An elliptical trainer, also known as a cross-trainer or X-trainer, is a stationary type of exercise machine that you can use to walk, run, or stair climb without causing excess pressure on the joints. That, in effect, decreases the risk of any impact injuries.
People who have injuries can, therefore, use an elliptical to keep fit. It offers low-impact training and being a weight-bearing exercise; it tones muscles as well as bones. Most of these trainers work on both the lower and upper body.
Elliptical trainers can also be self-powered using user-generated motion or can be plugged in for easy adjustment of action. Elliptical trainers are of three types, categorized according to the location of the motor. This article focuses mostly on the benefits of elliptical trainers. Now, let’s get to it.
10 Benefits of Elliptical Trainers
Elliptical trainers have many benefits to the human body. This equipment is a must-have in any gym, and you can also get it for your home exercises.
They are undeniably beneficial and are handy for anyone who wants to go down the fitness road. Many people can use the low-impact type of workout offered by the elliptical.
Here is a list of ten benefits of this exercise equipment.
1. Boost Cardio Capacity And Stamina
One of the critical parts of any balanced exercise routine is aerobic exercise, which is also the cardio. Any time you do an aerobic exercise, your lungs and heart are required to work harder to provide more oxygen and blood to your muscles.
The elliptical machine comes in handy to ensure that you get an ideal aerobic workout that strengthens your muscles, lungs, and heart. That results in building your endurance and stamina. Elliptical machines allow you to perform both steady-state cardio workouts as well as high-intensity interval training.
2. Burn A Lot of Calories
If you are in search of an effective way to burn a lot of calories in less time, then the elliptical trainer will be an ideal option for you. This cardio machine can burn up to 400 calories in just 30 minutes, depending on your weight. The lower end of this range represents anyone weighing 125 pounds, whereas the higher end represents a person weighing 185 pounds.
Burning more of the calories than what you consume will result in weight loss. If you need to boost the calorie burn, then you should consider increasing the intensity of the elliptical workouts.
3. Less Stress On Joints
The elliptical machines offer the ultimate solutions for those with overuse injuries and achy joints. They can now be able to relieve the pressure that is on their bones as well as has a cardiovascular system training.
High-impact cardio exercises may not be too friendly to the hips, ankles, knees, and other joints. This machine offers a low-impact cardio workout that puts less stress on the joints.
Studies show that the elliptical trainer reduces weight-bearing more significantly compared to jogging, running, and such workouts. You can train as long as you want without experiencing any wear and tear that is characteristic of the high-impact exercise.
4. Get Both a Lower and Upper Body Workout
An elliptical machine that features handles is among the very few cardio machines that offer both lower and upper body workouts. If you want to maximize the huge body benefits, you are advised to distribute the resistance and your weight evenly.
In simpler terms, the movement of your legs and pumping of your arms should be at the same speed. If done correctly, an elliptical workout targets hamstrings, glutes, core muscles, triceps, quads, biceps, chest, and back.
5. Burn Body Fat
Given its ability to burn calories highly, an elliptical trainer can also come in handy if you need to lose body fat. It can work on toning up muscles as well in a short amount of time. You can achieve this by focusing on the interval work.
For maximum fat burning, you need to focus more on the workout intensity. You can consider a 2 to 1 ratio addition of interval training to your elliptical workouts. Even during the recovery periods, you should keep your legs moving at a slower pace for optimal results.
6. Target Specific Leg Muscles
With an elliptical, you can adjust the foot pedal incline as well as the resistance. Doing so targets different muscles of the lower body, which include glutes, calves, hamstrings, and quads.
When you increase the incline, it is common to feel like the backside is burning. Adjusting the foot pedals lower will make your quads think they are working harder. And since the pedals can go in reverse, changing the direction of your stride focuses more on your glutes and hamstrings.
7. Improve Your Balance
A weight-bearing exercise that is offered by an elliptical helps in strengthening of bones. What most people do not know is that it can also help in improving one’s balance.
Standing up straight on the trainer and letting go of the handles targets your core muscles and works on your balance. The incline and the resistance should be set at a manageable level for safe use of the elliptical.
8. Maintain Fitness After Injury
If nursing an injury, you may not be able to participate in regular physical activities. An elliptical trainer offers a great way of building and maintaining your fitness.
Being a low-impact exercise, an elliptical puts less effort into the joints, unlike running, jogging, or jumping. Also, working out helps to regain a full range of motion. It strengthens the joints and muscles without putting any stress on the injured area.
9. Enjoy a Variety of Options
Elliptical machines are designed with pre-programmed exercise routines to simulate internal training, hill climbing, among other customizable options to get you the workout that you want. You can enjoy the workout program as you get back in shape.
10. Learn Quickly
An elliptical trainer is easy to use with a smooth learning curve. It will not take long before you learn how to use it efficiently. Also, you can seek help and guidance from a personal trainer.
They will guide you through the ideal workouts and tips on using it correctly so that you achieve your fitness goals. If you are starting, you can use the pedals only, but as you advance and get used to its movement, you can use the handles.
Precautions Before Using an Elliptical Machine
Elliptical trainers serve to offer a cardiovascular workout that is non-impact and varies from low to high intensity depending on the speed as well as the preferred resistance of the user.
There are, however, several precautions that you need to take before using an elliptical machine. These machines are excellent tools for a cardio workout. But you must use them properly for optimal results and less risk of injury.
Follow the simple rules stated below for the best elliptical experience.
1. Start slow – Step on the machine carefully and slowly. And even when you press the start button, the pace should be slow. That allows the warming up of your muscles. You can increase the speed slowly after the first 10 minutes to higher levels that are comfortable. Cooling down is also necessary after you have maintained the pace for 30 minutes.
2. Use the resistance – It is safer and better for you if you use resistance on the elliptical. Your muscles are not subjected to hard work as you move the pedals.
3. Watch the heart rate – You need to monitor your heart rate so that you do not overexert yourself. It is said that if you notice a drop in your heart rate when doing a similar routine for weeks, then you have grown accustomed to it. You can now go ahead and mix up activities and vary intensities accordingly.
4. Stay hydrated – Dehydration is an enemy of exercise. It causes tiredness, dizziness, weakness, confusion, and blurred eyesight. Dehydration overworks the heart to get blood to the muscles, hence the effects. It is, therefore, vital that you stay hydrated during your entire workout. It is safe and healthy.
5. Watch your weight – Your weight should be evenly distributed as you work out. It should not cross your mind to lean on the machine. Stay stable and balanced to avoid injuring yourself or another person.
6. Hold your handrails lightly – Handrails are designed to enhance security and keep your body in place throughout. You need to grip them while keeping your arms relaxed lightly.
7. Maintain proper alignment – Maintaining proper alignment is crucial to attaining optimal results. Poor posture during workout results in stiffness and discomfort later on. Maintain a straight back, head high, and shoulders back.
Also, your core should be tight. Your feet should be placed close to the inside of pedals as you pay attention to your heels’ weight rather than toes.
In most gyms and fitness centers, the elliptical machines are highly sought-after. Given its numerous health-related benefits, that is not a surprise. Also, it is the choicest equipment for home exercise.
This machine helps in strengthening your muscles, lungs, and heart as well as boost your stamina and improve balance. In case you have joint issues, this machine is a great option. This low-impact trainer is ideal and handy to achieve your fitness goals.
It is practical and efficient and offers an enjoyable workout program. Elliptical trainers are also unique and more functional in that they provide both upper and lower body workout. Start your fitness journey with this equipment.