The cross-trainer, also known as an elliptical, is a low-impact cardiovascular exercise machine. The machine mimics the movement of cross-country skiing, making it the perfect exercise machine for those who have lower-body injuries and can't handle the stress that comes with running or jogging. If you are looking to lose weight but have injury issues or simply don't like the treadmill, the elliptical might be the cardio machine for you.
Follow the Exercise Guidelines
When it comes to getting healthy, the American Heart Association offers some helpful advice. Its health guidelines suggest 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week, which can be easily accomplished on the cross-trainer. According to Harvard Medical School, a 155-pound person burns roughly 324 calories in 30 minutes on the elliptical. If you are following the guidelines and using the elliptical five days a week for 30 minutes each time, you should be burning plenty of excess calories. Paired with a healthy diet, this could help you drop the unwanted pounds.
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Try Interval Training
Interval training involves short bursts of speed followed by longer periods of recovery for the course of a workout, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). An example of an interval workout would be to increase your pace for a minute followed by two minutes of a slower recovery speed. Interval training causes your heart rate to increase when your speed on the elliptical machine increases, which in turn helps you to burn more calories. Harvard Medical School suggests that interval training also allows you to burn the same number of calories as a steady-state workout in about half the time.
Bump Up the Resistance
Almost every elliptical machine allows you the option to make the workout harder by changing the resistance. When you heighten the resistance on the elliptical, you are making it harder for yourself to push through the pedals with your legs and arms. This not only makes your heart work harder and increases your calorie burn but also engages your muscles more, especially challenging your lower body.
Mix Intervals With Resistance
The best way to lose weight is to keep your body guessing. When you perform the same exercise week after week, your body starts to become accustomed to it and is no longer challenged by it, says ACE. By pairing intervals with higher resistance on the elliptical, you are asking your body to do something that it is not used to. This causes your heart and muscles to work harder, keeping your calorie burn high and your body challenged.
- American Council on Exercise: "Train Smarter, Not Longer: 30-Minute Elliptical Workout"
- Harvard Medical School: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- American Council on Exercise: "Interval Training"
- American Heart Association: "How Much Physical Activity Do You Need?"
- Harvard Medical School: "Interval Training For a Stronger Heart"
- American Council on Exercise: "Why Is It Important To Vary My Workout Routines?"