Ellipticals can be one of the kindest machines in the gym. All you have to do is step on the pedals and walk or run.
Since your feet never leave the pedals, you don’t have to tolerate the repeated pounding impact of each footfall on a treadmill – an elliptical workout is both quieter and more comfortable.
If you like ellipticals enough to invest a minimum of several hundred dollars for a quality machine, you can also bring many home benefits with you.
One of the elliptical trainer’s primary functions, and arguably the most important, is stressing your cardiovascular system.
Like any other muscle, your heart responds to the appropriate stress levels getting stronger and stronger. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that to achieve health benefits.
You should do at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular exercise each week. Personal trainer-designed workouts and heart rate monitoring, available on some ellipticals, allow you to monitor and control your workout intensity.
Elliptical trainers work the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. The calves also work but to a lesser extent. If your elliptical trainer has an adjustable incline ramp, you can emphasize the calf workout by adjusting the ramp to a steep angle.
Most mid-range and high-end ellipticals have movable handlebars that you can push and pull for an upper-body workout, and they also allow you to pedal backward for variety.
As you train all of the major muscle groups on the elliptical – including your heart – you also burn calories. According to Harvard Health Publications, if I weigh 185 pounds, you can burn around 800 calories per hour on an elliptical trainer.
But since you control both your pedaling speed and the machine’s resistance, you determine the intensity of the workout. The harder workouts mean more calories burned. Burn 3,500 more calories than you have taken, spaced each other out over some time as long as you like, and you will have burned the equivalent of 1 pound of body fat.
Don’t confuse the full-body workout of an elliptical trainer for strength training. But training on an elliptical helps develop muscle strength and endurance, which results in greater ease with daily activities.
Cycling an elliptical trainer can also help reduce the loss of minerals in the bones that bear weight. Regular cardio workouts also reduce stress, improve your mood, strengthen your immune system, and reduce the risk of developing obesity-related diseases.
Some users report foot and ankle numbness after extended elliptical trainer workouts. Elliptical trainer manufacturers have started producing machines with a very slight inward tilt on the pedals to combat this problem.
No matter how much you love your elliptical trainer, give yourself at least one day off each week. Recovery time can reduce the risk of overtraining, leading to an increased injury rate and other symptoms such as insomnia and irritability.