Finding the right exercise device can make all the difference when it comes to getting into better shape. The issue with many traditional forms of exercise, particularly walking and jogging is that while the muscles and cardiovascular system are getting a good workout, the joints like the knees, ankles and hips are taking a pounding that may lead to injury.
The elliptical machine is arguably one of the most popular exercise devices precisely because it works the arms and legs with very little impact on the body. These machines are particularly popular in gyms and health clubs and many people have them in their home as well.
What is an Elliptical?
An elliptical is an exercise machine that is designed to work the arms and legs. The device has pedals to place the feet and handles for the hands which then move in a back-and-forth manner that mimics in some ways the natural body movement when walking.
The overall design of this machine is to provide the same type of exercise that walking or jogging provides while working the arms and without the impact that occurs when the feet hit the pavement or ground.
What Are the Pros of the Elliptical?
There are a number of advantages that the elliptical offers, especially when it comes to working the arms and the legs at the same time.
Very Low Impact:
The circular motion of the elliptical plus the fact that your feet are not pounding down on the surface of the ground or sidewalk means that your ankles, knees and hips are enduring very little in the way of shock. This means that your joints are far better protected while still getting the workout that you want.
Injuries when jogging or running often occur when you step on something unexpected from a piece of trash to a dip in the ground. Since your feet never leave the pedals, there is no worry about misplacing a step which significantly reduces the chances of being injured.
What Are the Cons of the Elliptical?
Although it seems like the perfect exercise machine, there are some mild disadvantages to using the elliptical.
Because there is so little impact on your joints, there have been complaints that it doesn’t feel like you are getting in a good exercise program. Basically, it’s too easy and there is not enough resistance to really make it feel like you are exercising and thus the heart rate and metabolism is not benefiting as a result.
Having to place the feet on the pedals actually takes away some from your natural form of movement. This is especially true for someone who is used to jogging or running as it will seem to be an unnatural motion. For those people, an elliptical might not be the best exercise device for their needs.
Overall, the elliptical is a remarkable exercise device that offers millions of people a way to lose weight without the grinding impact on the joints like traditional walking or jogging. For those who are looking for a relatively simple, straightforward way to get into shape, the elliptical is one of the best exercise devices around.