Are Gliders Good Exercise?

Using a glider exercise machine is a good form of cardiovascular exercise. They are low-impact on your joints and you can easily adjust your speed at the machine resistance during your workout to suit your fitness level.

Gliders are a good form of low-impact cardio exercise that burns calories, especially for beginners. (Image: kovaciclea/E+/GettyImages)

Tip

Gliders are a good form of low-impact cardio exercise that burns calories, especially for beginners. However, these machines may not provide enough intensity or resistance to offer a challenging workout if you are already fit.

Elliptical vs. Glider

There are a few types of elliptical and glider machines you may see in your gym. An air glider keeps your legs mostly straight as you move them back and forth in an arc. An elliptical machine bends and straightens your legs more as the pedals follow an elliptical path. Some elliptical machines have hand bars that are stationary, while others have moving handlebars, which allows you to swing your arms and get in a full-body exercise.

Tip

The Gazelle glider is one popular glider machine. A Gazelle glider workout can incorporate several exercises including wide glide, forward push or gliding without holding the handlebars to improve balance.

To use a glider, simply step one foot on each pedal, grasp the handlebars and begin swinging your feet and arms. Change your body position and movement to target different muscles and change the intensity of your workout. For example:

  • Lean forward to target your chest muscles as you push against the handlebars.
  • Lean backward to target your hamstrings and glutes.
  • Lift your heels up to target your calves.

An elliptical machine is slightly different. Simply step on the machine and begin by pressing "Quick Start" or pedaling forward by pressing your weight onto one pedal, advises ExRx.net. The momentum will push the other foot forward and then you can press your weight into that foot until you have a smooth, gliding rhythm. Maintain good posture and use the handlebars for balance, but do not rest all your weight on them.

Glider Exercise Machine

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that all adults do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. You can achieve this by using a glider for 30 minutes per day, five days per week. If you are aiming to lose weight, increase your workouts to one hour per day, five days per week for a total of 300 minutes per week.

Calorie burn estimates for air glider were not available; however, you can burn a lot of calories on the elliptical, a similar machine. Harvard Health Publishing estimates that a 125-pound person can burn 270 calories during a 30-minute session. A 155-pound person can burn 335 calories and a 185-pound person can burn 400 calories every half hour on the elliptical.

This calorie burn can help contribute toward losing or maintaining your weight. When calculating your calorie burn, be aware that the air glider may offer less intensity and burn fewer calories than the elliptical.

The greater the intensity of your workout, the more calories you burn. Consider using the glider to do a high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, workout such as the one recommended by the American Council on Exercise. Although this workout was designed for the elliptical, you can still apply the HIIT training principles to the glider:

  1. Warm up for about five minutes at an easy pace on the glider.
  2. Begin the interval workout. Push yourself as hard and fast as you can for about 30 seconds.
  3. Slow your pace and recover for two minutes. As your fitness increases, you may decrease the time you spend in the recovery phase of each round of the workout.
  4. Repeat this eight times.
  5. Cool down for at least three minutes at an easy pace.
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