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My V-Fit Gravity Strider is located in my spare room. I come across it regularly when I need to get into the cupboard either to retrieve stuff in said cupboard or for access to the loft (now that's a fun exercise in agility), but use it very irregularly!
Earlier in the year I was contemplating selling up and moving nearer to work, and as a result had a bit of a mammoth throwing out session. Thankfully (in the light of having now been made redundant) I didn't move. Anyway, the point is that as I tidied I was left assessing the future of my V-Fit Gravity Strider. The fact of the matter is that I rarely use it, and it takes up space (although admittedly not a great deal when it's folded) and is a pain to move. However, I decided that our future remained together because it is heavy and not easy to destroy, and trying to find someone to buy it (and obviously pick it up from where I live) would probably not result in much success. However, my main reason was that it did cost a lot of money (and if I were to sell it I imagine I'd not get much at all especially as there is a bit of wear and tear), and I felt that I should at least think about getting some more use out of it. And, now that I've decided to write a review of it, that's just an added bonus.
---Why I bought it and what it costs---
The years have got so blurred that I struggle to remember if I bought the gravity strider before or after my ex and I had our brief affair with the gym, but it was at least 5 years ago. One way or another, I was quite a bit overweight at the time and bought this along with a V-Fit mini trampoline, and Reebok stepper (both much cheaper pieces of equipment) in an attempt to lose some weight and get fit. I can't say that it worked, although who knows, if I hadn't have used it, I might have put on weight even more quickly than I already was.
It is currently available from Argos for £159.99 (which is where I bought it - I can't remember what I paid, but think it was considerably less than that even taking inflation into account - I could be wrong though). It can currently be bought from Amazon for £111.55. I suppose the fact that the equipment is still on sale (and at a higher price than I remember paying) suggests that there is still a market for this model, so hopefully my review will be of some use.
---Setting up, specifications and other stuff---
The product specs say that assembly of the product will take 2 people approximately 1.5hours. I really cannot remember since it was so long ago, but I can't remember there being any major problems or arguments with the ex.
The V-Fit Gravity Strider is described as a cross-trainer, but it isn't a normal cross-trainer and is far less strenuous to use. Basically there are two pads/pedals that you place your feet on and then you glide backwards and forwards - it's quite a weird experience at first.
This equipment is designed for improving cardiovascular fitness, and toning upper and lower body. It is NOT for building muscles (there is a warning label on the machine which says this). Mind you I do find it's a good muscle building exercise moving the Gravity Strider around (it weighs 24 kg my research would suggest), although be careful, as it really hurts if you put it down on your toe or if you get your fingers caught between the legs and the main frame. There is actually a label on the machine saying "Take A Stroll Gravity Strider" - this highlights the gentle nature of the exercise (and also gave me the inspiration for the title of this review).
The specifications describe "an E-z resistance system, ensuring safe, variable exercise" and "Magnetic resistance system" - this all sounds very exciting. It isn't really! You can adjust the tension control knobs which makes it easier or harder to move the pedals. There is a warning not to over tighten. Personally I think it would be better if you could make it a bit tighter. I tend to have it on the tightest setting, which basically just means it's a lot harder to go 'faster', and it also means you have more control over the machine. If you have them looser and therefore are moving more quickly, sometimes the feet of the stand come off the ground.
The maximum user weight is 120kg (18st13lb), but personally I'd advise caution in those who are creeping up to that maximum. As a 'normal-sized' woman it is fine for me, but I imagine that for women with very big hips, or for larger men, it might not be suitable. The dimensions of the strider are H112, W79.5, D79cm. It is predominantly silver in colour as the main frame is made of steel. The handles, and other bits (including wheels on bottom of frame, which should in theory make it easy to move around but don't in reality) are black. The handles are soft and foam padded, which make it comfortable to hold onto, even if you're getting hot.
The strider includes (as described in the blurb) "a 5- function monitor that provides feedback on calories burnt, scan, strides, time and total strides modes". The battery is included, and I have to say it must be a good battery as I don't recall changing it. I find this actually works pretty well (although it can be slightly awkward to read), better than it does on some piece of equipment. If you leave it a for a little bit (to change CD, take jumper off or whatever) it pauses, and then resumes when you start working again, after a longer break the screen goes off and it resets.
---Using the Gravity Strider---
There are two ways to use the Gravity Strider. Either with just your feet (which is of course more exercise for your legs) and holding onto the frame (or not bothering), or holding onto the handles which works out your arms and legs. You therefore have some control over whether you are wanting to work more on toning your arms or legs.
Some reviews say that it's no good for people with small feet as they keep slipping on the plates. My feet are a very average size 6 - they tend to slip if I am using it with no shoes on, but with trainers they only very gradually slide down the plates, so I don't frequently have to move them. Having read other reviews I would suggest that those with smaller feet should somehow test the product before parting with their cash, or just returning it if it doesn't suit.
For review purposes, I will now go and use it for 15 minutes.......And I'm back. In that time is says that I have gone 1077 strides, burnt off 53.8 Kcal, and travelled 1.72 (kilometres perhaps?) My speed whilst using the machine tends to be either 6 or 7. Even if I'm going pretty vigorously I'm still only going at 7. I have no idea how accurate the calorie guide is (although obviously this does depend on many factors such as your weight), but as a guide it does sound feasible.
The exercise is described as low-impact, and you can even read a book while you're doing it, if you're careful not to fall off and if your trainers have a good grip. In fact, while I was doing my 15 minute test I texted by boyfriend 3 times (which you couldn't do easily whilst on other exercise equipment). So perhaps had I not been doing that I would have burnt off a few more calories as it will have slowed me down. Although I didn't work up a sweat, after less than 10 minutes I was ready to take off my jumper (it's been cold today). I think that this will be useful for me when the days get colder, as rather than putting on the heating, I might be encouraged to first try doing a bit of exercise to warm me up!
As I write this review it's now the next day, and for review writing purposes I will go and spend 30 minutes on the Gravity Strider. This time I made sure to work a bit more vigorously (no texting the boyfriend) and even got the speed up to 9 at one point. Overall I burnt off (according to the monitor) 117.9 calories in the half hour. Although again I didn't become very hot and sweaty, I did feel that I was exercising, and I could definitely feel it doing some good to my thighs (which quite frankly do need a bit of toning!)
One of the good things about the Gravity Strider is that compared to some other exercise equipment, it is very quiet. My Reebok stepper squeaks terribly no matter how much I oil it, and obviously my mini trampoline is not quiet. The Gravity Strider would be great to use while watching the TV. Unfortunately, there isn't really space in my living room for it (and I don't have a TV elsewhere) and it's definitely not safe or practical to be carrying it up and down the stairs frequently. So, as result all I can do is listen to music. I think that if it was in front of the TV I'd be encouraged to use it more.
The V-Fit Gravity Strider is said to be good exercise for those with knee, hip and back problems - although OBVIOUSLY consult your doctor first if you are planning to exercise to see if it's suitable. It's also quite nice when being overweight I remember (and don't want to go back there) as unlike jogging you don't have your flab jiggling up and down! When I used this regularly I was normally on it for half an hour at a time, but have been known to spend an hour on it (but without a TV to watch it does get a bit boring).
---Broken pedal and wear and tear ---
Thankfully the Gravity Strider came with a 12 month warranty as about 6 months into my 'exercise' regime, one of the pedals snapped. I took the pedal into Argos, and they replaced it immediately (although didn't seem too happy about it as they had to take a pedal out - in fact they gave me both pedals - of another Gravity Strider's Box which they'll have then needed to send back) which was good. The replacement pedal hasn't broken, but then I haven't used it that much since, so I'm unsure if this was just a one off problem, or if it's a regular occurrence. Although I was overweight, I was nowhere near the maximum user weight - I think it was probably just one of those things. Otherwise my Gravity Strider remains in good condition, and the handles show no signs of wear and tear - there is a small crack at the bottom of the frame, but don't think this is going to be a problem.
If you have money to spare and space to fill, and want a simple low-impact exercise machine, then the Gravity Strider is for you. To be honest though while I can see the pros for those who have problems with their knees and the like, I feel that realistically speaking it's probably not much better than going for a brisk walk (as said, it says on it "Take a Stroll Gravity Strider") and you won't get the fresh air that goes with being outside. However, it is a way of exercising when the weather is too bad to go out (and we have a lot of that up here) or you simply don't want to leave the house.
For me I don't think it was a particularly worthwhile investment, but then not a particularly bad one either and I don't regret the purchase. One good thing is that writing this review has made me use the machine again (a review that gets me fit - bonus!) and inspired me to at least think about using it a bit more, especially as winter approaches.
3 out of 5