With the large variation of workout machines in most gyms, it’s difficult to know what each is used for, their benefits, and effects on your body. The elliptical machine has been one of the fastest-growing categories of cardiovascular equipment since its introduction in the late 1990s. It’s considered an aerobic workout that focuses on integrating upper-body with lower-body movements and has many health benefits if used correctly.
Aerobic workouts, such as using an elliptical machine, are used for cardiovascular training. This type of training can strengthen the skeletal system, decrease appetites in some people and improve various health problems, says the ACE Personal Trainer Manual. Many people use the elliptical machine and other aerobic workouts as a way of burning a large number of calories in an attempt to reach a certain weight goal.
Although the elliptical is an aerobic workout, it has features that are very convenient for any user. Most elliptical machines are equipped with heart-rate-monitoring technology, which is important during cardiovascular training. It has places to hold items such as water bottles, reading materials and portable music devices. Taking advantage of these features makes your aerobic workout easier and more beneficial by increasing the possibility of prolonging exercise time.
The elliptical machine has similar cardiovascular benefits as other aerobic exercises such as walking or running, but it’s very popular because it places far less impact on the joints. This is ideal for those who suffer from arthritis. According to the American Council on Exercise, exercisers with lower back pain, knee pain, arthritis or osteoporosis may find that working out on an elliptical machine provides an effective stimulus with low impact on bones and muscles.
Because the elliptical machine is referred to as a low-impact aerobic exercise, it can cause some to decrease their workout efforts. This machine is ideal for those who have bone- and muscle-related health conditions, but for those with no conditions looking to see mass improvements it can be a little too easy. Consider taking advantage of the many features on the elliptical to increase difficulty. Perhaps you can use the heart rate monitor technology to know when you need to pick up the pace, or you can increase resistance and use the pre-programmed workout settings that most machines are equipped with. Don’t let the convenience of this machine debilitate you.
In order to remain safe and get the most out of your aerobic workout on the elliptical, use proper exercise technique. Like all other aerobic workouts, be aware of your heart rate so you can avoid exhaustion by staying within your target heart rate range. Hold on to the handles throughout the workout to ensure safety and to get the appropriate upper body workout. If possible, consult with a fitness professional for guidance on proper form.