Do Elliptical Machines Work?January 10th, 2011
You’ve decided that this is going to be the year you stick to your new year’s resolutions and lose weight. Good for you! Now, how are you going to do it? Without a doubt, diet is an important factor. Talk to your doctor about getting the right amount of calories and nutrients before you abruptly change the way you eat. This will increase your chances of successfully changing your diet, and sticking to it.
The other half of the equation is exercise. Building muscle is good, but mostly, cardiovascular exercise is what will help you lose weight and burn fat. A lot of people choose running to accomplish this quickly. But maybe that’s not really for you, and maybe you’ve thought about using an elliptical as an alternative to a treadmill. But does an elliptical really work?
The short answer is yes. Ellipticals can help you lose weight, tone muscle, increase your endurance, and even get your heart healthier. Their biggest benefit over treadmills is that they’re low-impact, which is perfect for older people, those with joint issues, or those recovering from sports-related injuries. If you’re thinking about buying an elliptical machine, knowing how it can benefit you may help you in your decision.
Ellipticals help you lose weight
The best way to lose weight, other than switching to a healthy diet, is cardiovascular exercise. Increasing your activity level means your body needs more fuel to sustain itself. The first fuel your body reaches for is the extra fat stored throughout your body. Using an elliptical machine requires you to move your body more than you normally would, which requires more fuel, which means the more you use your elliptical machine, the more fat you’ll burn. This is how an elliptical will help you lose weight.
Ellipticals help you tone muscle
Sitting on the couch requires very little strength or muscle movement. When your muscles don’t work much, they become flabby and out of shape, which means your body looks flabby and out of shape. Working your muscles forces them to tone up, giving your body that lean, fit look you’re seeking. The more you work your muscles, the more strength you build as well. The great thing about an elliptical is that it doesn’t just work your legs and behind. Most elliptical machines have mobile handlebars so you can move your arms at the same time. The repetitive motion also works your arms, chest, and back, which means an elliptical provides a full-body workout, increasing overall muscle tone.
Ellipticals increase your endurance
If it’s been a while since you worked out, you’ll want to start slowly. Remember to consult your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen. As time goes on, you can begin to slowly increase the amount of time you spend on the elliptical, and it will become easier and easier for you to do so. The motion of the elliptical machine also mimics the motions made by the body during cross-country skiing, widely believed to be the most efficient form of full-body exercise. Using an elliptical, and gradually increasing the amount of time you spend on your workouts will eventually increase your body’s endurance so that hike you want to take won’t seem so daunting, and you won’t be so out of breath at the end of it.
Ellipticals are good for your heart
Any cardiovascular exercise is good for your heart. The heart is also a muscle, and just like your biceps or quadriceps, it requires work to stay toned and healthy. Getting on the elliptical, using it on a regular basis, and gradually increasing your workout time will work your heart, making it stronger and healthier. Keeping your heart healthy and strong can help to prevent heart disease and high blood pressure, two serious health problems suffered by many people today. Again, talk to your doctor before doing any kind of exercise that works your heart. And if you’ve had heart problems before, make sure your doctor gives you the go-ahead before you set foot on any exercise equipment.
Finally, ellipticals are low-impact. Unlike running on a treadmill, which requires the ankles, knees, hips, and back to absorb the impact of every footfall, using an elliptical gives you all the same benefits without the pounding your body can take while running. It provides your body with similar motions, but your feet never leave the pedals. It’s almost as if you’re running in mid-air. This can be great if you have arthritis or other joint problems. An elliptical is also perfect if you don’t want to give up working out completely while you recover from a joint injury.
If you’re looking for a good way to work out at home, but running isn’t for you, consider an elliptical. You can find the best one for you by using an elliptical buying guide. And cost is an issue, you can even find new ellipticals on sale, or even ellipticals on clearance, that are sure to fit your budget.