Is the HealthRider Good Exercise?

Feeling the burn
Use a HealthRider as one part of an exercise regimen. (Image: Troels Graugaard/E+/Getty Images)

During the 1990s, fitness gurus Covert Bailey helped make the HealthRider exercise machine a popular home workout choice for consumers. The HealthRider declined in popularity after reports of repetitive stress injuries and low calorie-burn results began to appear in the media. Today’s, Healthrider, endorsed by the Biggest Loser’s former fitness consultant, Jillian Michaels, is a more ergonomic, heavy-duty piece of equipment. Using it properly, you can create a variety of efficient workouts.

Older vs. Newer

The original LifeStyler HealthRider offered a full-body workout using a back-and-forth rowing motion performed on a bicycle-like frame. Your body moved forward as the handlebars moved forward and you moved back as they returned, with your body moving up and down. Today’s machine use a similar configuration, but has a different pedal placement, and the seat moves differently to help reduce lower back stress. The newer machine also has an LCD monitor that provides data on your workout.

Beginner Workouts

If you’re using a HealthRider to begin an exercise program, set a pace that lets you work longer, rather than harder. If you raise your heart rate to burn more calories, you may fatigue your muscles and have to stop sooner. Use a resistance setting, hand placement and foot placement that is comfortable and lets you exercise for at least 10 minutes without stopping. Add five minutes to your workouts each week, aiming for an eventual goal of 30 minutes of exercise each time. If you can do three, 10-minutes workouts each day, you’ll get the same benefit as a 30-minute workout, according to the American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association.

Intermediate

If you’re already working out on a regular basis, use a HealthRider to create aerobic workouts that last 30 minutes or longer. Work at a pace similar to jogging, but make sure you can talk while you’re exercising. If you can’t talk, you’re working too hard. To prevent repetitive stress on joints and your back, vary your hand and feet placement and use different resistance settings. The less resistance you use, the less muscle benefit you’ll get, but you can raise your heart rate by working faster and may avoid stress.

Advanced

Train your anaerobic energy system using the HealthRider to do sprint training. Work at a pace of between 80 and 90 percent of your maximum heart rate for 30 to 90 seconds, depending on what shape you’re in, then take a break of two minutes or more. Use more resistance to raise your heart while you build muscular endurance. Use less resistance to raise your heart with quick muscle movements that train your fast-twitch muscle fibers. Check with a health professional before you try sprint training.

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