The elliptical trainer is one of those cardiovascular exercise machines that you either love or you hate. The haters say that it’s too boring and that it isn’t challenging enough. Meanwhile, those who swear by it love that it’s low impact and that it works both the lower and the upper body. The truth is that, while it’s not perfect (no workout machine is), the elliptical does provide a lot of benefits for people trying to lose weight, improve their heart health and generally get fitter. Read on to discover 15 elliptical benefits that make it a great home cardio machine option.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Elliptical Benefits – Why Cross Trainers Are A Great Workout
- 1.1 1. Can Aid Weight Loss
- 1.2 2. Low Impact Exercise
- 1.3 3. Works Out The Whole Body
- 1.4 4. Boosts Cardiovascular Health
- 1.5 5. Improves Cardio Stamina
- 1.6 6. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
- 1.7 7. Efficient Injury Recovery
- 1.8 8. Reduces High Blood Pressure
- 1.9 9. Improves Blood Circulation
- 1.10 10. Decreases Chronic Inflammation
- 1.11 11. Increased Breathing Capacity
- 1.12 12. Reduced Risk Of Type-2 Diabetes
- 1.13 13. Enjoyable Workout Program
- 1.14 14. Versatile
- 1.15 15. Low Maintenance
- 2 Frequently Asked Questions
- 3 Conclusion
Elliptical Benefits – Why Cross Trainers Are A Great Workout
1. Can Aid Weight Loss
Elliptical machine workouts are an effective, safe way to lose weight. The amount of calories that you will burn varies according to your weight and the intensity of your workout. However, on average, you should be able to churn through between 150 and 400 calories after a thirty minute session.
To be effective, your weight loss cardio workouts should be accompanied by a reduced calorie diet. Aim to consume 250 – 500 calories below your daily caloric maintenance levels every day, with a focus on eating lean proteins, cruciferous and fibrous carbohydrates and healthy fats.
2. Low Impact Exercise
Elliptical workouts provide a low impact way to exercise. That’s because they are an example of a closed chain exercise, where the feet don’t come off the foot platforms. As a result of this, there is very little gait impact on the ankles, knees and hips.
That makes this form of exercise ideal for people who suffer from joint pain. People who are rehabilitating after injury would also benefit from an elliptical training session. As a result of its low impact nature, elliptical machines are one of the safest forms of cardio you can do.
Check out the best elliptical/bike combo machines on the current market.
3. Works Out The Whole Body
An elliptical workout works both the upper and lower body. This is quite unique among cardio machines, which tend to focus on working the lower body. Ellipticals are different because they feature movable arms as well as legs. That allows you to push and pull with the upper body at the same time that you are striding with your legs.
This form of workout will target the following muscles:
- Latissimus Dorsi
4. Boosts Cardiovascular Health
Elliptical workouts provide a great form of aerobic exercise. The aerobic challenge of the workout will increase your pulse rate as your heart has to work its hardest to supply oxygen and nutrients to your muscles.
5. Improves Cardio Stamina
In addition to making your heart stronger, elliptical workouts are able to improve your cardio stamina. That will, in turn, improve your endurance level so that you will be able to walk, run or jump for longer and with more energy.
After just ten days of half-hour sessions on the elliptical, you will see a noticeable improvement in your cardio stamina.
6. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
There are two types of cholesterol in your body. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is the bad kind that clogs up your arteries. The good kind is called high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Elliptical workouts are a good way to lower your bad LDL cholesterol levels.
By regularly doing high-intensity workouts on your elliptical 5 – 6 days each week, you will see a significant improvement in your LDL cholesterol levels after three months.
7. Efficient Injury Recovery
Because it is such an effective low impact form of cardio exercise, an elliptical workout is a great tool for injury recovery training. This is especially the case if you are coming back from a leg injury to the ankles, knees or hips. This is also a very good option for people who are recovering from heart disease or a stroke. The fact that you are grabbing the handle bars while you are striding makes this a better option to provide balance and coordination than some other types of exercise equipment such as a treadmill.
8. Reduces High Blood Pressure
Aerobic training, in conjunction with a healthy diet and controlling your stress level, is the best way to reduce your blood pressure. Elliptical machines, being low impact and user friendly, are a great choice to reduce high blood pressure. The benefits that the cardiovascular system gets from this type of exercise will mean that your circulation system will be far more efficient and such markers as blood pressure and pulse rate will come down.
9. Improves Blood Circulation
Because they are working both the upper and lower body muscles, elliptical workouts require your body to pump blood more vigorously to all of your muscles. This will improve your blood circulation and reduce the likelihood of getting such conditions as varicose veins and deep blood thrombosis.
10. Decreases Chronic Inflammation
Recent research has shown that working out on an elliptical machine can have a significant anti-inflammatory effect. It is, therefore, able to help to counter the effects of diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.
11. Increased Breathing Capacity
Regular exercise on an elliptical machine will allow your muscles to work more efficiently. The result of that will be that you will not need as much oxygen during your workouts. You will also expel less carbon dioxide. The net result is that you will improve your breathing capacity.
12. Reduced Risk Of Type-2 Diabetes
Type-2 diabetes results from the body’s inability to properly utilize the insulin that it produces. This leads to a build up of sugar in the blood. Exercising on an elliptical machine has been shown to help to lower blood sugar levels. By combining this type of exercise with a low sugar diet people will have the best chance of defeating Type-2 Diabetes.
Exercising on an elliptical machine has been shown to help to lower blood sugar levels.
13. Enjoyable Workout Program
Many people find the alternating rhythmic action of the elliptical to be very enjoyable and calming. Because it is so low impact, it is accessible to the majority of people. By listening to podcasts, your favorite music or watching a screen, you can even overcome the boredom factor.
Elliptical workouts provide you with plenty of variety. Most machines will have pre-set workouts built into them, including HIIT workouts, strength training and fat loss options. Many brands will also allow you to pedal backward, which is a good way to transfer the legs focus to the hamstrings. For larger bodies, a heavy duty elliptical is a great option.
15. Low Maintenance
Elliptical machines are very low maintenance. All you need to do is clean them after every use with a soft cloth, regularly check that all the nuts and bolts are tight and lubricate them every six months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, the elliptical does help reduce belly fat. It will help you to burn calories, though they won’t come specifically from your belly. Instead, they will be drawn from all over the body. As well as your exercise, you should follow a calorie reduced diet that is high in protein and low in sugary carbs to lose belly fat.
You should be on the elliptical for 30 – 45 minutes at a time, depending on what your workout goal and intensity level is. A moderate exercise level should be continued for 30 – 45 minutes while exercising at high intensity should be limited to about 20 minutes at a time. You should exercise 3 – 5 times per week on the machine
Yes, the elliptical does tone the inner thighs. The stride motion of the machine will work all four quadricep muscles, including those that make up the inner thighs. To most effectively work this and all of the major muscle groups of your body, we recommend moving over a full range of motion. You should also use the reverse function to stride backward. This will focus more on the inner thighs and the hamstrings at the back of your upper legs.
The elliptical targets the following muscle groups: the quadriceps, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, calves, latissimus dorsi, pectorals, deltoids, biceps, triceps and the muscles of the core. It gives you the best overall muscle workouts of any cardio machine. In addition, it does a great job of strengthening your heart and lungs.
An elliptical workout provides you with a very low-impact way to exercise both the upper and lower body. At the same time, it will improve your cardiovascular system, help you with weight loss and make you less likely to suffer from a whole host of diseases. Those elliptical benefits are pretty good reasons to begin an elliptical machine workout. Get started by checking out our review of the best elliptical machines.