Everyone knows the problem that can be caused to joints by running on hard surfaces like concrete and tarmac. And the health benefits of cycling are well-documented. Well now there is a product that enables you to emulate running outdoors without the impact problems on knees and other joints.

It is called the elliptical cycle and it works on your fitness on the same basis as the cross training equipment in your local gym. The difference is that this piece of kit can move around and is ridden and manoeuvred like a bike with gears, brakes and handlebars. It is not a difficult skill to master either; the main difference being that you are standing as you ride.

The upper design is like a cross trainer with paddles rather than pedals for propulsion but the lower part looks more like a bike with two small wheels at the front and a larger one at the rear. It will give you a full body workout while you are using it, providing good cardiovascular exercise and weight-reducing properties.  Plus you get the benefit of being outdoors and getting fresh air and sunshine (when it comes!).

These elliptical cycles seem to be suitable for a wide range of different training activities and levels. Apparently some Olympic runners are already using them to train, but it is also suitable for those who just want to keep their fitness levels up without risking impact injuries – and  while enjoying an outdoor exercise regime. The way it works actually combines the fitness benefits of running, cycling and cross training in one piece of equipment.

The bike doesn’t travel as quickly as a conventional cycle with around 15mph as the average speed – but the workout value is much higher with tests showing that using the elliptical model burns 30% more calories than traditional cycling activity. The main downside at the moment is cost. As this is a new innovation it retails at a high price and will probably be beyond all but enthusiasts for a while -until it becomes popular and the price starts to fall. But it is worth bearing in mind for the future. If you prefer outdoor training but worry about the effects on your body, this could well be the solution. In the meantime keep a lookout for possible rentals through bikeshops or fitness centres. Then you can try before you buy.

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