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Elliptical Exercise Equipment

Updated on July 12, 2009

What Is An Elliptical Trainer?

Elliptical exercise equipment – also known as a cross trainer or an elliptical – is a stationary exercise machine that simulates the natural process of walking or running in a low-impact environment. It offers users a cardiovascular workout that is based on the resistance intensity set by the user, and it is a great machine to use when attempting to tone muscles and lose weight.  

Most elliptical trainers nowadays have both upper and lower body workout options.  They plug into a standard electrical socket in order to power the computer console that is included on the machine.  The computer console helps you develop a workout program that is designed around your particular needs whether they are a cardiovascular workout, an interval training workout, or a weight loss workout.

Types of Elliptical Trainers

Ellipticals can be front drive or rear drive and this simply refers to the position of the exercise machines drive mechanism.  Some models allow you to adjust the incline of the pedals for more resistance, while others simply adjust the resistance through the computer that sets it based on the information you give it.  These machines are primarily driven by the lower body but have handle-levers that move in a similar motion to ski poles to give you an upper body workout.  A good elliptical cross trainer will allow a user to work the arms and legs equally once they find their ‘stride’, making this machine perfect for a total body workout.

A elliptical workout helps burn more calories than most other stationary exercise machines because of the dual action between the upper and lower body.  They are becoming more and more popular in the global gym and fitness club scene, and there have been places that reported lines of people waiting to use them.  They are gentle on the body, help improve user’s motor fitness and balance and are very easy to use.  Users should always move in a controlled and smooth motion and the body should remain aligned, the back straight, and the weight evenly distributed for the optimal benefits all good cardio exercise equipment provides. 

The Difference Between An Elliptical Trainer And A Treadmill

The treadmill appeals to the walker and the runner.  The elliptical appeals to someone who wants a little more resistance in their workout.  Both have benefits of their own. Which one is right for you?  Only you can decide that. 

The treadmill works by users walking, jogging, or running on a device with endless tread belt.  They are designed to help simulate hill climbing and can accommodate users up to a certain weight.  Commercial treadmills are not as limited on the amount of weight they can handle as home versions are.  High-end home treadmills, however, are comparable to a commercial machine.  Treadmills help you burn calories, build up bone density, maintain your cardiovascular health, and increase your energy level. 

You can select a pre-set program to help challenge you or you can manually control the rate of the tread belt.  The surface provides more cushioning for runners and they help you work your way into a new exercise program.  If you enjoy running, treadmills are the perfect option to make sure you get your exercise no matter what the weather.

Elliptical fitness machines allow a user to burn calories and exercise much in the same way as a treadmill but without risking injury to the back, knees, hips or ankles.  Why?  Your feet never leave the pedals of the trainer.  It is a low-impact exercise device that is easy on the joints and it has been compared to running on air.  Cross trainers are great for older individuals who want to exercise or who are recovering from a joint injury.  They mimic the normal movement of the foot, the extension of the leg, and the rotating of the hip when you walk or run. 

The handlebars move as well in a motion similar to the movement that would be made by a cross-country skier.  This provides you with an upper body exercise that will help tone your arms and back muscles.  Ellipticals work the upper and lower body at the same time, thereby boosting your heart rate and giving you an excellent workout.

Always check with your physician before starting any new exercise regimen on all stamina exercise equipment, and ask if an elliptical exerciser is right for you.

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