Scientific Benefits of Elliptical Machines

Scientific Benefits of Elliptical Machines

            You’ve seen them in the gym, usually lined up near the treadmills and other cardio machines: ellipticals machines. But how good are they for your body? What’s the science behind them? We’re so glad you asked! Elliptical machines have many benefits, starting with the way they can help improve your aerobic capacity. Aerobic capacity is “the ability to use oxygen to fuel exercise activity.”[1] In short, it’s how long you can exercise without having to stop and/or wait for the darkness to come for you (maybe that’s just me? Let’s move on). Elliptical machines can help you build up your endurance in your aerobic capacity, but they have the benefit of being a non-impact exercise. “Being that your feet stay still on the gliding platforms, there is no impact, which makes the elliptical a safer exercise option for a variety of people, including those who are elderly, rehabbing from knee surgery, have varicose veins or are obese.” What’s more, by using an elliptical machine, you are actually engaging your whole body in the exercise. Running by itself requires a lot of leg engagement, but using an elliptical instead of a treadmill works your legs, chest, back, and shoulders all at once. A full-body workout in as few as twenty minutes? Yes, please!

            Another benefit of elliptical machines is that they can burn a lot of calories in a relatively short amount of time if that’s something you’re aiming to do in your personal fitness plan. “According to Harvard Health Publications, you can burn up to 400 calories in just 30 minutes exercising on an elliptical machine, depending on your weight. The heavier you are, the more weight you'll burn in this time frame. The intensity of your workout also impacts the amount of calories you burn, so increase the machine's resistance or interval train on the machine to increase the amount of energy you expend during workout sessions.”[2] Of course, before beginning any new diet or exercise plan, be sure to consult with your doctor who can tell you if the elliptical machine is a good choice for you.


[1] McCall, Pete. “8 Things to Know About Aerobic Capacity (And How to Improve It).” ACE, American Council on Exercise, 15 June 2017, www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/6464/8-things-to-know-about-aerobic-capacity-and-how-to-improve-it.

[2] Rail, Kevin. “Elliptical Machine Benefits.” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, www.livestrong.com/article/15559-elliptical-machine-benefits/.

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