Benefits of Elliptical Machines

By John Hewitt

  • Overview

    Benefits of Elliptical Machines
    Elliptical machines provide low-impact, strenuous cardiovascular exercise. They're a cross between a stationary exercise bicycle and a treadmill, allowing the exerciser to enjoy upright jogging movement without painful strain on the joints and feet. Many also have arm weight-training components as well, providing a full-body workout for muscle-tone enhancement.
  • Benefits

    Elliptical machines are very popular because they are as easy to use and strenuous as treadmills and are much less likely to cause injuries. This makes it a great choice for people with knee conditions or who are recovering from injuries. They can be used to train for distance running, but they don't accurately simulate the same kind of motion.
  • Significance

    One important thing to keep in mind when using an elliptical machine is to monitor your heart rate during the workout. Most elliptical machines come with built-in heart monitors that will return real-time feedback on your heart rate, some altering their resistance program in response to changes in your heartbeat.

  • Considerations

    When using an elliptical machine, the ideal heart rate to aim for is 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate for between 20 to 60 minutes. To get your theoretical maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, a 20-year-old in good health would target a heart rate between 120 to 160 beats per minute throughout her workout. If the person using the elliptical machine isn't in the target heart rate for at least 20 minutes, she might as well be sitting on a couch. Exceeding the target heart rate often leads to rapid exhaustion or injury.
  • Features

    Better cardiovascular health resulting from elliptical machines results in a lower chance of heart disease, fat loss and a feeling of well being. It also provides muscle tone for the calves and quadriceps. The lower risk of injury makes it an ideal choice for someone looking for a home machine that she will be able to train on regularly over an extended period of time. Injuries are one of the main reasons why people occasionally abandon their exercise programs just as they are making progress.
  • Warning

    Before beginning any program of exercise, consult with a doctor first. Elliptical machines are ideal training choices for people with severe weight problems, joint issues and other ailments, but they are not risk-free, particularly for the elderly. Stretch before using an elliptical machine to reduce the likelihood of injury. Begin with a brief warm-up lasting between 2 to 5 minutes at a low resistance level before increasing the intensity.
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