I f you have finally decided that it is time to expand your home gym or simply purchase a machine that can help you get the exercise you need, an elliptical trainer is indeed a great choice according to Jenifer Aniston and other celebs who swear by it. This ubiquitous apparatus remained one of the customers’ favorite the last year, and the reviews remain favorable for 2022, as specialists continue to point out the great number of benefits it brings when compared to high-impact versions that were also designed to encourage running or step climbing movements.
Below, we analyze the most important reasons that can make you choose the elliptical in favor of other machines, and we also provide you with a few aspects to keep in mind when making the purchase.
When people think of an elliptical, they see a pretty large apparatus that seems more engaging than a spin bike but not as challenging as a treadmill. Some even wonder if they can get enough exercise only by using it, or if it is even worth investing in a cross-trainer. Here are a few arguments that are backed by serious scientific literature and go in favor of using it:
The workout on this machine implies using your feet to push on the footplates while keeping your hands on the handles and moving your arms in a synchronic movement with your legs. Dr. Hasan Sözen’s study at the Ordu University, Turkey compared the elliptical’s action on the muscles with the degree of engagement required by a treadmill or a bike, showing that the other options affect the upper body in a smaller proportion and concluding that the gliding machine is to be preferred for a full-body workout.
The best way to recover after an injury or to reduce joint pain is to get back in the game, this is what experts say. Yet the way you do it is extremely important as you may end up with new injuries if picking the wrong workout. A comparison between the trainer and other apparatuses was made to analyze this problem as well. And, guess what? The elliptical proved to be among the best options to use when you have bad knees due to the little stress it puts on the joints. It is also worth considering if you have a BMI value higher than normal as it will allow you to exercise for longer without feeling the strain on your legs.
Even if it seems easier than going for a jog, this doesn’t mean that you cannot increase your heart response to exercise. Gliding machines come with different intensity levels, which means that they can make it easier or harder for you to press on the footplates. The higher the resistance level, the harder you will have to push. As most models come with a heart monitor, you just need to know your maximum heart rate for your age and try to match it to a value of 76% for moderate effort and up to 93% for vigorous exercises. By increasing your heart rate, you will prevent cardiovascular diseases that are often linked to a lifestyle lacking movement and a healthy diet.
Even if you will be striding for half an hour or even an hour, this doesn’t mean that you need to do it the same way for the total length of the workout. You will be able to switch between resistance levels and experience everything from a light walk to the hardest stamping you’ve ever done in your life. Some models allow you to incline the ramp and see how it feels to climb a hill. You may even get pre-set programs like Hill, Cardio, or Strength that will automatically set the intensity and incline and engage you in a new challenge. Moreover, if you want to keep working out, even when you are at work, there is an under-desk elliptical variant that was designed to reduce joint strain completely.
A great thing about this apparatus is that it doesn’t put you through hell when it’s maintenance time. Basically, what you need to do is wipe out the frame once in a while to remove dust and sweat and keep it looking good. Once a year, you may need to oil it so it continues working just as smoothly as before. That’s it. No need to go through a huge checklist as you will do with a motorized machine.
Not all machines are built the same. Some will only offer basic functions and charge you a lower price, while others may make you break the bank with their luxurious design and amazing features. Usually, the best deal is to settle somewhere in the middle or pick a more expensive product. The idea is that it should definitely include the following elements:
The more expensive models will plus fancier functions that can make it easier for you to reach your goals. In most cases, you will be charged extra for the following add-ons:
Is it worth buying an elliptical? Question answered. This machine is perfect for a beginner for at least two reasons: first, it can be adjusted to give just the right push without making the training too tiring, and second, it can be quite engaging to use due to the variety of features available. Yet, what seems to be the greatest asset of this apparatus is the low pressure it puts on the knees, lower by 60% than the strain put by a treadmill, studies say, which makes it probably the second-best choice for recovery programs after the bike.