Top 10 Benefits of an Elliptical Machine
If you’re looking for a solid cardio workout that is varied and challenging, look no further than the elliptical. While it is still a relatively new cardio machine compared to the treadmill, ellipticals provide an array of benefits that will help keep you motivated the next time you feel like skipping your cardio workouts.
- Provides Low-Impact Exercise
Though some may think that low-impact exercise is only useful for older adults or people recovering from an injury, the importance of low-impact exercise can’t be overstated.
Not only do low-impact exercises help reduce the likelihood of injuries, but they also mitigate the damage done to your body. During high-impact exercise, your bones, joints, tendons, and muscles are bearing the full weight of your body, potentially creating stress and damage. Injuries from high-impact exercises can lead to chronic pain and the need for joint replacements, such as knees or hips, in extreme cases.
- Targets Your Lower Half
Not only is achieving well-sculpted legs an aesthetic goal, but it’s a good health-oriented goal as well. Muscle burns more calories per hour than the equivalent amount of fat, and your legs are the biggest muscle group in your entire body. Working out as many muscles as possible will burn more calories during the exercise and strengthen those muscles in the long run, compounding the caloric burn effect over time.
- Increases Cardio and Stamina
Raising your heart rate to your target zone has long been shown to increase the efficiency of your cardiovascular system, which includes your heart and blood vessels. It is also responsible for circulating nutrients and oxygen, getting rid of waste from within your body, and helping ward off heart disease.
Not only does working out on an elliptical help increase the efficiency of your cardiovascular system, but it also helps increase your stamina. This means that you will be able to work out for longer without becoming winded as quickly. You can also enjoy the effects of increased stamina when playing with your children, doing activities with friends, and traveling.
- Raises Intensity With Interval Training
Interval training is a fun and efficient way to work out. In fact, studies have shown that interval training is associated with more enjoyment than moderate continuous exercise.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is also more effective because you’re raising your heart rate for bursts at a time, meaning you can work out for shorter periods while reaping the same benefits. Ellipticals lend themselves to this style of training, and you can find various HIIT elliptical guides online that can be customized for your specific fitness level.
- Gives You a Full-Body Workout
While elliptical workouts mostly target your lower half, you can change up your routine to facilitate a full-body workout. This makes the elliptical especially good for cross-training.
If you’re using an elliptical with handles, simply let go and pump your arms, adding a small twist to target your core as well. You can even add light free weights to increase the intensity. Another option is to use the levers as resistance, pushing and pulling to target different muscles in your arms and shoulders. You can also get a pretty good workout for your booty by clenching those muscles and driving back and down through your stride.
- Versatile Workouts Make Exercising Fun
Because there’s a variety of ways to target different muscle groups and vary the intensity levels, working out on the elliptical is rarely boring! Many elliptical machines also come with built-in software to help you track your progress and add some variety to your workout with customizable programs.
- Reduces High Blood Pressure
Studies have shown promising results regarding managing blood pressure with exercise. This effect may be due in part to the natural “feel good” chemical that our bodies produce when exercising. This chemical can also help reduce hypertension and lower blood pressure. Increased cardiovascular health is also associated with lower blood pressure.
Exercising is also a great way to blow off some steam, reducing stress and anxiety that can make your blood pressure soar.
- Improves Circulation
Good circulation is important for your health. As we age, our circulation naturally decreases, which can lead to difficulty walking and using your legs and arms. When you’re working out, your heart beats faster to supply more blood and oxygen throughout your body.
An elliptical makes it easy to raise your heart rate, which in turn improves your circulation. The more you do it, the better your results.
- Improves Balance and Mobility
Balance and the ability to move around are important no matter your age. From simple things like errands and buying groceries to celebrations of life like dancing at weddings and sightseeing on vacations, mobility is directly linked to a high quality of life.
Working out on an elliptical improves your balance and mobility by increasing your range of motion, strengthening your legs and core, and improving your circulation.
- Keeps You Fit Even After an Injury
If you’re injured, it can take a long time to recover completely. If you don’t exercise during your off time, you can lose muscle mass and even slow down your recovery. The key to remaining fit while recuperating from an injury is doing something that’s low impact and low intensity. Elliptical training is perfect for this purpose because it allows you to work through a full range of motion with little stress on your body. Of course, you should always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
No matter which gym you sign up for, you’re bound to find an elliptical. More interested in home workouts? Ellipticals are relatively inexpensive when compared to treadmills and other large cardio machines.
A low barrier to entry and numerous health benefits make elliptical workouts an attractive, simple solution for getting a full-body cardio workout.