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.