Top 6 Benefits Of Elliptical Trainers

Group of people working out on elliptical trainers

Ellipticals are used widely in both health clubs and homes. These machines provide the benefits of low-impact workouts while you exercise both your lower and upper body.

These machines are especially appealing for women in their 40s and older. These workouts are gentle on the joints and provide a great aerobic workout, which helps you burn calories. If you have never used one before, here is a list of benefits of using one of these versatile machines.

1 – Impact Free

Elliptical machines lower the strain and stress to the legs through the use of controlled and circular movements. Your feet stay grounded to the pedals, and it feels similar to walking on air. In comparison, when you run or walk, each step causes jolts to the body.

Research has indicated that typical runners experience up to 2.5 times their overall body weight while working out. This impacts on your leg joints as well as the lower regions of your back. While walking workouts causes less impact than running, an elliptical machine provides far less impact than both.

A “no impact” or “impact free” workout means that your feet are continually touching the ground or/and your body receives support by either a machine or water while exercising. You can also achieve a high-intensity workout without impact.

2 – Weight-Bearing Workouts

When compared to other fitness machines such as stationary bicycles, these machines provide weight-bearing exercise. These exercises are particularly important for women to prevent the onset of conditions such as osteoporosis.

3 – Mimics A Natural Motion Of Walking

The elliptical movements mimic the natural paths of the hip, knee, and ankle joints during running, jogging, or walking. To reduce strain even further, most ellipticals feature articulating-foot pedals designed to conform to the way you stride.

4 – Versatile

Similar to treadmills, most come equipped with different exercise programs. The programs are designed to mimic interval training or hill climbing by using alternating resistance.

Today, many of the best models come with a wireless heart-rate control allowing users to optimize their workouts in the way of enabling their heart-rate to control the resistance levels.

5 – Complete Body Workout

The elliptical trainers are unique as they provide a combined lower and upper body workout. When used correctly, they machine engages the biceps, triceps, back, chest, glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps.

6 – Low Maintenance

One of the main benefits over treadmills is a lot less maintenance. The low-impact motion and less moving parts means that these machines require maintenance and servicing a lot less frequently. There are also no rollers, motors, or belts to think about or any bearings that may burn out.

7 – Diversify Muscle Groups

Walking is one of the best ways to get a bit of fresh air and achieve a lower-impact cardio workout, but walking won’t sculpt areas like your buttocks, in the same way. According to a study published in the journal “Clinical Biomechanics,” exercising on an elliptical trainer activates your gluteal muscles a lot more than walking.

Elliptical trainers also provide different options for hand placement, the length of your strides, incline, and speed, making it possible to diversify the muscle groups just by changing a setting. This same study also identified that certain settings or positions resulted in improved muscle activities of the extensors in the area of the back, the obliques, along with muscles along your sides.

At the same time, they can be pedaled backward or forward. The reverse motion provides the hamstrings and calves with a more intense workout than when you pedal forwards.

8 – Strengthen Weak Leg Muscles

Another stand out benefit associated with using elliptical machines has to do with strengthening or fixing various muscles in the legs. Research has proven that the best folding ellipticals target the quadriceps and hamstring a lot more than running or jogging on treadmills and even cycling.

If you have weak quadriceps or hamstrings, an elliptical trainer is one of the easiest ways to strengthen these muscle groups. You can also use it to pedal backward, which provides an even better workout for the hamstrings than going forward.

Using an elliptical machine every day can benefit you greatly when you usually cycle or run. The issue with running or cycling is that it doesn’t help you to build up your butt muscles (glutes) or the outer muscles around the hips. This can mean that these muscles become a lot weaker compared to the other muscles in your legs. The best way to deal with these imbalances in your muscles is to train regularly.

The Drawbacks

You may be wondering if these versatile and low-impact machines are linked to any drawbacks? For some people, the dual-action exercise feels awkward and strange. These people feel more comfortable walking or jogging on a traditional treadmill.

Final Thoughts

The elliptical trainer is one of the best exercises for women and men to improve coordination, balance, muscle endurance, and strength. It is also one of the preferred exercises for people who suffer from balance issues or are currently recovering from an injury. At the same time, these low-impact workouts are great for weight loss, your immune system, and your heart.

How To Improve Your Mental State By Working Out

Happy man working out

Everybody knows that exercise can help trim your waistline, ward of diabetes, heart disease, asthma, assist with chronic back pain, joint pain, and arthritis, and lower the risk of dying from breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer. This is all according to Web M.D. 

But there is a larger benefit from just building a healthier body through exercise, and that’s just feeling good. 

Sports Create The Same Brain Chemicals as Feeling Happy And Safe

Nearly everyone is familiar with the term “Runners High,” the sense of Euphoria that some runners experience after a long-distance run. Even if people never experience “runners high,” it’s a common expression. 

Even if only around 10 percent of runners experience it, it turns out that science has pinned runners high to being an Anandamide, a cannabinoid in the brain that affects people similar to taking marijuana. 

There are two types of cannabinoids in the brain, CB1, and CB2.

While CB2 regulates bones’ growth, and both cannabis receptors also reduce inflammation in the body, mice without sufficient CB1 show definitive psychological abnormalities. 

Since it’s been shown that exercise elevates people’s moods, it could be entirely possible that people who are depressed and experience a lot of anxiety simply are not getting enough exercise stimulants in the form of cannabinoids to feel normal. 

This is not to suggest that getting high through the THC of marijuana is a normal function, but rather produces its own anti-anxiety, anti-stress chemicals through exercise. This all according to Scientific American. 

Exercise and Depression 

While the debate continues in the scientific and medical community, with some favoring the cannabinoid theory and others ensuring the release of endorphins to the brain, there is also some certainty.

Mild to moderate depression can equally be treated by exercise as it can through medication, and without any side effects.

For example, a study conducted at Harvard indicated that 15 minutes of either running or brisk walking reduced depression by 26 percent. 

However, it works, whether through cannabinoids or aerobic exercises such as brisk walking or running, definitely improves people’s spirits.

At the same time, for 15 minutes or so, people are relieved from the continual cycle of negative thoughts. 

Exercise and Anxiety 

First, many people have difficulty differentiating between depression and anxiety. Depression is a specific mental problem, usually chemical-related, resulting in low mood and a feeling of hopelessness.

Anxiety is having constant, runaway thoughts, being restless and having difficulty concentrating. 

Exercise significantly improves anxiety, particularly when coupled with mindfulness.

If you run, walk or bicycle, for example, and concentrate on how your body feels when exercising it, it will break the cycle of runaway thoughts, and the cannabinoids/ endorphins will take care of the rest. 

Exercise and Stress 

People generally feel stress when their current personal events, be at work, at home, with their children, family or friends run out of their control. 

Stress is a natural bodily reaction, people’s neck, face, and shoulders scrunch up, leaving them with headaches and back and neck pain. Insomnia is another frequent experience from stress.

As physical symptoms begin to manifest, people also worry about their health, and the results can create a vicious cycle between bodily discomfort and mental discomfort.

Exercise stresses the muscles and pushes them beyond their normal levels, following which they relax significantly. 

By getting enough exercise, you relax the body, which in turn provides significant mental relaxation. 

Exercise and ADHD 

Have you been diagnosed with ADHD and are taking Ritalin or Adderall to control it?

Never stop any medication without a doctor’s say, but studies have shown that ADHD can be significantly controlled by performing enough exercise.

Again, exercise leads to the production of critical brain chemicals for mental health. 

Exercise and PTSD and Trauma 

PTSD and trauma are very real psychological problems where the trauma of events such as seeing a friend die in combat are so dramatic that parts of the brain begin to shut down to provide a safety valve. 

Even more than usual, a combination of exercise, whether it be walking, running, swimming, weight training, dancing, hiking, sailing, mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, or skiing and mindfulness can improve the needed mind/body connection.

This combination of exercise and mindfulness and gradually produces mental healing through physical means.

This is particularly true when exercise is coupled with mindfulness. By paying attention to how the body feels, blocks can be released and trauma overcame. 

Other mental health benefits 

Exercise can produce other mental benefits. Studies have shown that exercise can produce sharper thinking, new brain cells, and higher self-esteem as you reach new goals in your fitness level. 

Exercise also produces much better sleeping patterns, a major development in improving both your physical and mental health. Better sleep gives you significantly less body fatigue and stronger mental resilience. 

It also provides you with the ability to say no to negative influences like alcohol or drugs. 

So how do you start? 

It can be noted that when you are depressed or anxious, it’s difficult to find the mental energy to start to perform regular physical exercise.

That’s okay. The way you deal with it is to start gradually.

Don’t try to run a marathon on your first day out, blow out a thigh, or develop blisters on your feet that will cause you to put away your exercise shoes for several weeks. 

Instead, start with 5 minutes a day and work up.

Or do 5 minutes of walking and running fairly fast if you are physically able to, and then slow down for a few minutes and do the next 3 to 5 minutes at slow speed. 

Realize that you do not need to suffer to get the benefits from exercise. The adage “no pain, no gain has been disproved time and again.”

Also, consider getting a buddy to join you. Alcoholics have sponsors. People who need to exercise to feel better often need similar help to keep them going.

Finally, do exercise you enjoy. Hate running? Don’t do it. Switch to swimming or dancing. There are myriad ways to get in your exercise. 

The bottom line 

Exercise can be a huge benefit for your mental health. Start slow if you have to, but gradually you may find that exercise benefits your mental health in significant ways that medications will not.