Benefits of Elliptical Exercise Machines

Question:

Hello, I am a (female) lifelong runner and I'm 35 years old.  I have always exercised outdoors but now as a to stay at home mom I'm looking to buy a cardio machine.  What are the benefits of elliptical exercise machines as opposed to treadmills?  My husband wants to get an elliptical machine but I love running and I'm afraid I will not be able to lose this post baby fat or even worse, gain more weight if I stop running.  Could you please give me a rundown of each of the benefits of elliptical trainer versus a treadmill and vice versa, thanks!


First off, make sure you realize that many of the benefits of elliptical exercise machines will be the same as the benefits of most other cardio machines.  If you are not familiar with the way cardio exercise burns energy (calories) and (along with the proper diet) can help you lose fat you should learn more about cardio exercise before the rest of this answer to your question.

Effects of Regular Cardiovascular Exercise (regardless of machine type)

  • Improve bicycling performance
  • Build & maintain cardiovascular endurance
  • Increase leg & thigh muscle tone
  • Tone the buttocks
  • Lower the risks of many chronic diseases such as hypertension

Unique Benefits of Elliptical Exercise Machines

  • Non-impact exercise (easier on joints)
  • Upper & lower body concurrent exercise
  • Contra-lateral push-pull upper body exercise
  • Ability to move legs backwards & forwards
  • Ability to adjust stride length without changing speed (certain elliptical trainer models)
  • Ability to exercise with both legs and one arm
  • Ability to focus your cardio primarily on upper body
  • Helps improve balance
  • Takes up less space than treadmill (on average, depends on models)
  • Quiet (makes much less noise than a treadmill)

NOTE:  Non-impact exercise does not have a significant positive effect on bone-mass like impact exercises such as running.

While some of benefits of elliptical exercise machines may not concern you, hopefully it will open your eyes to the possibilities which elliptical exercise machines.  Oftentimes elliptical trainers get a bad wrap because they are often used by the 'slackers' in the gym but if you and your husband use a good elliptical machine to its full potential they can easily provide workout intensities which rival a treadmill and are also far more versatile.

Your Options

Now that you know some of the benefits of elliptical exercise machines, maybe you can jump on the bandwagon with your husband and both of you can get great in the privacy of your own home while you stay close to your child.  A good thing about owning an elliptical machine versus a treadmill is the elliptical exercise motion is something you cannot do outside.  You will eventually get more free time where you can run occasionally and you will likely enjoy it more as it will be more of a special occasion than something you do every day out of routine. 

Another option is to of course buy a treadmill in which you can continue your running routine.  Regardless of the choice you make, your commitment to regular cardiovascular exercise is what is going to keep you and your heart healthy and not any cardio machine whether elliptical trainer or treadmill.

Before you make your choice make sure to go over the list of benefits of elliptical trainers and think how they could positively affect you, your husband and of course your newborn.

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