Sunday, September 2, 2012

V-fit air-walker (free-walker/free-glider) review

air walker by vfit
air walker by V-fit
V-fit air-walker/free-walker/free-glider exercise machine

Update : Don't buy this. It is like floating on air. Hardly a calorie burnt. Next to useless.

Conclusion : Nice quiet affordable low-impact aerobic workout and foldable for storage but takes a bit too much time to work up a sweat, can't increase the difficulty, and storage position is a bit precarious
Overall Score : 6/10
Score per cost : 7/10

Knowledge of product : novice,minimal
Price at time of purchase : £79 ($125) from Amazon UK including delivery

Looking to lose a bit of weight with some low-impact aerobic exercise I can do anytime in the house. Priorities were price, quietness, storage and keeping it interesting. I had not heard of air-walkers/free-walkers/free-gliders until I started searching for suitable equipment. The obvious options was an elliptical machine or, for example, a stair-stepper, but then I noticed an air-glider and this seemed the nearest to my needs.

Pros :
It enables you to 'air-walk' in the house with no noise (if the squeaks are greased out).
A low impact aerobic workout
Folds away for storage
Relatively cheap
Pretty sturdy quality (should be long-lasting, I hope)

Cons :
Workout seems a bit too easy. Need to do a lot to work up a sweat if you are fit.
Storage position is quite precarious (mine is anyway). Only gravity is holding it up.
Folding away can be precarious too (the foot pedals can fall at anytime)
Can squeak but so far managed to erase them (book recommends lithium/silicone grease. Moving Parts come pre-lubed)
No way to make the workout resistance harder
A few teething problems with bolts in moving parts working slightly loose and electronic counter moving around on the bar but hoping these will 'settle down'
A bit awkward to assemble (2 people best but you can cope alone)
Instruction book assembly was thorough (in their opinion) but pretty hard to follow and I am not sure construction was in the best order.

Included :
V-fit air-walker
Electronic counter
Plastic juice container and holder (meant to be fixed to air-glider)
3 tools to assemble
Instruction booklet

Purpose :
You 'walk' on the footplates while holding the bars (a bit like ski-ing on the spot on a flat surface). The hand and leg bars are joined as one. Intemded as a low-impact aerobic workout machine in the house. It also gives you a good 'range of motion' workout.

Quality :
For the price, the free-walker seems very good quality to me. It's pretty sturdy and seems designed to take the strain. All the parts seem capable. But the workout itself is too easy.

Assembly :
The V-fit free-glider comes with a book with assembly, maintenance and exercise instructions. Assembling (and understanding the instructions) was awkward but after a while should be figured out. I am not sure the order of assembly is best. I had difficulty putting the green bar in last. I would probably try and put that in before joining both sides the next time. My electronic counter seems to move with the bar too, though it is 'settling down' now. At the moment I don't have the leads in to the electronic counter in case it moves and rips the leads off.

Use :
Once I got used to the air-walker I found it pretty addictive but now have grown bored with it. The first week bolts at the moving parts tended to loosen so be careful about that. The electronic counter also moved with the green bar so I undid the cable leads to it. It tells you only to do a walking style on the air-walker but I do all sorts of things that are probably 'dangerous' (such as leaning back and forward and rocking). It's pretty sturdy so no accidents so far.

Storage :
The V-fit free-glider is foldable for storage, though the storage position is a bit precarious (mine is anyhow). There seems to be no locking devices to keep it safely in position and it could fall down at anytime. The footplates fold upright but can fall forward anytime (one cut on my knee so far) so I usually have the footplates set against the wall. The booklet shows a way of moving the folded air-glider (like a wheelbarrow) but I find this instruction to be impossible to act out. Even when folded it takes up a bit of space. You will need to lean it against a wall

Safety in use :
I have read some of the Amazon comments on similar air-gliders, with one saying how a footplate cable snapped. Others say their feet move around on the plate which is dangerous. So far I seem to be ok on the plate though the footplates do not have a 'wall' around them to keep your feet safely in place, so I can see how slipping off could happen. It has a 'wall' at the front of the footplate and dimples on the plates which I guess give some grip. I have been 'rocking' to the max with no accident so far, including motions that are probably dangerous. So far I have been using it on carpet and it seems stable (it leaves marks which I presume will fade). I understand it should not move on other surfaces too but haven't tried yet. The 'feet' for the sidebars leave marks on the carpet, so probably best to protect your carpet in some way (a mat ?).

Side support cables issue : When I unfold the machine for use, I need to be careful that the side support cables (not the footplate cables) are not caught inside the tube and can be fully extended. One time one of the side cables was 'caught' inside the tube and then suddenly uncaught during exercise, making the machine shudder and could have caused an accident or damage if it had snapped. It looks like this may have been caught inside the tube a while and it has caused some minor damage to the cable which then may snap over time.

Conclusion :
A good price for a quiet low-impact workout machine in the house with no noise but it's too easy whcich sort of defeats the purpose. I would have preferred if the hands and legs worked separately (i.e. bar not being joined) and the ability to increase the resistance. I have mixed feelings since it is foldable and quiet but the 'ease' of the exercise is disappointing. Probably will take a lot to shake off calories. 

Links :
UK Amazon : V-Fit Air Walker
Amazon UK fitness section

USA Amazon - Air-walker similar to V-fit brand
Amazon USA : Exercise & Fitness section

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