The elliptical trainer, a stationary exercise machine, is a machine that imitates walking and running without the harsh impact actual running or walking may put on the joints. The elliptical offers a workout that can vary from light to intense training depending on the selected resistance level or incline level.
Stand upright on a trainer with a straight back with feet, knees and ankles kept in alignment. In order to operate the machine, move the poles back and forth or for more advanced users, the poles do not have to be used. By not holding the grips, balance can be improved and other body parts will have to work harder. Keeping weight on the balls of the feet works the quadriceps and calves more and distributing weight on the heels of the feet, focuses more on the buttocks and hamstrings.
According to Health Status, a 145 lb. person can burn up to 748 calories per hour on the elliptical. Just like anything else, how much effort that is actually put into the workout can affect the calories burned. If the resistance and incline levels are increased, the calories burned will increase over lower resistance and incline levels.
Implementing different challenges throughout the workout increase the effort, such as speeding up, going backwards as opposed to a forward motion and increasing levels. Fit Sugar lists a 35-minute elliptical workout for beginners, which can be completed twice to reach a little over an hour. The workout consists of a three-minute warmup at a resistance level of three, which increases to a level of five for the next two minutes. The workout continues at five-minute increments, which gradually increases the resistance level up to seven.
Besides the amount of calories burned, the elliptical is beneficial because of the less stressful impact it has on the body. Instead of constantly connecting with the ground or treadmill while running or walking, the elliptical provides the user with the ability to move with resistance but no impact. Not only do the hand poles provide balance, but they also allow the user to focus more on the arms and upper body. By going in a reverse motion, different muscles are also allowed a good workout.
Nearly every gym will have one or more elliptical trainers available for its members. However, some people cannot afford a typical gym membership, therefore, there are several elliptical available for purchase at high prices and low prices. Ranges on elliptical start from $400 up to 4000, according to the All Ellipticals website, where an elliptical comparison chart is available for interested buyers.