This device was first introduced in the 1990s and has developed a reputation for being a great method of minimal-impact cardiovascular exercise. It allows for both light or high intensity based on speed and resistance levels. Many elliptical machines include ski-like levers for your feet and long poles for your hands that allow your arms to work in conjunction with your leg movements to push and pull. They are designed to work for people of all heights and sizes — you just adjust where you hold your grip on the poles based on your height, and off you go.
Cardio is key. To all the exercises doing good cardio is eminent. Elliptical machines can be friendly to what you think good for cardio can do. Ellipticals offer the benefit of a low-impact workout while exercising both your upper and lower body. They are particularly appealing to an aging baby boomer generation. Elliptical can be forgiving to aging joints while giving you a good aerobic workout and helping you burn calories for weight loss. Researchers have found that training on the elliptical improves fitness just as efficiently as using a StairMaster. They discovered this back in 2004, yet the lazy-machine myth lingers. Newer research has found that the elliptical reduces the load on your joints compared to other high-impact activities like running on a treadmill. An elliptical is a great option for those seeking a low-impact workout with great cardio benefits.
Why Elliptical Machines
An elliptical machine or cross-trainer (also called an X-trainer) is a stationary exercise machine used to simulate stair climbing, walking, or running without causing excessive pressure to the joints, hence decreasing the risk of impact injuries. For this reason, people with some injuries can use an elliptical to stay fit, as the low impact affects them little. Elliptical trainers offer a non-impact cardiovascular workout that can vary from light to high intensity based on the speed of the exercise and the resistance preference set by the user.
How To Use Elliptical
There is always a right and wrong way to do exercises. Elliptical imbibes the same. With the correct use of the Elliptical Machine your workouts can be electrifying. A 20 minute elliptical can be as effective given your intentions for the workout. Power is shared between the upper and lower body on the elliptical. For the most effective workout, actively push and pull the levers while maintaining an upright posture, keeping your shoulders pulled back and your abs engaged — otherwise your arms are just along for the ride.
Don’ts in an Elliptical
But slouching forward will simply make the workout feel easier, so it’s not doing you any favors. Slouching puts a lot of unwanted pressure on the lower back—something you always want to avoid when working out. Maintaining the same monotonous pace won’t get you very far if your goal is to lose weight. The most common mistake is leaning on the static handles, an easy trap when you’re tired. If you always use the stationary handles your body doesn’t need to work as hard and you burn fewer calories. Another bad habit is letting your arms hang at your side, again you’re cheating yourself by not doing the extra motion and this can also cause your balance to be off.
Benefits of the Elliptical
Ellipticals offer the benefit of a low-impact workout while exercising both your upper and lower body. Elliptical trainers can be forgiving to aging joints while giving you a good aerobic workout and helping you burn calories for weight loss.
Diversifying your elliptical workout will keep your body in top shape — plus, it’s more fun! Your routine:
- Do 5-minute intervals, increasing the resistance each time.
- Start and stay with a steady pace — the base pace rate — and increase the machine’s incline/decline setting.
- Move at base pace for 2 minutes, then double the speed for 2 minutes (keeping the incline steady) and recover for 1 minute. Repeat this pattern as many times as desired.
In comparison to a fitness machine like a stationary bicycle, an elliptical trainer provides a weight-bearing exercise. Weight-bearing exercises are important to inhibit the onset of osteoporosis.
Burning More Calories in Less Time
The obvious benefit of exercising more muscles is that you tone more of your body. Furthermore, you also optimize your energy expenditure. You end up burning more calories and fat in less time. It is also suggested that there is a reduced perceived rate of exertion with an elliptical workout. You are actually exercising harder than you would normally perceive.
Unlike the treadmill, most elliptical machines are equipped with handles or poles for your arms. These allow you to incorporate both your upper body (biceps, shoulders, chest and triceps) and lower body (hamstrings, calves, quads and glutes) at the same time, while also activating your abs and core. When you activate your entire body in this manner, you can achieve an effective and challenging workout. Remember to use proper posture, though, to get results and stay injury-free. If you are using an elliptical machine, keep your shoulders back, your head up and your core tight. Don’t lean forward or look down at your feet. Instead, keep your head up and allow your lower body to support your body weight as you move. When proper posture is used on the elliptical, you should not experience any joint or back pain during or after exercise (aside from a few sore muscles from time to time).