Benefits and Side Effects of Elliptical Machines

Shayla Whitter

If you’re like most people, the elliptical seems like the perfect workout machine. It’s easy to use and doesn’t require any special equipment or skills. But what you may not know is that there are some potential side effects associated with using the elliptical machine.

According to the American Council on Exercise, elliptical trainers have seen the greatest increase in popularity among cardio machines since their introduction in the mid-1990s. They provide an elliptical motion that is similar to both running and cycling. 

While elliptical trainers have many positive applications, they may not be the best choice for everyone or serve as a sufficient substitute for other forms of exercise.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the possible side effects of using an elliptical and offer some tips for avoiding them. So if you’re thinking about adding an elliptical machine to your home gym, be sure to read on!

What is an Elliptical Machine?

Elliptical machines were first introduced to the public in the mid-1990s and have been successful among cardiovascular equipment ever since.

These machines can provide an elliptical motion to our body, which is like a blend of running and cycling without putting too much pressure on the joints.

Today elliptical machines are widely used in homes and gyms. The main reason behind their popularity is that they train both your upper and lower body without stressing your body too much.

The elliptical machine is the perfect option if you’re not a fitness freak and want to stay fit without lifting heavy weights.

Benefits of Elliptical Machines

Using an elliptical machine can help you gain quite a lot of benefits. Here are some of the most important ones that one must look out for when choosing a suitable exercise machine:

It Burns a Lot of Calories

Elliptical machines are beneficial when it comes to burning more calories in a short amount of time.

With 30 to 40 minutes of workout on an elliptical machine, you can burn about 270-400 calories. The calorie rate can be different depending on how much you weigh. You can burn calories quickly by staying consistent and doing scheduled elliptical workouts.

Low Impact Workouts

Elliptical machines provide light exercises without stressing out the body.

Your knees and ankles can start hurting due to running or other high-impact cardio exercises, and these issues can increase as time passes.

This is where elliptical machines come in; professional runners or people suffering from arthritis or injuries use these machines to train their cardiovascular system by putting less stress on the joints.

A 2014 study shows that a typical Elliptical workout is less weight-bearing than any other cardio exercises like jogging and similar activities.

Provides a full-body workout

The elliptical machine is excellent for toning the muscles in the arms and legs, making it great exercise equipment for working out the upper and lower body.

You exercise your muscles by using the handles with your arms and the pedals with your legs. This causes your muscles to contract and relax.

Using the machine properly will assist you in distributing your weight evenly and may even add resistance to your workout.

Elliptical machines are excellent for strengthening various muscles, including hamstrings, calves, glutes, back, chest, and core.

Easy to use

An elliptical machine is pretty easy to use; with experience, you’ll learn more about its different features and adjustments. But you should ask for a trainer’s guidance if you’re a newbie.

A trainer can help you learn how to use it and give you tips on a workout that may be best for your fitness aim.

Related Article: 4 Surprising Benefits of Riding a Recumbent Bike

Side effects of Elliptical machines

While elliptical machines are a great way to get a low-impact workout, there are some potential side effects that users should be aware of before buying them.

The following are the cons of elliptical machine:

Not beneficial for Increasing Bone Density

When you’re running, the impact that your feet experience boosts your bone density. A benefit that elliptical machines can’t provide. Bone density is very important if you’re at risk for osteoporosis, a disease in which bones become so weak that they can break easily.

Not Beneficial for Muscle Building.

Elliptical machines are great for cardiovascular workouts but not for muscle building, especially when it comes to upper-body muscle formation.

The workout will burn calories, make you sweat, your legs will be jelly, and you might even find it hard to breathe, but strength-building is not the thing you’ll be doing there.

If you’re someone looking to build muscles and upper body strength, ellipticals are not your thing.

You might see those bulked-up bodybuilders riding ellipticals, but don’t believe everything you see. That’s not how they built those muscles.

Yes, you can build leg muscles, but that’s also restricted to the beginner level. But never think of using an elliptical machine as a full-body workout appliance. It’d be better if you scheduled another workout for your upper body.

Develops Poor Workout Habits

An elliptical is extremely beneficial, but at the same time, it can make you a bit lazy and develop some poor workout habits that may become a problem for your fitness goals.

For example, you can’t switch between forward and reverse to target different muscles.

Your feet may go numb due to pressure on your toes.

Resistance at zero level only gives you a little challenge.

Your workout remains the same every day, which may be harmful to other muscles for getting less workout time.

So Monotonous That You’d Want to Give Up

Cardio workouts are famous for being monotonous, but ellipticals are the rulers of all.

While using a treadmill, you can, in fact, mix a lot of things. For example, you can change the incline feature and change speeds.

Ellipticals also have incline features, but you can never compare them with a treadmill. In short, they are unapologetically dull. The ROM (range of motion) while using these machines never changes.

So, if you really want to use ellipticals, make sure you go online and look for some HIIT that includes sprints and slow intervals so that it can be a bit more interesting.

It May Worsen the Injury.

Elliptical trainers are most beneficial when it comes to a leg injury due to the low-impact workout.

However: if there is a pre-existing knee injury or some special condition with the bones, it might make things worse due to the movement.

Because the body’s weight is distributed on the machine, the pre-existing knee injury may get irritated. So those who have this problem should choose a stationary bike instead of an elliptical machine.

Elliptical Machines Are Not All Evil

Don’t be alarmed; elliptical trainers don’t have a completely bad reputation.

If it didn’t live up to the claims that were being made about it, how could it have gained so much popularity?

When used consistently, an elliptical machine can assist users in losing a significant amount of weight. If you want to burn off some extra calories and get rid of some excess fat, then this piece of equipment is the perfect one for you to use.

The results you get from using this exercise equipment are, of course, going to depend on various factors, including your age, gender, weight, and level of determination.

The device itself is compact enough to be used frequently in the comfort of one’s own home. This indicates that you will have the opportunity to catch up on your television shows while you are working out.

Consider Both Sides

Consider the following scenario: you have the goal of going to the gym, losing some weight, cutting back on some calories, and possibly even toning some of your body parts.

If you were to look at the elliptical machine, your first thought might be that this is the best machine for you to use. However, you should look for other options.

Swimming, for instance, is one such activity that can guarantee you some much-needed cardiovascular exercises and also help you build a lot of strength simultaneously!

You could also give running on a treadmill a shot and push your body to its absolute limit.

What’s the point?

There are some people who should not use an elliptical machine because their objectives may not be met by doing so. Before you go out and buy exercise equipment, make sure you give some thought to your current state of health and have a clear goal in mind.

Take Away

Ellipticals are an excellent option for beginners, people who can’t do high-intensity workouts, or simply need to keep that belly in because they’re easy to use and safe most of the time.

However, if you’re looking to bulk up and make muscles, you may want to add some other workouts to your routine. It’s better to go for weight training for muscle building as it involves the whole body, helps muscle formation, and isn’t boring!

Elliptical machines aren’t challenging enough, and looking into other activities like cycling or running might be a better option to get in shape ASAP.


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