10 Benefits of Using an Elliptical Trainer
So you’ve been looking at all the different options of home fitness equipment. There are treadmills, NordicTrack machines, rowers, recumbent bikes, and elliptical trainers, among others. The sheer number of options can be daunting and it can be difficult to figure out which machine is best for you.
The elliptical trainer is one of the latest developments in the world of home fitness.
You’ve probably seen these machines lined up at the gym or in a fitness center.
But are they good for your home fitness needs?
Here are 10 benefits you can receive from using an elliptical trainer at home, and 10 great reasons we think they are a great option for your home gym!
Table of Contents
1. Very Low Impact
One of the major reasons so many people turn to the elliptical trainer is its low-impact motions. The foot and arm motions are fluid and continuous strides. This motion does not require hard pounding of your legs on pavement or against a treadmill. Your feet are in constant contact with the foot pedals so that they glide in a swinging pattern with the leg bars.
At no time do your legs or feet receive any impact in the movement of the stride while using an elliptical machine. If you can stand and move your legs, you can do an elliptical trainer.
For this reason, many people choose an elliptical trainer for the purposes of rehabilitation. If you have experienced damage to your knees, joints, or back or if you are trying to recover from surgery, an elliptical trainer can be the perfect machine. You need to continue to work your muscles are joints and ligaments, but high-impact fitness equipment can cause stress which might only exacerbate your problems or injuries.
2. Easy for Beginners
Looking at an elliptical trainer, you might think that it is a complicated machine that would take a long time to get used to or use effectively. Sure, a treadmill is as simple as walking, and an exercise bike is easier than riding an actual bike, but an elliptical trainer does not require any special skills whatsoever.
If you do have some difficulties with balance, most ellipticals come with stationary handlebars which you can use until you get used to the motion of your legs. Most people will find an elliptical trainer no more difficult to coordinate than your average rower and certainly much easier than devices like a NordicTrack. This is because an elliptical trainer automatically syncs the motion of the handlebars and your feet so you don’t even have to think about it.
Give an elliptical a single workout, and you’ll be a master by the end!
3. Weight Loss
Of course, one of the main reasons that anyone will use a fitness machine is an attempt to lose weight. But are elliptical machines effective in the battle of the bulge?
The amount of weight you can lose with an elliptical trainer is dependent on many factors, so we cannot make any promises. On average, you can expect to burn as many as 400 calories in a typical 30-minute workout on an elliptical trainer. If you are already carrying more weight, you are likely to burn more calories, and this number will vary a lot depending on your body’s metabolism.
Because of the increased stride length of the elliptical versus what you would normally do while working out on a typical treadmill, you will actually work harder and burn more calories without evening knowing it! That is, you’ll feel like you are doing the same workout routine as you do on a treadmill, but you will get much better results!
If you want to increase the number of calories burned, ellipticals come with resistance flywheels that you can crank up so that your workout is more intense. The harder your workout, the more calories you will burn. Of course, no amount of working out is going to do much difference if it is not also paired with a balanced diet.
4. Excellent Aerobic Workouts
If you are just starting out on an exercise routine, you will likely find that you are easily and frequently out of breath. With just a little time, working out with an elliptical trainer can greatly increase your aerobic capacity.
Your ability to keep your breath and breathe deeply is an important part of healthy living. As you increase your aerobic capacity you will also increase your body’s ability to get oxygen and blood to the rest of your body. This is good for your immune system and overall ability to recover after a workout.
Increasing your heart rate is also a vital part of keeping healthy and an elliptical is a very easy way to do that! With even small levels of resistance, you can easily reach your target heart rates and most elliptical machines will come with ways to automatically monitor this.
Be sure to check with your physician before starting any new workout regimen so that you can keep your heart rate within safe ranges.
5. Lower Body Workouts
If you are looking for a fitness machine that can focus on toning your legs, an elliptical machine is often a “go-to” option. The motion of the legs during the stride of the footpaths isolates particular muscles groups. As you increase the levels of resistance, you can seriously increase the degree to which these muscles are working in your legs.
While exercising on a treadmill and a stationary bike certainly works out the legs, the patterns of motion that your legs go through on an elliptical will hit your quadriceps and hamstrings to a much great degree, giving you a far more efficient workout.
We should point out, however, that an elliptical trainer is not a strength training machine. You need much greater resistance if you are looking to build significant muscle mass, so an elliptical trainer is not your best option for that kind of goal.
6. Gluteal Workouts
In addition to working out your quads, hamstrings, and other leg muscles, an elliptical training can also be good at working out another problem area for some people: the gluteus! That’s right, if you are looking for a machine that will help you tone your buns, an elliptical which can be set at an incline will focus your gluteal muscles to work in ways that cannot be focused on by other machines.
For best results, you will want to look for an elliptical that has incline features, but even regular ellipticals will give you some toning for your gluteal muscles.
7. Upper Body Workouts
Unlike a workout on a treadmill, where the most you can do is just swing your arms, an elliptical trainer can give you an upper body, as well as a lower body workout. The handlebars are connected to the leg striders so they work in sync against the resistance flywheel. This gives you the option of using the handlebars to work out your chest, triceps, biceps, or shoulders along with your lower body.
You can even alternate the degree to which you push against the resistance between your arms and legs if you want to focus on which muscles you want to tone. No other home fitness machine gives you the range of workouts as an elliptical trainer does.
8. Core Workouts
Because of the way you stand on an elliptical trainer, it requires certain core muscles to keep your balance and keep moving the foot pedals. This means that your whole body is being worked out from the top to the bottom whenever you step on an elliptical machine. While you will not see the same results as doing sit-ups or crunches, an elliptical trainer is a great way to get in some extra work on your core muscles as you are working out.
9. Very Low Maintenance
One of the things that are great about an elliptical trainer is that there are virtually no maintenance requirements and it is highly unlikely they will ever break down. A treadmill has an internal motor that drives the belt and another that raises and lowers the incline for intense workouts. These motors can sometimes break, though they are generally reliable.
With an elliptical, there is no reason to worry whatsoever. There is no internal motor that can break. The resistance on an elliptical machine is usually achieved by a weighted flywheel and eddy resistance. This is an electromagnetic field so there is no friction. With fewer moving parts, fewer things can go wrong.
Similarly, a treadmill requires you to keep the belt lubricated regularly. If the belt is not properly oiled, you can seriously damage your machine. Once again, with an elliptical trainer, there is nothing to lube, nothing to keep oiled. It will operate well for many years without you having to do hardly a thing. The only general maintenance you need to do it wipe it down to keep it free from dirt and debris. What could be easier!?
10. Small Space Requirements
An elliptical trainer will take up very little room. Most of them can easily fit in a spare bedroom, basement, or fitness room. Some are smaller than a treadmill, though not all, as this varies from model to model. They will certainly take up much less room than most rowers and not nearly as much as full weight equipment.
An elliptical trainer is an economical way of meeting your fitness goals in the convenience of your home. With a whole body workout every time you step on the machine, you can be sure that you are maximizing your time while meeting your fitness goals. If you are looking for a quality home fitness machine, you should serious consider an elliptical trainer for all these benefits.