There are many reasons why the elliptical is such a popular piece of fitness equipment. For one, it limits impact on your knees, making it a great option for those who cannot handle the stress caused by running. More importantly, many think of it as a laid back alternative to intense cardio. The truth is, though, your elliptical workout can be just as intense and beneficial to you as any other type of cardiovascular conditioning. Find out how you can make the most out of your next elliptical workout—you won’t believe the results you see.
Kick it up a Notch
While you may think that any level of work you are doing on the elliptical is helping you, the truth is that this is not necessarily true. According to About Exercise, in order to make any cardio workout beneficial you need to be raising your heart rate to your target heart rate zone. That means you will have to push yourself to some extent to reach that point. Idly moving along thumbing through a magazine without even breaking a sweat is a signal that you are not trying hard enough. Fit Sugar explains that to get your heart rate pumping on the elliptical you need to be going at least 140 strides per minute, outside of warm-up and cool-down times.
Get a Full Body Workout
Those handlebars are on the machine for a reason—for you to use them! If you really want to get the most of your workout, then you need to grab onto those bars. That way, you will be working your whole body and burning the most calories while hitting the most muscle groups you can. However, don’t just hold on and let your legs do all the work, you need to push and pull the handles to really benefit from them!
Switch It Around
You may be used to hopping on that machine, setting it to resistance level four, and going about whatever else you are doing during your workout, but that will not make the most of it. You really should be switching up the resistance levels throughout the workout to achieve the top results from your efforts. Check out this guide of how to split up a 30-minute elliptical workout.
Also, and perhaps most importantly, know your machine. Whether you are going to the gym or are looking to get one in your own home you want to find an elliptical that will provide you with the settings for the best workout possible. Always check out elliptical reviews before purchasing one for your home to make sure you are getting all the settings you want in a fitness machine. Your body will thank you.
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Ashely is a part of a team of writers who have contributed to health and fitness blogs and news sites. Follow her @AshelyMarie1985 to see what else she has to say!