6 Reasons Ellipticals Are Great For Exercise

If you are currently making the decision which form of exercise you want to include in your workout program and an elliptical trainer is one of the main pieces of equipment you have in mind, take note: you can’t go wrong here.

The elliptical trainer is one of the best ways to workout your body and for good reason. It helps you on many different levels. What’s more is that it’s great for assisting those who are at the pinnacle of their fitness career as well as those who are just starting. Young or old, male or female, the elliptical trainer will offer you great benefits should you choose to use it.

Let’s take a closer look at six reasons why you might want to seriously consider using the elliptical trainer and how it will help you get the results that you have been going for.

It’s An Easy Learning Curve

The first reason why the elliptical earns top marks for being one of the best methods of exercise out there is because it has a very easy learning curve. While it’s not quite as easy as say the treadmill, due to the fact you’ve been walking or jogging all your life so you know exactly how that exercise works, the elliptical doesn’t take much to get the hang of.

You simply hop on the machine, start powering the pedals with your legs and handles with your arms, and after 10 minutes, you should be used to the movement pattern.

For some people, the elliptical may come easier than others. This will depend a lot on your own particular biomechanics and what feels natural for you. Don’t get discouraged though if at first, it doesn’t feel completely natural and normal. This is no reason to give up, it just means you need to tweak things a little until you get into a better movement pattern for you.

Try adjusting the incline as this can make a big difference for people. You might also find that where you place your feet on the foot pedals matters (either at the front or more towards the back) as well as how you hold onto the handle bars. If you hold them higher up, this may straighten up your back more, allowing you to feel better as you go about the exercise.

Alternatively, if you’re very short, you will very likely find that holding them lower on the handle bars is best as then you aren’t reaching so far upwards.

Play around with it until you figure out what works for you. Most body types should be able to find a way to do the elliptical with ease.

It Burns Mega Calories

The next reason you’ll definitely want to consider elliptical training is because it burns mega calories. Essentially, you are going to see your calorie burn skyrocket while you on the elliptical trainer and then, provided you have worked hard enough, you’ll still experience a higher calorie burn after you are off the elliptical as well.

This is known as the post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) rate and is basically the body returning itself back to a normal state after very intense exercise is performed. The more intense the exercise was, the more ‘oxygen debt’ there will be created and the more recovery you’ll have to face in order to return to homeostasis.

There is much talk right now about interval training because it helps you generate such large EPOC values, allowing you to greatly extend the overall calorie burn your session offers you.

When we look directly at the treadmill versus the elliptical, we see that the treadmill is actually far less beneficial when it comes to calorie burning provided you are able to go at the same intensity level. This is because the elliptical will also work the upper body, while the treadmill is only going to work the lower body. It may seem like a minor thing, but it really does make a huge difference. The more muscles you work, the more energy you burn.

Calorie burn during exercise is important because this is one factor that can help dictate how much total weight loss you lose on your plan. Weight loss is a question of calories coming in versus calories going out, so the more calories you burn on the elliptical, the greater than calories out value becomes. As long as you are controlling your diet (the calories in section), you will be on track to superior progress.

It Provides Strengthening Benefits For The Whole Body

The next great reason why elliptical training is a smart addition to your workout routine is because it also provides strengthening benefits for your entire body. When you do the elliptical trainer, you have the option of going against stronger resistance, which means your glutes, hamstrings, quads, back, chest, shoulders, and arms will all have to work harder to move those pedals back and forth. Think of it as a mini weight lifting session within your cardio training.

While you’ll never use as much resistance as you would with free weights, it’s still an excellent start. You will see more muscle tone and strength develop and notice great carry over benefits to other daily life activities.

For many people, the elliptical is actually a great fix to poor posture because not only does it force you to use better posture while doing it (since you must remain upright), but in addition to that, it helps to work your back muscles, which will be responsible for pulling the shoulder blades together and getting you out of a hunched over position.

Poor posture is all too common in today’s world as we are all hunching over desks or smart phones for many hours per day so it’s important to do something to help prevent permanently bad posture due to weak back muscles.

It’s Low Impact

Another great thing about the elliptical trainer? It’s very low impact. For many people who are suffering from joint pain or just feel achy after doing workout sessions such as running or even walking, this is a huge benefit.

As you get older, you need to take more and more care of your joints. If you don’t, it’s only a matter of time until you aren’t even able to do exercise – and possibly not even able to go about your day to day life as you had hoped.

Join pain can be extremely limiting and take a long time to overcome. If you are injured because of bad knees or a bad back, this can easily take you out of the game for a year or longer. So pay close attention to anything you are doing that could possibly limit your joint health.

The great news is that elliptical is not one of those things. It’s built to be completely non-impact, so you can do it with ease and without any worry.

It’s Customizable

Next up is the fact that it’s a customizable workout option. You can easily adjust the elliptical to meet your own needs and preferences.

Want more resistance? No problem. Feel like doing sprint training? This is something you can easily accomplish while on the elliptical.

If you want to work the quads more, simply raise the elevation. Or, if hamstrings and glutes are your focus, no problem. Simply lower the elevation and you’re set.

The fact that it’s so customizable not only means that everyone should be able to find a workout plan that they enjoy, but it also means that it becomes very easy to avoid boredom.

It’s important that you are continuously changing your workout routine around as this is what will keep you interested and keep your body responding and you seeing the results that you desire.

Workouts do go stale quickly if something is not adjusted so you always want to be looking for ways to incorporate new movement patterns and stress loads into the plan.

It’s Fun

Finally, last but not least, it’s fun. Using the elliptical is quite enjoyable. It’s a totally different movement pattern than you’re used to and gets the entire body involved.

Most people will also cite that while the elliptical can be hard work, it’s comfortable work. Meaning your body feels good while doing it. You may feel tired, but you aren’t feeling like you need to get off the machine because you just are so uncomfortable with it.

So there are some of the biggest reasons why the elliptical is a great exercise method to include in your workout routine. If you are someone who is looking to change things up and you are a runner or a cyclist, it’s well worth your time and effort to consider this mode of cardio training instead. You may just find yourself a new favorite in the process.

Photo credit: Nutthaseth Van/Shutterstock; Dan76/Shutterstock; nd3000/Shutterstock

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