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If one-stop fitness is your goal, consider the increasingly popular ski machine. Since you move both your arms and legs when using ski machines, they provide an excellent all-over workout.
Designed to simulate cross-country skiing, ski machines use either a rope and pulley system or swiveling poles to mimic the movement of traditional ski poles. In place of skis, ski machines have long, narrow boards or foot pads that glide on rollers. The machine's goal is to provide a non-impact workout that goes easy on the joints and feels just like skiing.
Cross-country skiing is often touted as one of the best forms of exercise. That's because it provides a total workout minus heavy impact. The poling motion builds all-over upper body strength, while leg movement builds the leg muscles and tones the lower back. The benefits of cross-country skiing come from repetitive movement with minimal resistance. A good ski machine will do all this for you.
Which type is right for you?
You can buy machines with either independent or dependent leg motion. Independents use unlinked skis, which can be hard for novices to use. But they provide a more intense workout since you use a more natural leg motion that simulates actual skiing. Dependent models have linked skis so that when one foot slides forward, the other automatically slides back, and vice versa. These machines can help beginners from sliding their legs too far, but they also can force a stiff shuffle movement.