country machines by that name.
Nordic Track declared bankruptcy in 1998 and closed its retail stores. For that reason, it can be difficult to get parts or service for your Nordic Track equipment. Both treadmills and Nordic Track machines may need periodic maintenance. You may also need to buy rubberized mats to put under these heavy pieces of equipment to protect the floor, and purchase other accessories.