In almost every great gym and recreation center here in the Denver area, you will find one popular exercise machine – the elliptical. It's a very popular machine because of its versatility and ease of use, but with the potential of still giving you great results in your fitness goals. The elliptical is highly recommended to most people, especially seniors, because it gives you the same effect of jogging, minus the damaging impact on the joints. The elliptical combines the movements of jogging and stair climbing.
It's true that the elliptical can be a great addition to your overall fitness routine, but if you don't maximize your time on it, you could just be wasting your valuable gym time. Here is a run down of how to use the elliptical in the best way, for what you want to do. Of course, you should always talk to your doctor first before starting a new workout routine.
How to Use an Elliptical
When you hop on the elliptical and before you start pedaling, follow the directions on the control panel if there are any. Hold on to either the stationary handles in the front-center of the machine in front of you, or the handles that move along with your leg movements. Sometimes the handles have sensors that monitor your heart rate. The elliptical will also count your calories burned, along with your speed, time and “distance”.
You'll see settings like “Hill” and “Fat Burning” as well as a generic workout. The hill setting usually has levels, and each level makes the “hill climbing” harder than the last. The pedals will change angles to make it feel as if you are climbing a hill, and it will alternate between flatter “terrain” and higher hills. This is a great way to add restance and get more out of your elliptical workout. Just be sure to start out at a lower leverl, and only amp it up when you feel too comfortable with the current one.
Fat burn is of course, the best setting to use if you're interested mainly in burning fat. This is isn't the only setting you should use, however. You should be concerned with also giving your lungs and heart a good run for their money.
If you start to feel to out of breath or uncomfortable, hop off of the elliptical and take a little break. Do some more stretching as you take your break, and if you feel better, get back on and go a little longer. If you feel light headed or ill, stop and call your doctor right away.
If you're going fast and it feels easy, you're not really doing much. The elliptical works by way of an inner flywheel, and the momentum of going faster actually makes your work easier. You don't want easier. To meet your fitness goals, you need a challenge. Slow your pace down a little, and be sure to use the handles that move and work your arms as well as your legs for a better full body work out.