What Is The Elliptical Good For?
Elliptical trainers are one of the most body-friendly cardio machines on the market. They make working out at the gym (or at home) easier than ever – simply step onto the machines pedals, plug in your information, and start moving. Because your feet stay on the pedals the entire time, you’ll never experience the painful pounding impact you may feel on the treadmill. And, whether you’re a beginner, looking for a high-intensity interval workout, or want to challenge different muscle groups, there’s an elliptical workout for you. Read on to learn why the elliptical machine is good for the mind, body, and soul.
If you’re one of the many people in the world suffering from a bone or joint condition, the elliptical is the perfect cardio machine for you! The elliptical machine does not place as much impact on the joints as many other machines do. Because your feet are stationary on the gliding platforms throughout your workout, there’s very low impact on the joints, making this machine a safe option for those who are recovering from an injury, rehabbing from knee surgery, suffering from arthritis, or are elderly or obese. Edward R. Laskowski, M.D., co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center also recommends elliptical sessions to his clients who are runners saying, “if you run on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the elliptical is a nice low-impact choice on Tuesday and Thursday to help prevent overload injury and enable recovery from your impact exercise sessions.”
Increases Aerobic Capacity
If your aerobic capacity is high, you’ll be able to work out for long periods of time without becoming short of breath; it’s extremely important whether you’re taking a studio class or hitting the streets for a run. The elliptical will help to increase your aerobic activity by increasing your heart rate. And, it’s easy, too: just 15-30 minutes at least three times a week will do the trick.
Carves Out your Core
Interested in focusing on your core? Just let go! By simply letting go of the handles on your machine, you’ll engage all of the muscles in your core since you’ll be working hard to stay balanced on the machine. The faster you move, the more you’ll work that midsection.
Boosts Your Backside
If you’re looking to perfect your backside, the elliptical is perfect for you. Simply play with the incline on your machine to target your glutes and hamstrings. You’ll tone your backside and get in a great cardio workout at the same time. Trainer tip: be sure to keep your heels down while you’re on the incline.
The elliptical works your chest, shoulders, back, arms and all of your leg muscles at the same time. Jillian Michaels explains, “Some elliptical trainers have adjustable ramps, which allow you to target different leg muscles by varying the incline. If the ramp is at an incline and you’re peddling forward, you’re working the muscles on the backs of your legs: the hamstrings, glutes, and calves. If the ramp is at a lower incline and you pedal backward, you’re training the muscles in the front: the quads and dorsiflexors.
Depending on your weight, you can burn up to 400 calories in just 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. If you’re on the hunt for a more intense workout, simply increase your machines resistance or hit the interval training option.
According to LiveStrong.com, training on the elliptical will help you develop muscular strength and endurance, which translates into greater ease with everyday activities. Moreover, since you’re working on your cardio, the machine will help reduce stress, improve your mood, boost your immune system, and decrease your risk of obesity.
Greater Overall Health
The elliptical machine works hard to stress your cardiovascular system, resulting in a stronger heart. The advantage of an elliptical machine for heart health is that it gives you both an upper-and-lower-body workout at once. The elliptical leg motion mimics running with the lower impact of cycling. At the same time, the rhythmic arm movements get blood flowing to your back and shoulder muscles (everydayhealth.com). Bonus: many machines come with trainer-designed workouts and heart rate monitoring systems, making it easier than ever to control and monitor your workout intensity.