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The Cardio Twister - Let's Twist Again!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 Posted by Travis Saunders

It is amazing how many fitness products are based on simple stepping machines.  What's even more amazing, is that each and every one claims to be an "amazing breakthrough" which will change your body - and your life - forever.  Earlier this year I reviewed the Air Climber ("one of the biggest breakthroughs in exercise technology"), which is essentially a regular stepping machine that uses "Air Power Technology" (aka "air") to provide resistance, rather than the hydrolic pistons which provide resistance on most commercial stepping machines.  The machine is promoted by self-proclaimed "International Fitness Expert" and former American Aerobics Champion Brenda Dygraf.  Despite being hailed as "one of the most effective weight loss and body shaping programs ever" by the Air Climber promotional video, Brenda hasn't rested on her Air Climber laurels.  Thankfully, she is now promoting the even more advanced Cardio Twister stepping machine.

Like the Air Climber, the Cardio Twister is also essentially a stepping machine.  But, instead of stepping straight up and down, you step up and down and from side to side.  The stepper also has handlebars that move from side-to-side as you step, which they claim works your core and upper body as well as your legs, providing you with the ever-elusive whole body workout (if only walking, running, rollerblading, swimming, or any other free activity engaged both the upper and lower body!).  The Cardio Twister is a bit hard to describe, so for a better idea of how this "exercise breakthrough" works, I've embedded the promotional video below (email subscribers will have to visit the Obesity Panacea site to view the video).

Like the Air Climber, the Cardio Twister makes lofty claims (in fact, the websites for the two products are nearly identical, although the testimonials are unique for each product).  The Cardio Twister website suggests that you can use the Cardio Twister to "Lose 10 pounds or 10 inches in 10 days!", although they provide no information on how this is possible (or healthy) and the fine print is less enthusiastic - "Your results may vary.  You may be less successful".  They also claim that the moving handlebars keep your body in the "ideal workout position" for toning your abs, arms, chest and back.  Which is surprising, since the handlebars are actually moved by the motion of the steps, and not by your upper body.  Somehow your arms, chest, and back muscles are being sculpted by merely twisting your upper body back and forth!  That's a bit like dancing to The Twist as a way to define your arm and chest muscles!  Somehow that seems less than ideal.

Exercise and weight loss gimmicks products tend to fall into two general categories - those that are at least plausible, and those that are completely insane. Like the Air Climber, The Cardio Twister could produce fitness benefits, placing it in the former category. However, like any other stepper, rowing machine, or thigh master, I think that very few people are going to enjoy this product enough over the long-term for it to have a lasting impact on their health and longevity.  And at a retail price of $159.80, I think we should expect more from something touting itself as an exercise breakthrough.  Especially when the health benefits of free activities like walking and cycling are so well-established.

For more information on the Cardio Twister, you can visit their website here.


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We are PhD students in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Our research focuses on the relationships between obesity, physical activity, and health risk. This blog is our attempt to consider the many "cures" for obesity that we read about on a daily basis. Enjoy.


The opinions expressed here belong only to Peter and Travis and do not reflect the views of any organization. Any medical discussion on this page is intended to be of a general nature only. This page is not designed to give specific medical advice. If you have a medical problem you should consult your own physician for advice specific to your own situation.

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