Health benefits when using elliptical
One of the main health benefits of using an elliptical machine at home is the fact that you can get a full body workout and the cardio session all in one, all while protecting your joints from damage. Running is one of the most popular cardio workouts in the work, but because it is a high-impact sport, it makes you prone to knee, hip, or lower body injuries. With an elliptical machine though you can eliminate this risk and still get the same results in terms of cardio fitness.
Besides protecting your knees and joints from damage caused by impact sports, there are other health benefits of using an elliptical machine as well. Training on an elliptical will boost your cardio capacity and stamina while also allowing you to burn between 270 to 400 calories per half an hour, depending on body weight. Because it does such a great job at burning calories, an elliptical machine can help you lose body fat and tone up your entire body.
If you choose an elliptical machine with handles, you would also be able to get a full body workout that engages your upper body as well. As such, you can target not only your hamstrings and glutes, but also your chest, back, triceps and biceps at the same time.
Finally, most elliptical machines allow you to change the incline and the resistance of the pedals, so you can target different muscles in your lower body. Ellipticals are also a great choice for maintaining fitness after injury because the machine puts a lot less stress on your joints than running.
But if you still have a feeling that according to your doctor or you age you might need some kind of lighter workout, then we advise you to look for the best treadmills for seniors, which are even more health-friendly.
Features to consider while choosing an elliptical
From the type of workout you prefer to your budget, there are numerous features to consider when shopping for the best elliptical machine for your workout at home. Some of the most important of them include the number of workout programs, resistance levels, stride length, weight capacity, LCD display, dimensions and weight, as well as price and warranty.
Getting bored with a particular workout is one of the main reasons people quit a fitness program. By having a fitness machine that provides numerous programs, you can keep your workouts fresh and customize them for your specific needs.
Whether you are a beginner who can’t find their way through custom fitness routines or fitness enthusiasts likes to track their progress and mix up their workouts to avoid getting bored, having multiple workout programs available on your machine is always a good idea.
Some machines offer custom programs that allow you to create your own resistance profile so no two workouts are the same.
Many of the models we tested and reviewed come with a range of workout programs, with the Nautilus E614 being the recommended one if you want to have no less than 22 different programs available, together with the ability of customizing your own fitness routines.
In order to be able to customize your workouts as you gain strength and endurance, you need an elliptical machine that has adjustable resistance. Most quality models come with this feature, which means that you will work out will be very easy at the lowest setting and become more and more challenging as you increase the resistance. You can generally control the resistance of the machine via the LCD screen or a dial knob. In the case of under desk elliptical machines such as the ANCHEER Mini Elliptical Machine Indoor, you can do it via a remote control.
Low end ellipticals have a manual magnetic brake system that you can control by a dial knob on the machine. This system is generally very noisy, so if you want a quiet machine you should make sure that you get one that adjusts the brakes at the push of a button. Sometimes these machines are marketed as having silent magnetic resistance.
The stride length of the elliptical is important because it is closely related to your height. While some machines only offer an 11- or 14-inch stride, this would be too short for people of average size. As such, it is always a good idea to look for an elliptical machine that comes with a stride length of 20 inches or more, like the Schwinn 470, for example.
Some models have an adjustable stride, which comes in handy if multiple people in your family will be using the machine.
Heart Rate Measurement and Interactivity
Measuring your heart rate accurately while exercise is the best indicator of intensity and progress. To get the most of your workout, you need to identify the target heart rate range which you should work with. If the heart rate is too low, you will have issues reaching your goals, but if it is too high, you’re putting yourself at risk of injury. For accurate results, quality ellipticals, equipped with heart rate control programs that adjust your workout for your heart rate to make sure that you remain in the range that is recommended for best results. To do so, all you have to do is enter the desired heart rate and the elliptical will adjust the workout to match it. Some of the models reviewed come with heart rate interactivity and measurement, with examples being the Schwinn 470 and the GOELLIPTICAL V-200.
Elliptical machines that don’t come with a heart rate program cannot adjust the intensity of the exercise automatically based on your target heart rate. However, some models might be connected via Bluetooth with a chest strap heart rate sensor so you can see your heart rate on the screen and monitor it manually. Those who know their target heart rate can easily achieve their exercise goals with this type of machine.
Weight capacity is an important factor for every type of exercise machine, so it is essential to check the minimum and maximum weight capacity an elliptical machine has before purchasing it. Most of the ellipticals we included in our top have a minimum 125 lbs weight capacity and between 250 and 400 lbs maximum capacity, which makes them suitable for heavyweight users.
If several people in your household are going to use the elliptical and their weight varies significantly, it’s always a good idea to buy a machine that has a higher maximum capacity allowance.
An LCD display is an essential part of an elliptical machine because it allows you to get all the information about your workout in real time. Many of their high-quality ellipticals on the market have an LCD screen, sometimes backlit for easy reading, like in the case of the GOELLIPTICAL V-200. In most of the cases, the data will contain time, distance, heart rate, number of calories burned, and RPM. High-end machines may have a touchscreen display, but generally the LCD is easy to control via the side buttons that are all assigned to different programs and specifications.
Dimensions and weight
Unlike in the case of other fitness machines such as treadmills are stationary bikes, ellipticals need more space because their pedals extend out during use. The average elliptical machine is about 6 feet long by 2.5 feet wide, but this may vary from one model to another, so it essential to measure the space you have available carefully. As a rule of thumb, you will need a minimum of 20 inches of free space from any wall or piece of furniture on both sides of the machine and either the front or the back.
When it comes to weight, some models are heavier than others, particularly if they have a heavy flywheel. As such, it might be necessary to have help during installation, particularly when it comes to attaching the frame to the flywheel. Some others, such as the SNODE E20i have wheels so you can transport and move the elliptical easily.
The price of an elliptical machine is determined by the quality of construction as well as the number of features it comes equipped with. You can expect to pay anything from $200 for an under desk or budget model to well over $1000 for a high-end model with all the bells and whistles. When choosing an elliptical in a particular price range, make sure that you are actually going to use all its features because if the machine offers lots of features you’ll never use, you would be better off with a more affordable model.
Because an elliptical trainer is an electronic piece of equipment that is bound to last for years, it’s important to look for a model with a long-term warranty, mostly because you are bound to need service at some point. Some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty on the frame, but you might find models with a 10-year warranty on the frame more often, like in the case of the Nautilus E614. The other components are generally covered by at least one year and sometimes up to three years of labor for labor and parts. Before purchasing the new elliptical, do some research to find out what components are covered and make sure that the warranty includes all the key components and electronics as well.
Because you are likely to spend multiple hours a week on your elliptical machine, it’s essential to pay attention to how comfortable you feel when using the machine. Look for a machine with handgrips that are specially designed to protect your fingers and palms. The moving handlebars should be easy to reach so don’t overstrain yourself unnecessarily, and the pedals should feel comfortable. Always look to purchase an elliptical that allows him to maintain and operate posture when moving the handlebars so you can maintain a correct balance for your body.
Ellipticals are very safe training machines, but it’s always important to look for models that come with some sort of safety features. One of the most basic of them is warming up and cool down periods.
You should also make sure that the handlebars do not get in your way when you work out, and it’s always a good idea to have an easy-to-read console so you don’t mess with your posture and balance during the workout trying to figure out the numbers on the LCD screen. Locking features that keep the paddles from moving when you haven’t started your workout is another safety feature present in some elliptical trainers.
Some ellipticals come with the paddle arm safety pin that prevents the machine from being paddled or makes it impossible to increase paddling resistance. Others have safety features controlled by software, meaning that you can disable the keypad on display, which comes in handy when you have small children who might get curious about playing with the elliptical when you’re not in the room.