14 Benefits of Elliptical Trainers and Impact on Workout
Elliptical trainers and machines have gained popularity over the last several decades especially with an aging population who may not be physically able to perform other activities due to health issues. Elliptical machines have many benefits, both physical and functional, for people of all ages over other workout machines such as a treadmill, rower, exercycle and stairclimber, although most ellipticals are designed to mimic these activities, at least to some degree.
In addition to these benefits of elliptical trainers, for those who prefer an outdoor experience to the gym, there are companies that manufacture mobile elliptical machines, which are similar to bicycles but require standing and increase weight bearing. In fact an elliptical machine can give you a powerful cardiovascular workout in less than 30 minutes.
The health benefits of elliptical trainers include:
1. Cardiovascular benefits
Elliptical machines are a great workout to elevate heart rate and allow people at any level of fitness to improve heart health. Cardio exercise strengthens the heart muscle, which increases its ability to pump blood and therefore improves overall body circulation.
2. Increased stamina
Regular exercise of any kind (at least 30 minutes 3 to 4 times a week) will eventually result in increased stamina or the ability to work longer and harder.
3. Increased energy
Studies show that people who participate in regular exercise report having more overall energy. Why? Because exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps the entire body work more efficiently.
4. Better sleep
People who exercise usually report being able to fall asleep more easily than non-exercising people and sleep deeper and longer. Just keep in mind not to exercise close to bedtime which can cause stimulation rather than relaxation.
5. Improved memory and brain function
According to a Harvard study, people who exercise have improved memory. The participants of the study walked briskly for one hour, twice a week. Most doctors recommend moderately intense exercise 5-6 days a week or 150 minutes per week. Start with a few minutes a day, and increase the amount you exercise by five or 10 minutes every week until you reach your goal. Additional studies show that yet another benefit of elliptical training is that it can help improve the outcomes in both Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Stroke.
6. Increased metabolism
The cardio benefits not only mean better heart strength but with increasing intensity of a workout and heart rate, metabolism is increased. A higher metabolism means more calorie and fat burning which makes it easier to maintain or to lose weight. High Intensity interval training (HIIT) will increase caloric burn even after one stops exercising.
7. Improved lung function
Any exercise that increases the heart rate increases respiration. Over time, the lungs become conditioned, just like the heart and other muscles, to perform at a higher level, absorb more oxygen and improve functioning of all cells in the body.
8. Weight bearing
One of the biggest benefits of elliptical training is using gravity and large muscles to perform this exercise. Weight bearing exercises increase the body’s formation of bone tissue and help prevent osteoporosis which makes bones more susceptible to breaking.
9. Full body workout
Most people are not exercise enthusiasts and prefer to just “get it over with” which is why elliptical machines are an excellent choice. Not only do they work the legs, but also the upper body and engage the core muscles which are important for supporting the entire body, improving posture, and preventing back injury and pain. Working out all the muscles of the body simultaneously maximizes effort and saves time.
10. Low impact
Elliptical machines which are a cross between standing cycling and cross country skiing are low impact and therefore help prevent wear and tear on the joints, tendons and ligaments. Keep in mind with other exercises such as running that every pound of body weight means 4 pounds of pressure on joints and your spine. So, the impact of a 200 pound man running would actually be 800 pounds of pressure which over time can cause both joint and bone erosion.
Elliptical machines are unique in that the user can move the pedals forward or backward thus using different large muscles. Reversing the elliptical motion works out the calves and hamstrings more than a forward motion.
12. Improves mobility and balance
Elliptical machines help strengthen muscles of the hips and the small secondary muscles such as the psoas. Over time not only strength but balance will improve as you improve and regain range of motion in the hips. Elliptical machines are the exercise of choice of many hospitals and rehab facilities after hip, back and knee surgery because you can easily adjust your level of intensity.
13. Better hormonal function
Hormonal balance is crucial to overall health. The endocrine system is responsible for releasing hormones which control every function in the body. Exercise affects a wide variety of hormones. Epinephrine and norepinephrine affect the sympathetic nervous system to control our fight or flight response, provide energy and control the cardiorespiratory system. Insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas, regulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism and storage as well as blood sugar. Glucagon, another pancreatic hormone which helps control blood sugar, is released in response to low blood sugar and stimulates the release of free fatty acids (FFAs) and glycogen which is a reserve energy source stored in the liver. Cortisol, which is produced by the adrenal gland, supports energy metabolism during extended periods of exercise. Human Grown Hormone (HGH) which is produced in the anterior pituitary gland is responsible for cellular growth, muscle repair, bone remineralization, proper immune function and fat metabolism. Insulin like Growth Factor (IGF) is similar in structure to insulin and supports the function of HGH to repair and promote muscle growth. Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is a neurotransmitter responsible for the production of new brain cells. Finally, testosterone, a steroid hormone produced in the testes of men and the ovaries of women with small amounts produced by the adrenal glands of both sexes, is a hormone responsible for muscle growth and repair.
14. Better mood – We’ve all had the blues at one time or another. But of all the possible “fixes” from meds or self-medicating to therapy or isolation, exercise is the best. Not only can exercise lift depression it can enhance self-esteem, and it’s definitely cheaper than any other option.
Elliptical Trainers Under 1000 Dollars
Elliptical trainers may be stationary or mobile allowing an outside experience. There are many companies that manufacture elliptical trainers. They vary in price, but most are extremely affordable with a price range between $300 to $1000. Some hybrids such as the Proform Hybrid Trainer 2 offer the benefits of a recumbent exercise bike and an elliptical, allowing variety in a low-impact cardio routine. By the way here is a good list of some elliptical trainers under 1000 dollars from Top Sports Brands.
Mobile elliptical trainers can be as inexpensive as the Wingflyer Z150 Fitness Scooter at around $325 retail to the ElliptiGO Arc 3 which retails for $999 so there is a price to fit every budget. An added benefit to elliptical machines is they are easy to maintain with few working parts and do not take up a lot of space. Here is a look at some elliptical reviews, which can be used to differentiate them. Whatever your choice, it’s certain ellipticals offer a myriad of health benefits and affordability.