Are ellipticals good for cardio

Cardio Machines - An Overview

When it comes to cardio, there are a lot of options out there. Treadmills, stair climbers, rowing machines, biking...the list goes on and on. But one piece of equipment that always seems to be a mainstay in gyms is the elliptical. Why is that? Are ellipticals really all they're cracked up to be? Let's take a closer look.

Ellipticals - The Basics

The elliptical machine is a popular cardio machine found in almost any commercial gym and found in fitness centers in every state, but why?

In the sea of cardio machines you will find at the gym, the elliptical stands out for many for three main reasons:

  • It is easy on the body.

  • It is easy to use.

  • It allows you to multitask, so you can watch TV or a movie while getting in a great workout.

Choosing the elliptical trainer has many benefits. You can work both your entire body and catch up on your favorite shows. Furthermore, it is easier on the knees compared to a stationary bike or treadmill.

To highlight all you could want to know about elliptical machines, this article will look at several benefits and drawbacks to choosing an elliptical workout routine to burn calories. Let's start with the benefits of the elliptical machine.

The Benefits Of The Elliptical Machine.

To really drive home how effective ellipticals are for burning calories and improving overall health, I'm going to list 15 health benefits of the elliptical machine.

Benefit #1: Supports Weight Loss Goals.

An elliptical machine is fantastic for weight loss. You can burn anywhere between 100-400 calories in just 20 minutes, depending on the intensity of your workout.

Furthermore, since the elliptical is less demanding compared to a treadmill, so you will still have energy left after your elliptical workout to hit other high-intensity workouts to burn more calories.

Benefit #2: The Elliptical Is Lower Impact

If you have knee issues or joint issues or are just looking for a lower impact full body workout, the elliptical is a great option. Unlike high-impact exercise such as ground jogging or treadmill running, ellipticals provide a smooth, fluid motion that doesn't put a lot of strain on your entire body.

Benefit #3: Focuses On The Lower Body.

The elliptical mimics a stair-climbing action, making it a stellar lower-body workout. Elliptical workouts will target all the leg muscles: the quads, glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, and calves.

Because ellipticals are so great at targeting the lower body, elliptical workouts help you burn fat and lose weight while you get a good aerobic workout in.

Benefit #4: You Get An Upper Body Workout As Well.

While elliptical training targets the legs heavily, you can get a great lower and upper body workout by using the elliptical. When you compare the elliptical vs. a treadmill, you can engage the upper body as well as the lower body thanks to the handle levers, which you push and pull synchronized with your leg movements.

This makes the elliptical machine a unique full-body fitness routine.

Benefit #5: Elliptical Machines Boost Cardiovascular Health.

You need a strong heart, lungs, and blood vessels to live a long and happy life. Cardio workouts improve the health of all these. When you spend 20 minutes or more on an elliptical engaging in aerobic exercise, you improve your cardiovascular strength and cardiovascular endurance, promoting heart health, lung health, and other health goals.

Benefit #6: An Elliptical Workout Improves Stamina.

Elliptical training at a moderate to high intensity improves cardio stamina. This means that this aerobic exercise gets your heart rate up, improves your endurance, gives you more energy throughout the day, and helps you not feel tired all the time.

Exercise does wonders for helping you feel energized and ready to take on the day, and just 20 minutes of elliptical exercise will do the trick.

Benefit #7: Elliptical Exercise Helps Lower Blood Pressure.

Cardio workouts such as those on an elliptical trainer help fight off the negative effects of hypertension. A cardio machine like the elliptical generally lower stress levels and expand your blood vessels, promoting better blood flow and more energy.

Other benefits of lowering your blood pressure and having less stress include improved sexual health, improved natural movement, and more supple muscles.

Benefit #8: Ellipticals Improve Balance.

Using the elliptical promotes better coordination and balance since you need to be able to synchronize your arms and legs together to use the elliptical properly. Ellipticals help improve the mind-muscle connection between your brain and your muscles, which will translate to better form when walking and running off the elliptical.

Benefit #9: Ellipticals Lower Body Inflammation.

The gentle gliding motion of an elliptical creates a lower risk of aggravating existing inflammation. Furthermore, any existing inflammation caused by a sedentary lifestyle will decrease once you commit to a daily 20-minute low-moderate full-body workout on an elliptical.

If you struggle to find low-impact exercise equipment, the elliptical will help you get a better workout without sacrificing the benefits from other cardio workouts such as treadmill jogging, ground walking, using a rowing machine, or a stationary bike.

Benefit #10: Elliptical Machines Improve Blood Flow.

Elliptical trainer workouts improve blood circulation. This boosts your immune system, helps your muscles and organs get oxygen and nutrients get delivered more effectively, and keep you from getting sick often.

Benefit #11: Ellipticals Are A Weight-Bearing Workout.

All weight-bearing means is that your muscles and bones have to put in some work to use the machine. Anytime we use our muscles, whether that be for strength training or cardio, we promote wear and tear through micro-tears in the muscle fibers. As this heals, we get stronger, and our muscles get bigger.

With this in mind, we know that ellipticals help build bone density and build stronger muscles over time.

Benefit #12: Ellipticals Are Home-Friendly.

This weight loss-promoting machine is a great addition to a home gym or garage gym set-up. Ellipticals, just like treadmills, rowing machines, and stationary bikes, make excellent home exercise equipment for those who want to bring the gym experience to the convenience of their home.

Benefit #13: Ellipticals Work Your Core.

Since you are using your arms and legs together to work an elliptical machine, your core muscles get some love as well. Your core muscles include your abs, hip flexors, obliques, serratus anterior, deep abdominal muscles, lower back, and your back erectors. All of these will be worked to some degree if you spend at least 20 minutes of intense exercise on your elliptical.

Benefit #14: You Can Manipulate The Resistance.

Unlike using a treadmill with an elliptical, you can play with the resistance if you want a more intense workout. This will help you burn more calories and make the workouts more challenging as your stamina and endurance improve.

Benefit #15: Ellipticals Are Fun!

If you are new to fitness but do not want to jump right into hardcore training or hire a personal trainer, ellipticals are a great starting point. They are very intuitive and require much less know-how compared to a treadmill.

Furthermore, ellipticals can be a great place to start exercising if you have a running form issue or injury that a treadmill would aggravate.

If you are lucky, using the elliptical might even save you from needing a trip to your local physical therapist!

The Drawbacks Of The Elliptical

Now that we have established several of the benefits of using the elliptical, let's dive into a few of the drawbacks.

Drawback #1: Boredom

Because ellipticals are so low impact and don't really require much thought or effort, they can be pretty boring. If you're someone who likes to be constantly challenged during your workouts or who gets easily bored, the elliptical probably isn't the best option for you.

However, it is worth keeping in mind that boredom can be shaken up by playing with the resistance of the elliptical if things are feeling stale.

All fitness equipment can get boring, so it is up to you to find creative and safe ways to shake up your workouts.

Drawback #2: Less Effort Compared To The Treadmill.

Yes, ellipticals require less effort to use compared to the treadmill. This means you will not work as hard in some cases, so are limited in your running and muscle-building efforts compared to using a treadmill.

Drawback #3: Injury Can Still Happen

Although they are low impact, if you use an elliptical incorrectly, you can actually end up injuring yourself. Because your feet never leave the pedals, it's easy to start slouching or hunching over as you get tired, which can lead to back and neck pain. Additionally, if the machine isn't set up properly for your height, you could end up with knee pain.

Drawback #4: Slightly Less Core Involved.

Yes, your core does get worked when you use the elliptical. However, it is not as heavily worked as it would be if you ran or used a treadmill because your arms or not moving at your side.

To remedy this, you have to really focus on swinging those arms with the handle levers to adequately work the core if that is your goal.

Conclusion: WAY MORE Benefits Than Drawbacks.

So is the elliptical good for cardio? It depends. If you're looking for a low-impact workout that won't put too much strain on your body, an elliptical can be a good option. The elliptical has many similarities to its main competition: the treadmill.

Both are tools that improve cardio, stamina, and endurance and have a host of health benefits. However, choosing one over the other should be easier if you made it to the end of this article.

If you have any joint issues, muscle injuries, or any chronic inflammation, the elliptical is the better option.

Despite the elliptical being a lower impact compared to the treadmill and other cardio machines, you are still getting a great workout in while reaping many of the benefits of treadmill workouts, rowing, biking, running, or walking.

Furthermore, while ellipticals tend to get a bad rep as a lazy approach to cardio, it is simply not true. Have you ever climbed 100 flights of stairs?

While treadmills have an incline setting, ellipticals mimic a stair-climbing motion. Walk a couple of miles on a treadmill, then climb 100 flights of stairs on an elliptical. I promise the elliptical will surprise you if you go a decent distance at a moderate intensity.

Ultimately, what matters most is that regardless of where you are in your fitness journey, the elliptical will serve you well and can easily fit into any workout routine.

Need to know where to find an elliptical at an amazing price? Check out Freedom Fitness Equipment's Cardio and Conditioning section!

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