By: Matt Weik
When it comes to pieces of cardio equipment, each style and piece seems to have its own set of positives and negatives. You have the bike which is great assuming you don’t have any lower back issues, you have the treadmill, which is great if you don’t have knee problems… the list goes on and on. But what about the elliptical? Could the elliptical be your best bet when doing cardio? Let’s discuss this idea.
Below, I want to show some of the many benefits that can be achieved by using an elliptical to improve your health and aid in weight loss. They are listed in no particular order – it’s simply a running tally of showing some of the key benefits.
If you have any type of knee, hip, or ankle issues, the elliptical could be your saving grace when it comes to getting in some cardiovascular exercise. Unlike the treadmill which causes an excessive and repetitive pounding to your joints, the elliptical provides a smooth movement that eliminates any pounding that can irritate the joints and even the lower back.
Preventing wear and tear on your body is key to longevity and the elliptical can help provide you with a form of cardio that you can always count on to provide a great workout while also allowing you to walk away and wake up the next morning without feeling like your 97 years old.
An Airdyne bike (a fantastic piece of equipment) and row machine are really two of the only other pieces of cardio equipment out there that work both the upper and lower body muscles to engage more total musculature to help burn calories. Those who have lower back issues may find they have issues with the rowing machine and Airdyne bike and therefore the elliptical machine could be your best bet.
The elliptical puts you in a more upright position and keeps your body aligned. Add in the fact that you’re using your lower body and upper body to cause movement provides a great total body workout.
If you are looking to double up as a great cardio session while also getting in a little resistance training, the elliptical can help you accomplish both. Obviously, to effectively hit the lower body muscles (calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes), you will need to increase the resistance on the elliptical as well as change both the incline level and the direction of your movement depending on what you are looking to specifically target.
When you are moving in a forward motion or you increase the incline of the elliptical, you can feel it working the quadriceps and even your calves. When you reverse things as if you were walking or running backward, you may feel it more effectively in both the hamstrings as well as the glutes. Therefore, if you want to target specific areas of your lower body, the elliptical is a great piece of equipment to be utilizing for your cardio sessions.
The elliptical (much like the treadmill in functionality and default programs) allows for varying workout intensities, programs, and training styles. Sure, you could simply go through the motions without much of any intensity at all, but then you also shouldn’t be expecting drastic results from your (lack) of effort. With that being said, the elliptical is a great and effective way of kicking things up several notches with some high- and low-intensity intervals.
HIIT (high-intensity interval training) would be a great training method to implement on an elliptical thanks to the lack of pounding on the joints and the fluidity of the machine. If you have tried HIIT outdoors in a grassy area or on the concrete, you know firsthand the pounding it puts on your body. Using an elliptical allows the movement to stay smooth even when you kick things up several notches.
It should go without saying, but the more effort you put into your cardio session while using an elliptical, the greater the overall benefits you can yield such as an increase in the caloric burn as well as the ability to shed unwanted body fat. Harvard actually found that through the use of an elliptical, you can burn anywhere from 270 to 400 calories in just 30 minutes (dependent on how much the individual weighs). The greater your intensity, the greater the number of calories you can burn each cardio session
Regardless of the form of cardio you prefer, it’s no secret that various forms of cardio are great for boosting stamina, endurance, and can improve heart health. The stronger your cardiovascular health, the better chance you have of living a long and healthy life.
Your heart and your lungs aren’t exactly a focal point during your workouts that you think about like you do specific muscles with resistance training, yet they are vital for overall health (and obviously, life). Through focusing on cardiovascular training, you will find everyday activities less taxing on the body. For instance, walking up a flight of stairs may no longer cause you to be huffing and puffing by the time you reach the top.
Do you want to take things to the next level? On top of cleaning up your nutrition and crushing your workouts, consider implementing MPA VasoBurn into your cardio sessions. VasoBurn is an advanced topical gel that can be applied directly to the skin to help tighten the skin and increase overall firmness – helping you to achieve that lean physique you desire. VasoBurn can also help thin the skin which can assist you with showing off your musculature as well as vascularity.
Simply apply MPA VasoBurn to the skin after showing and rub it thoroughly into those problem areas. Some common areas where VasoBurn has been used include the abs, glutes, hamstrings, thighs, chest, and lower back.
Eliminate trouble areas with the help of MPA VasoBurn and help turn your weaknesses and insecurities into your best assets!
Matt Weik, the owner of Weik Fitness, LLC, is a well-respected fitness expert/author with a global following. His work has been featured all over the globe as well as having published numerous books. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer, and sports nutritionist. Find out more at www.weikfitness.com or on social media @weikfitness.