Pros & Cons of Elliptical Machines

By Writer

  • Overview

    Elliptical machines exploded into popularity when they debuted in the mid-1990s as an innovation in fitness technology. Elliptical machines provide a low-impact cardiovascular workout for the upper and lower body while burning calories to support weight-loss efforts. The pros and cons of elliptical machines involve the cost of the machine, how much space it takes up, level of impact on joints and resale value.
  • History

    In 1995, Procor released its first elliptical cross-trainer. The technology used mechanized links to ensure that the legs, arms and feet moved in a preferred manner. The elliptical machine used pedals rather than a flat surface, which reduced the impact. The success of the early Procor design began when studies indicated it worked as well for novices as it did for trained athletes. Companies like Rebok, Bowflex and Nordic Track expanded on Procor's initial design, creating an exercise machine that provided excellent results without stressing the body's joints.
  • Significance

    The elliptical machine remains relatively new in the realm of fitness technology. However, the design and simplicity of use rapidly made it a popular machine for gym goers who are looking to tone up, lose weight and get in shape. While elliptical machines take up a larger foot print than most other cardio machines, it is very simple to use. Holding the handle bars, a person places a foot on each pedal. Feet stay in the pedals while the walking motion is performed. he handlebars may be stationary, or they may move back and forth, allowing the upper body to tone as the lower body exercises. A significant stride in the creation of the elliptical machine is the absorption of force. While the same motions on a treadmill can produce a lot of impact on the joints of the ankles, knees and hips, the force is not applied while on an elliptical machine, making it a lower impact cardio workout than a treadmill, stair climber or exercise bike.

  • Function

    The elliptical machine is a cardio workout machine that provides individuals with a low impact form of exercise that tones upper and lower body at the same time. Regular use of an elliptical machine results in weight loss and increased energy and provides a boost to the immune system. Working out on an elliptical machine combines the best of the other cardio machines and can quickly become a preference of gym goers. The elliptical allows up and down action to increase glute tightness. Adjustable stride and speed means it can be used for walking, jogging or running without hurting the knees, and on average, it burns a higher number of calories because it engages a larger number of muscles in the same amount of time. The best function of an elliptical machine is that it requires little to no expertise to hop on and get moving.
  • Features

    The elliptical machine's popularity has increased, but consumers still rely on the tried and true treadmill as a representative of a good product. This means that resale value on an elliptical machine is not as high as other fitness machines. Space concerns are increased; although different styles of elliptical machines may change the shape of the footprint, it is not generally easy to collapse. The treadmill, for example, can often be folded up, meaning it takes up less space when not in use. The elliptical machine takes up the same floor space whether in use or not.
  • Benefits

    The greatest benefits of using an elliptical machine are found when measuring how strenuous the exercise is. Walking on a treadmill requires picking up and putting down the foot, and this translates to increased stress on the joints. The elliptical machine keeps feet firmly planted in the pedals, and despite mimicking the walking motion, the feet are never actually taken off the pedal, which means the exercise isn't as strenuous. This may mean that individuals who tire easily on a treadmill will be able to sustain a longer workout on an elliptical machine. While personal taste, level of fitness and endurance are all factors, the elliptical machine often feels easier to use, and that can improve a person's mindset. If they feel like they can do more, they often will.
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