Elliptical trainers are the hottest of the hot in fitness equipment. They are easy to use, and provide a great workout. Using an elliptical machine will give you a great cardio workout, similar to that of running, and will tone your lower body as well. And, because the impact is less than that of walking, even those of us with not so great knees can use an elliptical trainer without pain. Many people are finding the elliptical trainer to be such a great workout that they aren't interested in doing anything else. However, no one machine can give the perfect workout. So, how does the elliptical machine stack up against other ways of working out? Well, if you take a closer look, you'll find that elliptical training has distinct advantages, but a few disadvantages too.
One of the great benefits of elliptical trainers is that it provides an aerobic workout through a weight bearing exercise. Running does this, of course, but working out on an elliptical trainer provides an impact to your joints comparable to walking. In addition, many people report that working out on an elliptical trainer feels like less work than working out on a treadmill. Plus, if you use the upper poles on the elliptical machine, you are working your upper body as well. With a treadmill, you get no upper body workout.
Serious Runners Take Note
But, what if you are training for a marathon? Here's where a treadmill has a real advantage over the elliptical. If you are training to be a runner, you need to run. The gliding motion of the elliptical machine won't provide you training comparable to running in terms of preparation for a race.
Another issue you should consider is your need to build muscle. If you are looking to build bulk, you will still need to lift weights. Elliptical trainers provide great cardio workouts, and are great for toning your legs and arms, but they won't build bulk. For a complete training regimen, it is best to alternate using the elliptical trainer with weight machines and free weights a few days a week.
Impact Is Not All Bad
One final issue about elliptical trainers - the very thing that makes them great also has its own disadvantage. Elliptical trainers are so popular because they provide a low impact workout. But impact has its advantages, especially if you don't have knee problems. Your body responds to the shock of the impact of exercise by building new bone cells, thereby increasing your bone density. So, if your knees are healthy enough to withstand the impact, running will protect your bone health in the long run.
The most important issue when it comes to any exercise is longevity. You need to find an exercise that you can stick with. If you have joint or knee problems, an elliptical trainer can allow you to workout more easily than other weight bearing exercises. But, if you love to run, and are healthy enough to do so, the elliptical trainer might not be for you. It is beneficial to try out both machines, and, if you're buying a machine, be sure to check out elliptical trainer reviews as well as those on treadmills. Be assured that both can help you improve your cardiovascular health, lose weight, and gain overall fitness.
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Mike Singh is a fitness instructor and writer, who
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