What’s up, people?
Today we’re talking about a machine that doesn’t get anywhere near as much love as it should – the elliptical machine.
To be precise, we’re looking at several elliptical machine benefits.
Everybody has their own favorite piece of cardio equipment in the gym, just as everyone has their least favorite.
One piece of cardio equipment that doesn’t receive anywhere near as much love as it should do, though, is the elliptical machine, which we’re looking at today.
In terms of popularity, people often find themselves drawn to treadmills and exercise bikes when looking for cardio-based workouts.
Other machines such as the elliptical machine, don’t get a look in, and that is such a shame.
The elliptical machine doesn’t get anywhere near as much love as it should, and we want to change that, which is why we’re listing several benefits that you probably didn’t even know about.
Check them out, and let us know what you think.
- 1 Hang On, What Is An Elliptical Machine?
- 2 The History Of The Elliptical Machine:
- 3 What Are The Elliptical Machine Benefits?
- 3.1 1. Elliptical Machines Burn Fat
- 3.2 2. Great For The Joints
- 3.3 3. Easy To Use
- 3.4 4. Elliptical Machines Offer Something Different
- 3.5 5. Elliptical Machines Will Enhance Your Fitness Levels
- 3.6 6. Work The Upper And Lower Body
- 3.7 7. Helps Promote Sleep
- 3.8 8. Helps Improve Mental Health
- 3.9 9. Great For Your Legs
- 3.10 10. Elliptical Machines Will Boost Your Balance
- 3.11 11. Strengthen Your Core
- 3.12 12. Great For Rehabbing Injuries
- 3.13 13. Can Be Done Outside Of The Gym
- 3.14 14. Very Easy To Maintain
- 3.15 15. Plenty Of Workout Options Available
- 3.16 16. Plenty Of Gadgets And Gizmos
- 3.17 17. Great For The Heart
- 4 The Bottom Line:
Hang On, What Is An Elliptical Machine?
Before we can start looking at the many benefits which are out there to be enjoyed, we first need to look at what an elliptical machine is.
An elliptical machine also known as a cross-trainer, or a cross-trainer machine is a very common piece of cardio equipment that is found in most commercial gyms up and down the country, and indeed the world.
An elliptical machine is a stationary piece of cardio equipment that is like a hybrid between a treadmill and an exercise bike.
Users hold onto large handles attached to a pedal and either side and they will row with their hands and legs, to mimic a motion that is almost like cross country skiing.
The History Of The Elliptical Machine:
Right, well, hopefully, the description above has covered what an elliptical machine is and why it’s so awesome for anybody looking to lose weight?
Despite elliptical machines now being a staple part of any gym’s cardio equipment section, this hasn’t always been the case.
To help you learn more about why elliptical machines are so popular, here’s a look at a brief history of these fantastic pieces of kit.
Sometimes known as a cross trainer, an elliptical machine is now probably the second most popular piece of cardio equipment you could find in a gym, second only to a treadmill.
Whereas some pieces of gym equipment can be traced back hundreds upon hundreds of years, the history of an elliptical machine goes back a much shorter period of time than that.
In fact, elliptical machines came about in the 1990s.
Because of the pattern that the pedals make when you exercise with the machine, the term ‘elliptical’ was used as the pedals formed a sort of oval/egg shape.
In the mid-1990s, a rudimentary exercise machine that primarily worked the lower body was developed.
In 1995, a fitness equipment manufacturing company developed a version of this machine that worked the upper body, along with the lower body.
A Machine For All Abilities:
When the version of the elliptical machine which we know and love today was developed, it was a huge hit in the fitness industry, due largely to the fact that it provided a much easier cardiovascular workout than treadmills, without putting stress or pressure on the joints.
What impressed people the most, however, was just how user-friendly it was.
The machine was easy to use, you could easily adjust the resistance, and it proved to be just as effective for complete fitness newbies as it was for seasoned and experienced fitness fanatics.
The very early iterations of the elliptical machine had fixed, upright handlebars that you held onto when exercising, but which didn’t move.
The idea was purely to keep you held steady and balanced as you used the machine.
A few years later, the design was tweaked by US company Smooth Fitness, to make the handles mobile, allowing you to work your upper body as well as your lower body.
The First Elliptical Patent:
Despite ellipticals coming to prevalence in the mid/late 1990s, it wasn’t until 2004 that the first patent for an elliptical machine came about.
General Motors employee Larry D. Miller patented the design in 1994 after watching his daughter running beside his car when he was driving.
He noticed how, when running, her body resembled the shape of an ellipse (oval shape).
Fitness manufacturing company Precor Inc purchased the patent from Miller and would then go on to develop and add their own elliptical machine to their hugely popular EFX line.
Now, elliptical machines were everywhere and were a staple piece of cardio in gyms worldwide.
To this day, there are over 100 different elliptical machine models in use in the USA alone, varying hugely in terms of prices, designs, and specs.
One thing that is for sure, however, is that they have withstood the test of time and that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
What Are The Elliptical Machine Benefits?
Now that we know what they are, let’s now take a look at what makes them so awesome.
Here are several tried and tested benefits.
1. Elliptical Machines Burn Fat
Unless you’re a very fortunate individual, chances are you will have had to try to lose weight at some point in your life.
If you have, you won’t need us to tell you just how difficult it is.
If you are looking to burn fat, elliptical machines are fantastic pieces of equipment that will allow you to do precisely that.
Elliptical machines burn calories and get your heart rate up, making them ideal for weight loss.
Whereas numbers vary from person to person, a typical 60-minute workout on a cross-trainer could easily burn off upwards of 450 calories, if not considerably more.
2. Great For The Joints
If you deal with painful and sore joints, you’ll know how painful running can be.
Running can put the ankles, knees, and hips under a great deal of strain and pressure, plus there’s also the risk of shin splints and other conditions.
With an elliptical machine, though, these joint issues are no longer issues.
Elliptical machines are stationary, which means that you don’t lift your feet up and down so they receive no impact.
As elliptical machines are such low-impact machines, this makes them ideal for the joint, exactly like the stair climber machine.
3. Easy To Use
User-friendliness is very important in the world of fitness, and you don’t get much user-friendlier than an elliptical machine.
Some machines in the gym are so complicated you need a diagram just to see which muscles they work, let alone how to use them.
With an elliptical machine, using the machine couldn’t be easier.
Furthermore, altering the resistance is as simple as pressing a button, and you can’t get much better than that.
4. Elliptical Machines Offer Something Different
If you’re fed up with using the treadmill and exercise bikes every single time you train but still want to get your cardio in, elliptical machines are perfect.
Another unexpected benefit is the fact that they offer the user something different and something unique when working out.
It’s nice to switch up your routine every once in a while, and elliptical machines certainly help you to do precisely that.
5. Elliptical Machines Will Enhance Your Fitness Levels
If you’re looking to improve your fitness levels and boost your stamina and your endurance, elliptical machines will help you to do exactly that.
Elliptical machines provide aerobic exercise which will boost blood flow and oxygen transportation and increase overall VO2 max levels.
This is basically the amount of oxygen your cells can metabolize for energy when working out, and obviously the more they can use, the more energy you’ll have and the fitter you will be.
6. Work The Upper And Lower Body
There aren’t many cardio machines that will help you to work both the upper, and the lower body muscles simultaneously, yet the elliptical machine allows for exactly that.
Elliptical machines are great in this regard, especially when using a weighted vest because as you’re pedaling with your legs, you are also pumping your arms and working the shoulders, arms, core, and upper back.
Rolling all of this together and you can see why people that use this machine regularly often have impressive upper and lower bodies.
7. Helps Promote Sleep
If you suffer from insomnia or simply find that you struggle to sleep well at night, using the elliptical machine could help greatly.
Elliptical machines burn calories, which means that they burn off energy, and the more energy you use, the more tired you will feel.
Not only that, but exercise also promotes an increase in the production of hormones that help regulate sleep patterns and cycles.
If you are struggling to sleep, why not start working out with an elliptical machine?
8. Helps Improve Mental Health
Another fantastic benefit that we need to look at today is the fact that these machines help to boost your mental health.
Elliptical machines, and indeed any other form of exercise, help to promote the production and secretion of endorphins.
Endorphins are known as ‘happy chemicals’ due to the fact that they lift your mood and make you feel happy.
If you suffer from poor mental health, or simply feel as if you need a lift, elliptical machines are ideal.
9. Great For Your Legs
Whereas we’ve already looked at how elliptical machines will work your entire body, if you are trying to improve the size and strength of your legs, elliptical machines are perfect.
When you use an elliptical machine, your quads and hamstrings are engaged, along with your calves and glutes.
Over time, this will add size and definition to your legs while also improving your glutes as well, so you can have a great butt in the process.
10. Elliptical Machines Will Boost Your Balance
If your balance and mobility could use a little, or a lot, of work, an elliptical machine will be right up your street.
With an elliptical machine, you are performing weight-bearing exercises which will not only help to strengthen your bones and joints but will also improve your balance as well.
To really improve your balance and mobility, don’t hold onto the handles or slouch forwards when using an elliptical machine.
11. Strengthen Your Core
Not only will elliptical machines improve your overall levels of balance, but they will also help to strengthen your core.
Your core is where the majority of your power is generated from, so if your core is strong, you yourself will be strong, and vice versa.
When people talk about the many benefits which are out there, it’s important that they do not overlook the core strengthening benefits of this particular machine.
Having a strong core will not only help you in the gym but will also improve your functional strength and fitness as well.
12. Great For Rehabbing Injuries
Another reason why elliptical machines are proving to be so popular is because of the fact that they’re great for rehabbing injuries.
Say, for example, you suffer from a torn Achilles tendon and are slowly trying to rehab the injury, you wouldn’t be able to run or put any weight on your foot until it had fully recovered.
Because of the fact that elliptical machines are low-impact machines, though, they distribute the weight evenly over the foot as you pedal, meaning that there are less pain and discomfort.
Furthermore, there’s also no impact from footfalls, so again, the foot is protected.
13. Can Be Done Outside Of The Gym
Of course, elliptical machines are commonly found inside gyms up and down the country and indeed, across the globe, but they’re also found in people’s garage gyms, spare rooms, and home gym setups as well.
The great thing about elliptical machines is the fact that you can purchase decent quality ones for very affordable prices which means that you can use them outside of the gym.
If you don’t have time to visit a gym, or if you just don’t want to, you can purchase an elliptical machine and use it in the comfort of your own home with no fuss whatsoever.
14. Very Easy To Maintain
Some of the latest treadmills and pieces of gym kit are equipped with expensive motors and computers which, when they malfunction, are not only expensive to repair, but they’re also very complicated.
One of the lesser-known benefits is the fact that they’re very easy to maintain which is great news if you own one, or several.
Simply read the troubleshooting manual and instructions, give it a bit of a greasing up when needed, and with any luck that’s all that’ll be required for the foreseeable future.
15. Plenty Of Workout Options Available
If you’re looking for a bit of a challenge as you exercise and workout on an elliptical machine, one of the best things about them is the fact that they provide plenty of workout options in the form of in-built programs.
These programs are designed to provide different benefits and mimic different activities from cross-country trekking to hiking up a steep mountain.
16. Plenty Of Gadgets And Gizmos
Another fantastic benefit of elliptical machines is the fact that they’re equipped with plenty of gadgets and gizmos.
You can sync them to your phone, they come equipped with apps, they can read your heart rate and blood pressure, you can stream music wirelessly from your phone, and plenty more on top of that.
Okay, these gadgets and this tech won’t do the work for you, but they certainly make the machines more appealing.
17. Great For The Heart
Another reason why people should seriously consider using the elliptical machine more frequently in the gym is that it is so great for the heart.
Every single year, more people die of heart-related issues than any other illness, and that trend is not slowing down.
The simple fact of the matter is that we need to look after our hearts and doing cardio on machines such as an elliptical machine is a great way to do just that.
Elliptical machines help to boost circulation, they’ll reduce blood pressure, help lower LDL cholesterol, they’ll strengthen the heart, they help to burn fat and fight obesity, and plenty more besides.
For the heart-conscious amongst you (and that should be everyone) elliptical machines are great.
The Bottom Line:
So, what’s the bottom line on elliptical machines?
Well, as you can see from the many elliptical machine benefits that we’ve covered today, these simple but effective machines are not only beneficial, but they also happen to be easy to use, versatile, and ideal for people looking to get in shape.
If you usually skip the elliptical when working out, why not give it a try the next time you train?