Effectiveness of Elliptical Machines

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  • Overview

    The effectiveness of elliptical machines facilitated their fast rise to the top of the cardio workout machines both for sale and for use in gyms such as 24 Hour Fitness and Lifetime Fitness. The elliptical machine or cross-trainer works both the upper and lower body in resistance and cardio fitness. The average 35 year old woman burns about 600 calories per hour on an elliptical machine versus the 400 calories burned on a treadmill.
  • Significance

    Elliptical trainers are pure cardio workout machines that are designed to build cardiovascular fitness and burn calories without building muscle. The low-impact equipment offers more variety in workouts than the stair climber or treadmill, yet incorporates many aspects of these two pieces of equipment. The low impact nature is gentler on joints while the handles increase calories burned by working the upper body as well as the lower body.
  • Function

    Different elliptical trainers function differently. Self-propelled elliptical trainers use resistance created by the body itself which means a person is working against their own weight in order to perform the motions. Other mechanical machines rely on rolling bars to create the swaying motion and keep upper and lower body separate. A third type of machine increases resistance on the upper and lower body at the same resistance, the argument being more calories are burned by continuous muscle action at lower resistances over the whole body versus what is burnt by just a treadmill or a stair climber which focus primarily on the lower body.


  • Features

    The effectiveness of elliptical machines is found in the variety of stress and workouts they provide to the muscles of the legs. The leg muscle groups are the largest set of muscles in the body. They use a tremendous amount of oxygen and interact in a variety of ways to facilitate walking, running, skipping, jumping and climbing. The elliptical machine takes advantage of sloping roller ramps in order to adjust how much burden is placed on the different muscles in the legs creating a more effective, overall leg workout that burns calories and builds endurance.
  • Benefits

    When it comes to weight loss workouts, the effectiveness of elliptical machines edges out other cardio-based machines. The body burns more calories using the variety of motions available at lower intensities and resistances than other cardiovascular machines. To really benefit from using an elliptical machine, however, a person should exercise four to five times a week for 30 to 45 minutes per session on the machine. The effectiveness is also increased by early morning versus late day workouts because the metabolism is ramped for the rest of the day.
  • Warning

    Losing weight and getting in great shape are two definite benefits of the elliptical machine, but fitness requires effective use of the equipment and proper recovery time for the body. Cardio workouts do not require the same amount of recovery as weight training, however, cardio workouts seven days a week without a day for rest can create muscle fatigue that is ultimately more damaging to the body than the workout is beneficial. Users should also beware the ease of using the elliptical machine when they are beginning their workouts, despite how 'easy' it feels, overdoing it can lead to muscle strain, pain and cramps. Some muscle soreness is to be expected (See Fitness for Dummies), but a person should not be incapacitated from the pain of workout on an elliptical machine.
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