Elliptical Machines

Written by Beth Hrusch
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Ellipticals can be used to add variety to your fitness routine. The rising popularity of this piece of exercise equipment is largely due to the fact that the user can get a cardio workout with very little impact on the joints. Elliptical machines combine motions similar to running, stepping and cross country skiing to work the heart and muscles at an aerobic level.

A Total Body Workout

Ellipticals vary in the features that they offer. A dual action elliptical will have handles that move back and forth to work the arms and upper body. Combined with the treading motion provided by the pedals, these machines give a total body workout that burns as many calories as running or brisk walking. The pedals on ellipticals move in an oval pattern to eliminate stress on the joints that occurs when using a traditional treadmill.

Ellipticals may also have stationary handles that do not move. These machines will give a lower body workout that keeps the arms from getting tired. Upgrades include consoles that keep track of miles and calories burned and adjustable inclines. The incline angle of the deck can be adjusted so that the beginner can gradually increase the intensity of the exercise. A steeper incline will build muscle in the calves and legs more quickly.

One of the advantages of ellipticals is the fact that they can be used by people of all fitness levels. When used properly, they will provide a good cardio workout without straining the muscles. Beginners should start slowly with low-level aerobic exercise and make sure to stretch before and after each session. For home use, there are many well-built ellipticals now on the market, giving everyone the chance to get a health club-quality workout without the membership fee.

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