As I’ve written about extensively here before, I’m a novice in the fitness world. It’s difficult for me to find the enthusiasm for it—any of it—and this time of year, it’s even harder to summon the strength to carve out time for it on any given day, even though I absolutely could fit it into my schedule. So when I had the chance to test out the LifePro FlexStride Plus pedal exerciser, I was excited. An elliptical-slash-bike machine that can keep me active while watching TV or, dare I say, at my desk during the day? I’m in.
But right out of the box, the FlexStride Plus gave me trouble. I didn’t anticipate how much assembly would be required (not a ton, but enough to be a surprise), and I wasn’t exactly prepared for it. The instruction booklet said “5 minutes,” which I would come to learn was more of a reference to how long it would take you to read it than to actually put it together. Because even with the included tools, it was ... difficult. I was struggling from minute one. The booklet said the pedals were labeled L and R for clarity; I thought mine weren’t, so I followed the manual. Turns out, they were labeled. But the labels didn’t match up with the diagram. So I took a frustration break.
After that, I finished putting it together pretty easily, as I’d worked out the tricks. The AAA batteries for the monitor are included, which is a nice touch, and the resistance knob works like a charm. The knob is clearly labeled, and actually provides the resistance (or lack thereof) that it says it does. My FlexStride also came with resistance bands and an adjustable strap, as well as suggestions for how to incorporate them for more challenging workouts. There was an exercise mat too. I was pleasantly surprised by these extras, and sufficiently distracted from figuring out exactly how the machine works in the first place.
Once I got back on track, though, I ended up actually enjoying it. The pedals were a little stiff at first, and I admit I’m still not totally sure I’m using it right. (Are they on backward? I truly can’t say.) But the exercise it provides is the right amount of challenging, and doesn’t require too much focus to accomplish. The monitor display is pretty rudimentary, so if you’re big on tech-y fitness stuff, it’s probably not the thing for you. But if a screen that can toggle between distance, RPM, time used, estimated calories burned (and more) is enough to satisfy you, then you may want to reconsider it. The screen will turn on and off automatically—like just start pedaling, or stop for a while—and the exerciser’s carrying handle makes it easy to pick up and put down wherever it is you want to use it.
While it’s not, you know, life-changing, it’s a nice thing to have around for someone like me. I can totally see myself making it a regular part of TV or work time to sneak fitness into the day. Just remember to actually stretch your legs first (my bad) and don’t try it without sneakers on (oops).