Sometimes it can be really difficult to know exactly what machine would be the best fit for your needs. A treadmill is often the obvious choice because it’s seen as a traditional option that you can’t go wrong with, but for many people it’s not the best candidate! Before you invest in a cardio machine, take the time to consider the lesser-known members of the family – the rowing machine, the stationary bike and the elliptical trainer. Each has their own merits, but this article will explore the elliptical trainer (or cross-trainer) in more depth. Read on to discover three reasons why an elliptical trainer might be the best cardio machine for you.
Do you: have injuries or joint pain?
Treadmills are great for cardiovascular fitness, but if you have existing joint or muscle problems they can have a jarring effect. This is particularly true for people with issues in their lower body – elliptical trainers take a lot of the impact away from the hips, knees and ankles, and offer one fluid motion with an optional level of resistance.
Do you: want to tone your legs?
Elliptical machines are great for toning your lower body thanks to their repetitive motion combined with resistance. Add to that the fact that they are great for increasing your heart rate and burning fat, and they are the perfect accessory to getting strong, healthy legs. Don’t just pedal normally, though; mix it up by reversing your motion and really target your glutes. Also have a play around with your body positioning. Drop back in a squat position to feel your quads burn, or go on your toes to hit your calves. Adding some variety into your elliptical workout can leave you feeling like you’ve just hit your lower body in a whole new way.
Do you: want a whole-body cardio workout?
When you run or cycle, your arms often just help you balance or hold onto a bar – not when you’re on a cross-trainer. The active motion and associated resistance means you have to use your arms, helping you engage more of your body (and burn lots of calories!). You also have to use your core so you don’t end up on the floor. This one cardio machine really can help you achieve your fitness goals, especially if you change it up by using interval training – base your intervals off speed, resistance, or both!
Don’t fall into the ‘treadmill trap’. There are many benefits to using other cardio equipment which can have a positive impact on your entire life. Whether you’re looking at injury rehabilitation, toning or improving your fitness level, the elliptical trainer really can help you reach your goals.
If you’re interested in purchasing an elliptical trainer, make sure you get a quality brand that gives you the opportunity to add variety to your workouts – specialist retailers like Fitness Market can provide great machines that will be perfect for your home gym. Have you used a cross-trainer before? What did you think of it?
Image courtesy of Stock Images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net