Elliptical machine for cardio, is it worth your time?
Ever walked into a gym, had a quick look at the cardio machines then just hopped on whichever one was free?
If you answered yes, you’re not alone. The truth is most people do the same thing, often because they have no real idea about how the machines work, what they’re used for, or which one is better for them and their goals.
If that’s you, and you find yourself ‘machine hopping’ because you don’t know the benefits of each machine, don’t worry. In this article, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about the Elliptical machine and tell you everything you need to know about why it’s so good for a cardio workout, and why it could be the perfect machine for you.
What is the Elliptical Machine?
An elliptical machine (sometimes called a cross-trainer) is one of the most popular machines in the gym. It looks like a mix between a step machine and a treadmill, however, unlike on a treadmill, you don’t move freely against the tread deck.
Instead, your feet are placed on the ‘pedals’ and as you hold the handles you move your body (and the machine) at the same time.
Let’s take a look at the main benefits of the elliptical machine.
If you’re looking for a cardio machine that’ll help you blast calories, the elliptical is a great choice!
It burns calories at a super high rate and is one of the best options if you want to burn calories without spending ages in the gym.
According to the popular fitness app MyFitnessPal, a 200lb person could burn as much as 408 calories in 30 minutes on the elliptical, which is a fantastic return on only 30 minutes of your time.
Full Body Workout
Looking for the most bang for your buck? Look no further than the elliptical. While some cardio machines such as the treadmill or stationary bike are focused on the lower body, the elliptical works everything. That’s great for workout efficiency, as you hit the entire body at the same time, but it’s also a great way to ensure you’re strengthening and improving all your muscles evenly. You won’t be neglecting any of your muscle groups when you use the elliptical machine and it even trains your core as you use your balance to keep you in place.
Low Impact Exercise
Although running is a popular activity, many people stop as they start to get pain and discomfort around their knees and hips.. Well, that’s where the Elliptical has an advantage over other cardio machines. By placing your feet on the pedals and controlling the handles with your hands, you don’t put the same level of stress and pressure on your body as you would on other machines. For example, on a treadmill you’re constantly bringing your foot down and striking the tread deck as you run, which can be a nightmare if you have bad knees. However, on the Elliptical machine, your legs move with the machine, meaning you won’t feel any negative impact on your joints.
Being able to use the Elliptical this way is perhaps why it’s so popular. It allows people who otherwise would struggle, to be able to take part in the exercise. So if whether you’re brand new to exercise, you’ve got old nagging aches and pains or you’re getting back into fitness after suffering an injury, the Elliptical is one of the best ways to train.
Can Train From Home
Whether you’re looking for a more compact model to keep in your spare room or you have the space for a big, gym-style Elliptical, there’s now a ton of options available if you want to train at home. That gives you the bonus of being able to exercise on your own terms, without having to worry about missing out on equipment when the gym is too full. It also makes exercise far more accessible. Previously, if you were low on time, you might have to miss the gym, but with an Elliptical machine at home, you can use it when you want, and could even exercise while you watch TV.
Perfect for Beginners
As we already outlined, due to the low-impact nature of the Elliptical machine it’s great for beginners, as they don’t have to worry about beating up their body too much when getting started, but that’s not the only reason why an Elliptical machine is such a good choice for new gym-goers.
In addition to being low-impact, it’s also super easy to use, so if you don’t know you’re way around the gym, you’d be able to exercise on an Elliptical just fine.
It’s also much easier to adjust the intensity and effort to work out at your own pace. You can adjust the resistance, change your speed or even follow the programs on the machine, giving you a whole range of ways to work out at your own pace without having to worry about keeping up with anyone else.
Thanks to the low-impact nature of the Elliptical machine, it’s much easier to complete a longer workout, which in turn is a fantastic way to build and improve your overall stamina and endurance. Some of the other available cardio machines are much more demanding on your body and can tire your muscles out quicker, but the Elliptical doesn’t have that problem.
Most people find they can keep going for a good amount of time before they eventually get tired as their muscles don’t take the same type of pressure that they do on other machines.
We couldn’t claim to give you the full picture of the Elliptical without also addressing some potential drawbacks, the main one being that because of how you move when on the machine, you don’t replicate a ‘real-life’ movement pattern.
For example, when you use the treadmill, your body moves in the same way it would if you were running outside, whereas there isn’t a ‘real-life’ comparison for the Elliptical.
We don’t think that’s a major concern and in our opinion, it’s not a problem worth worrying over as the positives far outweigh any potential drawbacks.
So there you have it, a clear breakdown of the benefits of the Elliptical machine.
Whether you’ve been someone who used the machine without really knowing why, or you avoided it because it looked weird and you weren’t sure what I did, now you know the truth.
The Elliptical machine is one of the best ways for you to train your entire body, hit all your major muscle groups, and burn a ton of calories in the process, all without putting extra stress or pressure on your body or leaving you feeling beat up and sore after a session.
It’s an ideal choice whether you’re new to exercise, recovering from injury, or have some aches and pains that you don’t want to aggravate, and it’s even a great option if you’re an experienced gym-goer who wants to take care of their body.
Being able to purchase an Elliptical for home use is also a big plus, and when you consider everything together, it’s really hard to look past the Elliptical when trying to pick out the right cardio machine for you.