When you step into a gym, you will likely see several lines of cardiovascular machines, including treadmills, exercise bikes, stationary bikes, rowers and stair climbers. Another popular piece of machinery is the elliptical machine. Not only are they available at most gyms, but they are also used in homes. To use an elliptical, stand on top of the pedals and grab the handles. Move your legs in a gliding back-and-forth motion. Other than their ease of use, these machines feature with an array of additional benefits.
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Increase Aerobic Capacity
Aerobic capacity is a very important aspect of fitness. If it is high, then you will be able to perform activities for long periods of time without getting out of breath. One of the benefits of an elliptical is that it helps increase your aerobic capacity by increasing your heart rate and making you break a sweat. Just 20 to 30 minutes three or more days a week is enough to increase your aerobic fitness.
There are a lot of people who suffer from bone and joint conditions, such as ligament tears, osteoporosis and arthritis. Those suffering from such ailments can benefit from elliptical training because it does not place a lot of impact on joints. Being that your feet stay still on the gliding platforms, there is no impact, which makes the elliptical a safer exercise option for a variety of people, including those who are elderly, rehabbing from knee surgery, have varicose veins or are obese.
Total Body Workout
When you are running either outside or on a treadmill, you burn calories and get a lot of leg muscle recruitment. However, when you use the elliptical, you can work the upper and lower body at the same time. Elliptical machines work the legs, chest, shoulders, back and arms. With this machine, you can complete a full-body workout in as little as 20 minutes.
Elliptical trainers use a lot of muscles in the legs, which is an area a lot of people want to target. For an effective leg workout, place your hands on the center handrail, and just use your legs to move the pedals. To add a little variation to this, you can reverse the direction of the pedals, which will work your legs more intensely.
According to Harvard Health Publications, you can burn up to 400 calories in just 30 minutes exercising on an elliptical machine, depending on your weight. The heavier you are, the more weight you'll burn in this time frame. The intensity of your workout also impacts the amount of calories you burn, so increase the machine's resistance or interval train on the machine to increase the amount of energy you expend during workout sessions.