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Alternative motion, also known as adaptive motion, is often considered the answer for someone who loves to exercise by walking, running or stepping but is troubled by joint pain.

Alternative Motion Machines Are Far More Than Treadmills

Alternative motion workouts are conducted on devices that look as if someone merged a treadmill with an elliptical machine and a stair climber.

The machine has been on the market for some years but has recently grown in popularity.

The alternative motion machine has individual foot pedals like an elliptical machine. Your feet are always touching the pedals. This constant contact prevents you from experiencing the pressure in your joints that you would have if your feet were striking a solid stationary surface.

In contrast, running on a treadmill delivers an estimated force to your feet of two and a half times that of your body weight.

Alternative motion machines also typically feature movable handlebars for upper body exercise.

Alternative Motion Machines Let You Set the Pace

An alternative motion machine is adjustable to match your natural stride. If you want a step workout, you set the stride to be a distance of zero length to mimic stepping in place. You can also specify your preferred step height.

exercises that allow you to set your own pace
Image via Amazon


For a walking routine, recalibrate the length of stride so that the foot pedals will move the necessary distance to match your natural walking pace.

When you set the machine for a medium-length stride, you simulate jogging.

A long stride is for running.

You can make your alternative motion workout more challenging by increasing the resistance setting.

The better the machine, the more smoothly it cooperates with the way your body moves. If you’re looking for a low-impact workout that still can test your resolve, consider alternative motion.

Alternative Motion Machines Are Packed with Features

The digital display that you’re used to seeing on treadmills and other workout stations is also available on an alternative motion machine. Expect an easy-to-read touch-screen display and videos of various exercise routes.

At a glance, you can know your speed, time elapsed and calories burned.  A chest-strap monitor will give you your heart rate.

Alternative motion machines easily connect to a computer or the internet. Other standard features include holders for your tablet and water bottle along with audio speakers.

There are several available brands of alternative motion machines, but there are two in particular that you are likely to encounter — the Nordic Track FreeStride Trainer FS7i and the Octane Fitness Zero Runner.

Nordic Track FreeStride Trainer FS7i

The FS7i bears a strong resemblance to an elliptical machine but is much more versatile. The manufacturer describes the low-impact workout on the trainer as giving the sensation of floating on air.

You can adjust the length of your stride up to 38 inches. That’s why it’s called Freestride. You can take the length of stride you prefer. You can also change your stride length as you please. You no longer need to take awkward size steps to accommodate the demands of a machine.

You adjust the stride length merely by using the machine. The FS7i changes to match your gait.

The stride height is not adjustable. Instead, to present you with various levels of difficulty, the FS7i can be set to an incline of up to 10%.

The Nordic trainer comes with 35 built-in apps. You can also go online to enhance your exercise by downloading a customized workout.

Additionally, iFit technology allows you to connect with a Google Maps exercise app. Choose your virtual route then run that course as your FS7i changes automatically to give you the feel of the terrain.

Octane Fitness Zero Runner

octane fitness zero runner
Image via Treadmill Reviews

The Zero Runner is a high-end trainer that offers a stride length of up to 58 inches. That’s excellent news for tall people.

Its design makes for a smooth, natural running pace. That explains its name. It was designed to offer not just low-impact but zero-impact to joints. It even features especially lightweight foot pedals.

The zero-impact feature makes it ideal for those undergoing rehabilitation sessions and those who are injury-prone.

Its Gait Analysis alerts you if you’re not keeping pace or moving incorrectly.

The Zero Runner is equipped with Bluetooth to keep up with data and for access to workout programs.

A bonus feature of the Zero Runner is its zero-impact technology results in the machine being extremely quiet.

Give Alternative Motion Machines a Try

Using an alternative motion machine is simple, but it takes a while to get used to the way it feels. Be patient. Give yourself time to adapt. You may never want to return to the pounding your knees and feet took on city sidewalks.

Why risk injury with traditional workout routines when you can get the full benefit of a cardio program without the pain?



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