The Pros And Cons Of Using An Elliptical

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By Natalie Martin

For some people there simply isn’t a downside to using an elliptical, but for others the negatives outweigh the positives. Whether you are new to this exercise machine or an experienced pro, you should be aware of the various pros and cons associated with using an elliptical. In some cases this can help prevent injuries or provide reassurance that workouts on an elliptical are an effective way to improve overall health.


Pros of Using and Elliptical


  • According to the International Council on Active Aging an elliptical machine is a great way to get in a good cardio workout without putting stress on your knees and other joints. This is good news for anyone that is suffering from arthritis or other joint related problems. Since your knees aren’t as likely to start to ache on an elliptical you might even be able to exercise longer, and this usually results in improved overall health.


  • The top rated elliptical machines come with movable handles that will allow you to adjust the tension so you can also get in a full upper body workout.


  • Since most ellipticals are intended to be used indoors you never have to worry about working out in bad weather. This also eliminates any excuses you might have for skipping a workout simply because it is cold or rainy outside.


  • Thanks to the convenient display it is easy to keep track of your progress. Almost all ellipticals will show the time of the workout, speed and distance covered, along with the number of calories burned. You can also find models that come with more advanced features that include heart rate monitoring, but these exercise machines do typically come at a slightly higher price.


  • Most ellipticals come with “reverse pedaling” so you can easily target different muscle groups without having to switch exercise machines. This allows you to work your quads, along with other muscles in your core.


  • Since your feet are always on the pedals you don’t have to worry about tripping over obstacles on the ground or stepping in something that you wished you hadn’t. For some people simply having a clean place to put their feet is enough to keep them on a safe and effective workout routine.

Elliptical Pros And Cons


Downside to Using an Elliptical

Even though there are only a few disadvantages associated with ellipticals, it is still important to be well informed since it can affect your health and the effectiveness of the workout.


  • While an elliptical is easier on your joints since the amount of impact is minimalized thanks to the pedals being suspended off the ground, this can also reduce the effectiveness of the workout. This can be a concern for adults over 50 who want to reduce their risk for developing osteoporosis.


  • It can be easy to use the momentum of the elliptical instead of exerting your own, and this will reduce the effectiveness of the workout.


  • For some people standing in one place on the pedals may be comfortable, and this can make it harder for them to find the motivation to work out on an elliptical.


  • Unless the elliptical allows you to adjust the speed and incline as your training progresses your workouts might not be as effective over time.


  • Your workouts can be postponed or interrupted if the power goes out since they do run on electricity.


  • Ellipticals are basically “one size fits all” exercise machines, and this may not always be ideal. Teens and adults with a shorter stride can run the risk of hyperextending their knees, and this can result in painful injuries.


The main downside to an elliptical machine is its price. These exercise machines can be expensive, especially if you choose one with advanced features. However, if you do want to get in some cardio and a full body workout an elliptical can be well worth its price.

If you have any concerns or questions regarding the safety of an elliptical or if you’re not sure if one of these machines is the right choice for you, a licensed physician or experienced trainer should be able to help you make an informed decision.


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