Saturday, February 04, 2012

Elliptical machine, Schwinn A40.

Because of the sports hernia, I’m not going to run for a few days, or perhaps I’ll do a walk/run with only a little running. Today I’m glad that we invested in this little elliptical machine, the Schwinn A40. I’ve used it now enough to appreciate it’s features and failings.


  • It has enough resistance for me and is comfortable enough to use.
  • I believe the calorie count - it compares well with other ellipticals and with my running.
  • The “distance” display shows a value that is fairly consistent with the calorie count.
  • It’s one of the least expensive elliptical machines, at $330, yet it is quite sturdy.
  • The display is very hard to read. Even in a lighted room I need a flashlight, and I’ve attached one with Velcro, but it’s awkward to use.
  • The machine makes some squeaking and clicking noises. They’re not so bad that they interfere with listening to TV, however, and might be less if the machine were on a more-stable floor.
  • The little battery-powered fan, aimed at the face, is laughable. There is no breeze.
The unit is powered by ‘D’ batteries, and an optional AC power supply is available. The batteries seem to last for a while, so we haven’t looked for a power supply.

The A40 has several different programs, but I have so far only used it on “quick start” and simply set the resistance to maximum. At that setting, the user burns 13 to 14 calories per minute at a turnover of about 70 RPM. A stronger person can run it faster, but might also prefer an elliptical with higher resistance. Oddly, it doesn’t develop the maximum resistance immediately when started and set - the resistance doesn’t build up until several seconds have passed.

Today I ran the elliptical. Time: 30:03, calories: 433, distance: 3.39 miles, speed 6.8 mph. I care about the time and the calories - the rest of the information is a curiosity. I forgot to write down the average turnover rate, but I think it was 68 or 69 RPM. More interesting is my own breathing rate, which indicated a strong aerobic pace, comparable to running at a near-race pace.

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