Jan 10, 2017

What to Know before Buying An Elliptical

What is an Elliptical?

Getting in shape is a lot easier and much more fun when you have an elliptical machine in your home. They look like an exercise bike crossed with a stair climbing machine. Though you might think that these machines are only available in gyms, many manufacturers now make designs that you can use in your own home.

Pedals on the bottom support your lower body and give you a place to rest your feet. When you rest your hands on the handles on the top of the machine, your body aligns perfectly. Many also come with a touchscreen that allows you to make changes to your workout routine. If you want to buy an elliptical machine, you need to know the following first.

What to Look for When Buying One

The most important thing to look for in an elliptical machine is one that runs smoothly. It should glide as you move without any kickback. If the trainer bounces even slightly as you move, it can put too much pressure on your ankles and leave you feeling uncomfortable.

You’ll also want to check the flywheel. It’s the wheel inside the machine that keeps it stable as you increase your speed or range of motion. A machine that comes with a heavier flywheel will easily keep up with you. Machines that have a lighter flywheel may shake slightly when you climb on or move as you move.

You should also look at the stride length of the machine. This should be slightly longer than your natural stride. More basic models come with a stride length of just 14-inches, which is shorter than a normal human stride. Machines with a stride length of 21-inches or more are better for most people.

Don’t forget to look closely at the display on the elliptical too. When you want to change your settings or check on the time remaining in your workout, you should be able to with the touch of a button. The screen should also keep track of how many calories you burned in a recent session, how long you worked out and other simple facts. You can read reviews online to see how accurate the displays on these machines really are.

Top Brands

One of the top brands is Sole Fitness. They make elliptical machines that come with all the bells and whistles. Sole Fitness gets top marks from users because their machines let you adjust the intensity of your workout without putting pressure on your lower body. Its E95 Elliptical Machine has some of the highest online ratings, but it comes with a price tag of about $2,000.

If you need to save even more money, look at an elliptical from Schwinn. Though many know Schwinn for their bicycles, their elliptical machines are just as dependable and come with some high-tech features like a backlit display that allows you to easily see the screen. Some models come with programs that keep track of your performance too.

Another top brand that you might recognize is Nautilus, which is the same company that sells exercise equipment on television. Its E614 is one of the top elliptical machines in the $1,000 to $1,500 range. Many of its models come with a large LCD display on the top and a smaller screen that helps you track your progress while in the middle of a workout.

Pros of Elliptical Machines

•Elliptical machines let you can change the resistance based on how you want to train.
•Adding more resistance will help you get your back and lower body in shape even faster.
•A screen keeps track of your daily workouts and lets you see how many calories you burned or how long you worked out in a single session.
•Some will track your progress from your first session to show your improvement.
•Elliptical machines are suitable for users of all fitness levels.
•You can workout at home when it’s raining or snowing outside.
•Using an elliptical regularly can build up your stamina.

Cons of Using an Elliptical Machine

•Many models only work your arms and lower body without working your midsection.
•Some machines only work your lower body without helping you tone your arms or straighten your back and posture.
•Elliptical machines may be too intense for those with hip or knee problems and can put too much pressure on those joints.
•The high price tags can turn off some as the more advanced models can easily cost $1,000 or more.
•Some models are so bulky and heavy that you cannot move them easily.

Health Benefits

The more you weigh, the more susceptible you are to certain health conditions like high cholesterol and high blood pressure. You may even find yourself at risk of developing diabetes. Losing even 10% of your total weight can significantly reduce your risks of developing these conditions. Using an elliptical machine can help you lose that 10% and even more.

Elliptical machines are perfect for those new to exercising because you can adjust the settings based on your skills and strengths. You can start out on the lowest setting and slowly work your way up to increase your stamina.

Working out on an elliptical machine can also get your heart rate up, which will help you break a sweat and get more active. Many find that they can more easily tone their lower bodies with an elliptical.

Some exercise machines put far too much pressure on your joints, which can lead to arthritis or cause general aches and pains. Elliptical machines reduce this pressure and still help you get in a workout. Some claim that using one can reduce your risk of developing osteoarthritis.

If you experience pain in your lower back, using an elliptical machine can also reduce some of that pain. They change the way you stand while working out and help align your back with your feet and legs. The taller and straighter you stand, the less pain you feel in your back, and you may even reduce your risk of developing sciatica problems.

Now that you know the pros and cons, benefits and what to look for, start shopping for an elliptical machine that you can bring home today.

RAYBON / Shutterstock.com

RAYBON / Shutterstock.com

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