Elliptical Machines Pros & Cons

Elliptical machines take their name from the ellipse or elongated circle of the oval track on which the pedals run when you use the machine, the International Council on Active Aging explains. Depending on your particular circumstances, an elliptical machine may be a worthwhile investment or an expensive mistake. If you are considering purchasing an elliptical machine, consider the pros and cons before you lay out your hard earned cash.


Low Impact Exercise

Unlike running or even walking, elliptical machines do not subject your joints to the potential jarring created when your foot strikes the ground according to the International Council on Active Aging. If you suffer from arthritis or another joint-related ailment, using an elliptical machine can give your knees a break. As a result, you may be able to continue exercising longer than you could with jogging, running or walking. By being able to stay more active, you'll stay healthier and feel better overall.

Effective Cardiovascular Workout

Operating an elliptical machine provides aerobic exercise for an effective cardiovascular workout, according to Megan Tyner, a certified personal trainer writing for Spine-Health. Some models have adjustable resistance to build greater muscle strength in your legs and provide a more challenging workout for your lower body, Tyner writes. Others allow reverse pedaling motion for a more varied workout. Some elliptical machines feature ski-like hand controls to exercise your arms and shoulders to provide a full-body workout.

Limited Exercise Range

Weight-bearing exercises offer protection against osteoporosis, which is especially important for post-menopausal women. However, elliptical machines offer minimal weight-bearing benefits, Tyner explains. Many people find elliptical machines difficult to operate because initiating the motion of the pedals requires significant effort. Finally, elliptical machines concentrate a disproportionate amount of effort on your legs and lower body. This is true even with models that provide hand and arm controls. You will need to supplement elliptical machine exercises to gain a full workout for your arms and upper body, Tyner claims.

Potentially Expensive

Elliptical machines are popular in health clubs and gyms as well as for in-home use. If you already pay gym membership fees, an elliptical won't be an extra expense. However, if you want to purchase one for home, you will need to pay anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars for a quality machine. compared to purchasing a simple pair of walking or running shoes, the price of an elliptical can be quite a drawback for some people.


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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.