Linda Abbott-Simons was finishing up on her usual run when she first saw it. She had to stop and do a double-take.
“I just gave it a second look and thought ‘What is it?’” she said, wondering about the unusual contraption she saw a man driving on the streets of California.
It looked like a bike, but not quite. After Googling it and bumping into the man with the mystery machine a second time, she found out what it was.
It was a StreetStrider, an elliptical machine on wheels. You can move the wheels forward by stepping on the elliptical platform or by moving the levers with your arms.
The man couldn’t say enough good things about it, said Simons. “He said ‘It’s like my gym membership but I get to be outdoors.’”
“The one thing that’s different and unique is the turning. To turn, you lean,” said Simons. She said it would take people at most two minutes to master this technique.
StreetStrider was invented by Dr. David Kraus, a professor at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, as a type of fitness equipment that allows people to enjoy the benefits of an elliptical machine outdoors.
“There’s a lot of great fitness equipment out there, but the bottom line is what people use and enjoy,” said Simons. The reason why striding works is because it makes workouts fun, she explained. In fact, although she considers herself a diehard runner, she likes striding so much that she couldn’t decide which is better.
Luckily, she doesn’t have to choose because they work great in tandem. “I’m a long distance runner. If I’m training for a 50 kilometre trail race this summer, I use it as an active recovery piece of equipment. So if I do a four-hour run today, in order to get the lactic acid out of my system, I will use a StreetStrider either that same day or the next day as an active recovery.”
According to Simons, running burns four calories per minute while striding burns between nine and 17 calories per minute.
Because StreetStrider is both a low impact exercise and high calorie burner, it’s suitable for everyone. As the official Canadian distributor of StreetStrider, she has shipped the product to people of varying ages and fitness level—from a 62-year-old woman to a young rugby player and body builder.
It was also featured and endorsed by the contestants of the famous reality show The Biggest Loser.
Some people use it as a form of transportation instead of a bike. Simons says that the speed depends on the user’s fitness level and the incline of the road. “Where I live is very hilly. I probably average 25 km/h.”
There are a couple of things to consider before buying. StreetStrider’s introductory price is $1,699 while the suggested retail price is $1,999. It is also bulky even though it does fold and can be carried on a roof rack.
“Sometimes, with our busy lives, we don’t have enough time (to exercise),” said Simons. “With the StreetStrider, you can get an amazing cardiovascular resistant muscle workout in 15 minutes. Because it’s low impact, you can do it day after day and you can get great results in a very short period of time.”
StreetStrider is available both online at www.streetstrider.ca and in Physique Fitness in Kamloops.