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Do The Elliptical Machines Really Help?

It all started with the cross-country skier's and the higher fat burning capability they possess. Now it is a standard aerobic machine that is found in almost every fitness facility... Learn more.

By: Dr. David Ryan

Article Summary:
  • During aerobic exercise, the body requires about 60% of the blood supply to the legs.
  • The elliptical machine has a better track record than the treadmill or a stair climber.
  • Find a machine that has a strong frame and a foot contact surface that is easy to clean.

It all started with the cross-country skier's and the higher fat burning capability they possess. Now it is a standard aerobic machine that is found in almost every fitness facility across the country.

Some of the mechanical features have changed and it is referred to as an elliptical machine. Some of the machines come with hand/arm movements and others do not.

The benefit that these machines have over a standard treadmill lies in the use of the upper body. Just using your legs provides approximately the same amount of aerobic benefit from a treadmill or stair climber.

The Benefit That These Machines Have Over A Standard Treadmill Lies In The Use Of The Upper Body.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
The Benefit That These Machines Have Over A
Standard Treadmill Lies In The Use Of The Upper Body.

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The Benefits
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During aerobic exercise, the human body requires approximately 60% of the blood supply to the legs. During the use of an elliptical machine an additional 20% is used by the upper body.

The user should take caution simply due to the fact that a higher heart rate is achieved when using lower and upper body resistance during aerobic exercise. This can often times result in someone obtaining a heart rate that is higher than recommended.

Another terrific benefit of the elliptical machine is related to the non-impact designed into its movement. Individuals who have arthritis, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, etc., all can benefit from this smooth striding design.

Running on a treadmill can take it toll on the joints and often the exercise is cut short for the endurance of pain and not just the fatigue alone.

Some research as indicated that using an elliptical trainer in a reversed direction, actually help strengthen the anterior cruciate ligament and other parts of the knee. Of course the same effect is reached by using a treadmill and walking backwards, but the steady movement associated with the elliptical machine provides this ability to the less coordinated individual.

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Elliptical Vs. Treadmill Or Stair Climber
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For the in-home user, the elliptical machine has a better track record than the common treadmill or a stair climber. These machines rarely breakdown or need extensive servicing. They are an excellent choice for the home training gym.

Changes in current designs have made them smaller and more affordable than before. Whether you are buying this for your home or a gym, make sure that you can use the elliptical machine in both a forward and backwards motion.

When using these types of equipment, it is always best to have some type of heart rate monitoring available to determine your target heart rates. Many of the machines manufactured today come with built in units designed to monitor the heart rate.

Exercising at too high of a heart rate for too long will result in your body raising cortisol levels. This results in you actually gaining fat instead of trying to remove it from your body. This is a problem seen all too often in most of the gyms around the world.

The Elliptical Machine Has A Better Track Record In The Common Treadmill Or A Stair Climber.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
The Elliptical Machine Has A Better Track Record
Than The Common Treadmill Or A Stair Climber.

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Choosing An Elliptical Machine
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To purchase one of these machines for your home, make sure that the movement stimulates walking. When your left leg is forward, the right arm should also be forward and then vice versa. If your elliptical machine has your right arm going forward at the same time that your right leg is going forward, it actually results in a situation that affects your coordination.

Make a solid choice for a commercial gym and find a machine that has a strong durable frame and a foot contact surface that is easy to clean and doesn't show wear. Most of these machines do not break down very easily so purchasing an elaborate maintenance contract is usually not necessary.

It is easy to add some diversity to using this machine. Instead of just pushing the handles forward and backwards, it is easy to hand your client a couple of dumbbells and have them push them over their heads in direct timing with the movements of the legs. As the right leg goes forward, the left arm goes up and vice versa.

Another great tip to pass on to your clients is to spend 10 minutes using the elliptical machine in a forward direction and then spend another 10 minutes using the elliptical in the reverse direction.

RELATED POLL
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