So far in our “Benefits of Equipment Series” we’ve discussed the many benefits that treadmills and bikes have to offer, this piece will focus on the benefits of using an elliptical. Treadmills can help you get your daily steps in, which in my opinion, is essential during this time. Being quarantined at home may increase the likelihood of neglecting our health by being more sedentary and snacking when we shouldn’t. Increasing your step goal and turning that goal into a habit can help combat the sedentary lifestyle of the quarantine as well as create healthy habits for years to come. The bike offers a great way to exercise without compromising your joint health.
Like I said above, this week’s piece will focus on the benefits of using an elliptical. Interestingly enough, the elliptical offers benefits that both the bike and the treadmill offer.
BENEFIT OF USING AN ELLIPTICAL #1: NEAT
As we discussed in our treadmill article, NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis, which is just a fancy term for non-formal exercise. Walking, folding laundry, vacuuming, and doing other chores around the house are all great examples of NEAT. However, vacuuming and folding laundry are hard to measure, so we use steps to measure our daily NEAT. With wearables like FitBit and Apple Watch, it’s easy to see what your activity has been like according to your daily steps. When the weather isn’t in your favor, having an elliptical at home can serve as a great tool to help you reach your daily steps.
To start getting more steps in, figure out what your daily average is right now, and challenge yourself by increasing that number by 1,000 steps. That is your new goal. Once that number is a habit, increase it again by another 1,000 steps.
BENEFIT OF USING AN ELLIPTICAL #2: LOW BARRIER TO ENTRY
In our treadmill piece, we discussed how running is a form of activity that actually requires a lot of practice, technique, and skill to be done properly. Without proper form, we can put ourselves at risk for aches and pains.
The benefits of using an elliptical are similar to the bike as it offers a low barrier to entry that allows anyone on the skill spectrum to get some exercise in. Whether you’re an advanced trainee or a complete beginner, the easy glide of the elliptical makes it easy to challenge your cardiovascular fitness without compromising your joints.
Not only is the movement of the elliptical easy to pick up, but adding intensity is pretty simple as well. Most ellipticals can be programmed to provide more resistance, making it more challenging for your arms to push and pull the handles. When it comes to getting more resistance, I always recommend lifting weights over any other form of exercise. However, getting a little push/pull resistance on the elliptical for a complete beginner is not a bad way to introduce your body to some form of resistance.
BENEFIT OF USING AN ELLIPTICAL#3: LOW IMPACT
As I touched on in the previous section, the elliptical is a great way to keep your joints healthy. I must be clear here. Running, jogging, jumping, and all other high(er) impact movements are not bad or unsafe in and of themselves. However, when those movements are done improperly and done when muscle imbalances are present, there certainly is a higher risk for injury. If you want to take up running, jogging, jumping, sprinting, etc., I highly recommend hiring a personal trainer for a few sessions to teach you the proper form and technique. I would also recommend asking them to assess your movement. From there they can tell you what muscle imbalances you may have, and what you need to address to keep your body healthy for the long term.
If you’re not quite ready to work through all that yet, the benefits of using an elliptical is that it provides a low-impact way to burn calories, get steps in, and slowly introduce your body to very small increments of resistance.
If you have any questions about the benefits of using an elliptical or want to learn more about our selection of ellipticals, reach out to your local Push Pedal Pull to speak with an exercise equipment expert!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam is a fitness professional, baseball fan, and cookie fanatic based in Fort Collins, Colorado. After hanging up the cleats, he found a strong interest in the human body and how it performs. Since then, Adam has been transforming lives through fitness in a fun and encouraging atmosphere. As an ACE CPT and Fitness Nutrition Specialist, he is constantly moved to help people improve in all walks of life.