Ellipticals That Excel

What's one of the most popular New Year's Resolutions? Losing weight. And exercising with an elliptical machine is a good way to do it.

Consumer Reports tested ellipticals to see which can keep you fit without breaking another frequent New Year's resolution-saving money.

Lots of people at this gym like the advantages of working out on an elliptical machine.

"It's weigh bearing but non-impact, so it save their joints, their knees feel good, their hips feel good, it's easier on the back, and it also provides an upper-body workout as well as a lower-body workout," said Declan Foley, a trainer.

Consumer Reports just tested more than a dozen elliptical machines designed for home use, ranging in price from $600-$3700.

A device measures how hard you have to pedal at various resistance levels.

Some machines require a lot more force than others. Other differences-

"The more expensive machines usually come with a sturdier framework and some additional features, although we did find some bargains." said Peter Anzalone of Consumer Reports.

Important features are a clear display and easy-to-use controls, as well as a heart-rate monitor.

Testers say chest-strap monitors are best.The strap sends information to the machine wirelessly.

But realize ellipticals can take up a lot of space.

With this Stamina Avari, you need more than eight feet!

If you're looking to splurge on a top-of-the-line machine, this Diamondback was top-rated.

It costs $2600.

For a lot less, this NordicTrack AudioStrider 990 is a Best Buy at $900.

It's not compatible with a chest-strap heart-rate monitor, but it has other nice features like an incline you can adjust electronically.

"Whichever machine you buy, you want to feel comfortable on it. You want to make sure your knees don't bump into the moving hand grips or the framework. And you want to make sure that you're not forced into a forward-or rearward-leaning position," said Anzalone.

When you buy an elliptical machine, you're often urged to buy an extended warranty.

But don't bother.

Research from the Consumer Reports National Research Center has found the machines are not likely to break during the period covered by the extended warranty.

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