If I was ever in doubt about the validity of climbing stairs as an effective type of exercise, a visit to Prague in the Czech Republic back in my university days put an end to those doubts once and for all. A medieval tower in the city featured a long, spiral, stone staircase designed long before ergonomics had been studied or applied to architecture.
I was physically fit then, as I am now, but by the time I reached the tower roof, after ascending those tall, deep stone steps, I was exhausted, and felt respect for the iron-hard fitness of the guardsmen who climbed those stairs every day of their lives.
Climbing in style: the Lifespan Fitness EL3000i Elliptical Trainer, by Rhian Hunt
On a much more civilized and controlled scale, the elliptical trainer mimics stair-climbing in an exercise machine format. Hauling yourself up a set of grim stone steps in a 14th century fortress is unnecessary in the modern world, where the latest in exercise technology brings the ability to climb stairs to the comfort and convenience of your livingroom, bedroom, or exercise room. The smooth climbing motion of the elliptical trainer – which also mimics certain aspects of bicycling and walking – builds your muscles, burns fat, and increases cardiac health.
Many different elliptical trainers are available on the market today, each offering a set of features and the possibility of toning yourself, building health, and burning calories efficiently. Among these, one of the most feature-rich current models is the Lifespan Fitness EL3000i Elliptical Trainer, a machine which will not only set you on the road to better health, but do so in style and with a large amount of useful feedback information with which to judge your progress.
Basic Features of the Lifespan EL3000i
The EL3000i Elliptical Trainer is a sturdily built elliptical made out of heavy-duty metal tubing with padded handgrips and gel pads in the pedals. The machine is made to be relatively compact, meaning that it can be placed in many spaces in the house. It is 62" long, 28" wide, and 61" high. The main exercise component is a 24-pound flywheel. The device requires about an hour to construct, part of which is bolt and screw assembly, and part of which is snap-together.
The climbing/walking pedals are, of course, the core of the system, and include a number of features which showed me that a lot of thought and planning went into the design of the Lifespan EL3000i Elliptical Trainer. One interesting detail is the inclusion of gel pads in each foot pedal, mounted beneath the heel. The motion of the elliptical trainer is already intended to be smooth, with low impacts on the joints and spine, but the gel pad under heel will ensure that even a rigorous workout remains gentle on even the hips, knees, and other joints.
The pedals of the Lifespan Fitness EL3000i are mounted only 2.5" apart, allowing the user to keep their legs close together in a natural pose, and the 20" stride and 8" rise that they provide fits the combined walking and climbing motion of the EL3000i comfortably to most people’s natural pace. Exceptionally short and exceptionally tall users may find the stride and rise combination to be slightly inconvenient at first, but this should not be a problem for most.
The moveable handlebars converge as they are thrust forward, mimicking the natural course of the human arm as it swings back and forth, allowing upper-body exercise to be both effective and ergonomically convenient. One user, David, from Washington state, reported that the “arm motion … feels very natural compared to [the] pushing/pulling motion of the other units,” an assessment which other users generally agree with.
The resistance of the flywheel, which is provided magnetically, can be adjusted by the user as well. The operation of the machine is very quiet, meaning that television, a movie, or music can be enjoyed while working out, or exercise can be carried out while others in the home are asleep without disturbing them.
The El3000i comes with several different warranties. The frame has a lifetime warranty, attesting to the sturdiness which some users comment on, while parts have a 3-year warranty and labor has a one-year warranty. This indicates that the user can likely count on at least three to four years of trouble-free operation, and probably longer with average levels of use.
Information at Your Fingertips: The Lifespan EL3000i Elliptical Trainer’s Monitor
Besides these basic features, the Lifespan EL3000i Elliptical Trainer also includes a state-of-the-art monitor, mounted frontally between the handlebars where the user can easily see and track the statistics of their workout. This monitor includes both easy-to-read, color-coded readouts and a full range of soft-touch controls allowing you to change your workout in detail without stopping to reprogram the machine. The statistics displayed are heart rate (using either handgrips or an included belt monitor, which is probably the more accurate of the two), calories burned, resistance level, speed, total number of steps taken, and total distance.
The Lifespan Fitness EL3000i Elliptical also includes a wide range of different pre-programmed exercise programs – five for weight-loss, such as the Cardio Run or the Uphill Walk; five for healthy living, including the Pyramid Climb and the Ladder; seven for sports training; and several which the user can program themselves. All of the programmed workouts can be adjusted to some extent, including resistance levels.
Finally, the electronics of the Fitness EL3000i allow you to use the Heart Rate Control mode – in which the machine will monitor your heart rate, compare that to a target heart rate you have set, and increase or decrease resistance to keep your heart beating at the desired speed during your exercise session.
Another Excellent Feature – The Lifespan Fitness Club
It’s often the attention to detail that, in my opinion, changes a good product into a great one. The willingness of a product’s creator to include a little something extra to make the product more useful, more versatile, or more fun indicates a quality-oriented design philosophy that speaks highly of the rest of the design features as well. In the case of the Lifespan Fitness EL3000i Elliptical Trainer, this extra detail comes in the form of a membership in the online Lifespan Fitness Club, in which the purchaser is automatically enrolled for free.
There is a USB port on the EL3000i’s console, into which a “thumb drive” fits. This drive records your exercise data, and you can then plug it into one of your computer’s USB ports and upload your exercise statistics to your own page on the Lifespan Fitness Club website. This allows you to track your progress over time, share your workout data with your doctor or family, and gives you many interesting facts about your exercise regimen.
What Others are Saying about the Lifespan EL3000i
Besides many plaudits from satisfied customers, TreadmillDoctor.com rates the Lifespan Fitness EL3000i Elliptical Trainer as a second runner up in the Best New Elliptical category. Treadmill Doctor also describes the EL3000i as “a good value for the money” and a “solid value.”
Where Can You Buy the Lifespan Fitness EL3000i Trainer?
For a combination of good price, excellent service, and reliability, the buyer can probably not do better than Amazon.