Walking, running, and climbing stairs are all simple but very effective physical exercises for good health. If you prefer to do these indoors, then you need an elliptical trainer. But this piece of gym equipment can provide more than at-home workout convenience. Here are other cross trainer benefits that will have you pedalling with more gusto!
1. Joint-Friendly Exercise
If you cannot decide between a treadmill and an elliptical machine, try considering one of the essential benefits of a cross-trainer: minimal joint stress. Both pieces of equipment are ideal for mimicking running exercises. However, running on a treadmill requires you to constantly pound your ankles, heel and feet against the deck. Your feet on the elliptical, on the other hand, stay on the pedals, resulting in shock and impact-free running.
This elliptical machine benefit makes this fitness equipment an excellent choice for people with joint pain or those going through recovery. Runners or athletes who constantly train and compete using their legs and feet can also benefit from an elliptical workout. A low-impact exercise can prevent joint damage accumulation and lessen the risk of injury.
2. Efficient Weight Loss
We know that starting an exercise routine like a treadmill workout can help shed excess body weight. But what sets the elliptical trainer apart is its ability to make you perform various moves in one go. Pedalling without using the movable handles, for example, exercises your abdomen muscles as you keep yourself upright. On the other hand, exercising with the handlebars lets you tone both lower and upper body muscles.
Of course, weight loss and calorie burn depend on several factors, like age, diet and fitness capacity. However, moving several parts of the body in one workout gives you great results within a shorter time. Specifically, an elliptical workout can burn 450 to 800 kcal per hour, which is way higher than walking or using stair climbers.
To make the most of this cross trainer benefit, try using your machine for an hour, three times a week. Also, combine cardio and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to maximise your workout session.
3. Full-Body Workout
Weight loss is not the only advantage you get from a full-body workout using an elliptical machine. You also get to target several muscle groups. Building muscle mass is more than getting a slimmer and toner physique, though. It also lets you burn more calories even while at rest.
A cross trainer benefits three main muscle sections: the lower limbs, arms and back. Pedalling targets the areas below your butt (glutes and hamstrings) as well as the front (quads) and back (calves) of your thighs. Pedalling in reverse further enhances the effects on these leg muscles.
Pulling the machine’s handlebars, on the other hand, puts your biceps to work. Repeating this motion, in turn, tones your triceps. Working your arms means you also get your lats and pecs moving. And even if you decide not to use the handles, your upper body still benefit from enhanced posture, better balance and strengthened core muscles!
If you’re into muscle building and strength training, try warming up before your elliptical exercise routine with resistance band exercises.
4. Exercise Diversity
OK, pedalling and using the arm handles can burn calories and build muscles. But doing that day after day can get boring, right? Not really. Thanks to the elliptical’s adjustable features, exercise monotony is the least of your issues with this fitness machine. And there are five ways how you can infuse variations into your workout and optimise cross trainer benefits:
- Adjust the resistance. If you’re aiming for toned and strengthened muscles, cranking up the resistance level of your elliptical is the way to go.
- Increase your speed. Pedal at a faster pace to switch from walking to running to stair climbing. Adjusting your speed lets you combine low-intensity workouts with bursts of high-intensity moves, too.
- Modify the incline setting. Are you a beginner or a seasoned marathoner? Adjust the incline of your elliptical to low or high to match your skill and preference.
- Use the pre-set programmes. If your elliptical cross trainer comes with these adjustment options, choose one that matches your fitness level. This way, you don’t have to design an effective workout plan every time.
- Alternate your elliptical movement patterns. A piece of equipment that lets you pedal forward and back, stride slow or fast, and push or pull handles is far from being boring!
5. Strong Body Systems
Cross trainer benefits are not only to make you look good. These aim to make you feel good, too. Like the stationary bike, an elliptical machine promotes heart health, for instance. The combination of movement variation, increased resistance and faster pedalling makes you work harder. In turn, your heart rate goes up, and your heart muscles become strong.
With a healthier heart, you do not feel exhausted quickly, even when doing heavy tasks. You’re protecting yourself from all sorts of cardiovascular disease as well. The effect of this machine on cardiovascular fitness is also relevant to how exercise can help lower bad cholesterol.
Using the cross trainer benefits the lungs as well. By improving your aerobic capacity, you get to do more exercises without feeling tired or breathless. If you have pre-existing conditions like asthma, an elliptical workout may help you build stronger lungs, too. Just make sure to consult your doctor first.
6. Stress Reduction
Finally, an elliptical cross trainer benefits the mind, too! If you’re feeling unhappy or stressed out, a few minutes of pedalling can do you good. That’s because physical activity, in general, allows the release of happy hormones endorphin and serotonin. As for me, the fact that I’m doing something productive for my body and health is enough to brighten my mood!
Do you think a cross-trainer workout will help with your fitness goals? Why not check out my list of top elliptical cross trainers in Australia to learn more?