Elliptical Machine

As a great alternative to the treadmill, the elliptical offers a replication of the walking/running motion but without one major factor: the impact. Elliptical machines are designed to allow for minimal impact with no footfall action. Individuals with knees problems or spine related issues may find the elliptical machine more suitable to their exercise equipment needs.

Elliptical machines offer similar features to those of treadmills. Aside from the low impact there is one very large difference between elliptical machines and treadmills; elliptical machines allow you do go backwards. While going backwards may seem like an unnatural motion, it targets specific muscles in the legs that are not normally used during standard bipedal locomotion. Another feature elliptical machines offer is that some have moving "arms" that are held by the hands and move opposite the foot holds. While not all elliptical machines are created equally, they generally have the following in common:

  • Adjustable speeds
  • Adjustable incline levels
  • Emergency stopping equipment
  • Calorie usage estimator
  • Distance display
  • Built-in heart rate monitor
  • Reverse motion for plyometric exercise
  • Moving arms (optional)

Elliptical machines are not as popular as treadmills but can be found in most gym as well as in home gyms. Due to the weight of these machines, it is often advised to have assistance when moving the device from one location to another.

Pros of the elliptical:

  • Allows for year round running in any climate
  • Ability to track exact distances
  • Able to set workout routines such as flat surface or hill runs
  • Heart rate monitor allows for target heart rate zone tracking
  • Allow for a low impact workout
  • Makes use of arms while exercising

Cons of the elliptical:

  • May become boring/monotonous as there is no change of scenery
  • Maintenance costs
  • Due to low impact, not as effective at toning muscles in the lower body as a high impact piece of equipment like a treadmill
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