Looking to lose weight? Try our FREE Calorie Counter »  |  Log In
Articles Fitness Nutrition

Is an Elliptical Trainer Right for You?

Some of those who are in the market for a new fitness machine may be on the fence about buying an elliptical trainer. For shoppers who are evaluating treadmills, elliptical and other machines, it may help to think about some of the reasons why people generally use these kinds of fitness tools.

What Is an Elliptical Trainer?

An elliptical trainer or elliptical machine is a floor-standing machine that has some similarities to a treadmill. Where the treadmill uses a flat rolling track, however, the elliptical machine has foot pedals that are designed to move in coordinated patterns that simulate running. Some elliptical machines also have hand grips that move back and forth with the foot pedals in order to simulate cross-country skiing. Elliptical machines also frequently have helpful programming built into the dashboard, from variable resistance programs to heart rate monitors.

Benefits of an Elliptical Trainer

Elliptical trainers are a great choice for many people who may be limited in their capacity for physical activity, or who may be vulnerable to some health conditions later in life. First, elliptical training is not as “high impact” as running, meaning that it protects the joints while strengthening bones and muscles. Also, elliptical trainers provide more guided activity than a treadmill or running routine, which is good for anyone who may have problems with balance or coordination.

Elliptical machines are not just for those who don’t like the high impact of running. While the elliptical protects the joints, it also provides a variable resistance. This allows for more calorie burning in a single workout. Those who like the challenges of high resistance can ratchet up the resistance level of their elliptical machine by pressing a few buttons. Many of those who work out routinely like the challenge and versatility of variable resistance. Some elliptical machines even have variable incline features, where the slant of the machine goes up or down.

Finally, elliptical trainers also offer a lesser “perceived rate of exertion” – this means that, for many fitness participants, it’s easier to go longer and harder on an elliptical than a treadmill.

Elliptical Trainer vs. Treadmill

Elliptical machines are not for everyone. When choosing your fitness gear, it’s important to consider your comfort level and preferences. Some who want to simulate running for marathons and other activities may consider the treadmill to be more comfortable and more effective. If this is the case, the treadmill may make a better home machine.

Beyond basic considerations about the health benefits of using elliptical trainers, individuals looking for the best home fitness gear can get good recommendations from their fitness professionals at their gyms or health clubs. Professional trainers can evaluate a workout routine and help clients choose the best tools for future body building or physical fitness programs.

Using the gym routinely is a great way to get acquainted with all of the various fitness machines on the market, in order to make more educated decisions about what you want to buy for long term use.

Article Comments