If you are currently trying to decide on the type of cardio fitness you want to try, elliptical trainers might just be what you are looking for. However, before making this investment, you should make sure it has all the features you want. It helps to know the pros and cons so you can compare it to other types of equipment, such as treadmills. Here are the pros and cons of elliptical trainers.
Pro: They Provide Upper and Lower Workouts
One of the biggest benefits to elliptical machines is that many of them includes poles or handles that require you to use your arms in addition to your legs. This is a big benefit over treadmills, which only work your legs unless you voluntarily move your arms. With ellipticals, you are moving those handles with your arms every time you do a stride with your legs, providing a great workout for your entire body.
Con: There Is Less of an Incline
A disadvantage to using an elliptical trainer as opposed to a treadmill is that there isn't an incline on most of the machines. While some elliptical trainers do allow you to have a slight incline, it is rare, and it is nowhere near the incline you can set on a treadmill. This can provide less intensity and variation in your workout.
Pro: You Can Use the Pedals in Reverse
Another pro for elliptical trainers is the fact that they also have a reverse stride. By putting the pedals of the machine in reverse, you are able to work different muscles in your legs. This provides some variety to your workout and lets you have a full leg workout with just one machine. While you may have reverse stride with a stationary bike, you don't get that when you are using a treadmill.
Con: There Is Lack of Momentum
While an elliptical trainer gives you a great workout, there might be slightly less momentum as compared to a bike or treadmill. With an elliptical trainer, you can use the momentum of the machine in order to get it to move, instead of only using your own body and muscles to get it to move. This is especially true when you have it set on lower levels. If you have it on the lowest level and it has gotten easy, the machine is probably doing a lot of the work. It is time to increase the level of intensity.
Pro: It Provides a Low-Impact Workout
You can also get a conditioning workout similar to running without hurting your body. Elliptical trainers provide excellent calorie burning and conditioning of your body while still being very gentle on your joints. If you can't run because of your joints, this is a great alternative. Look at the different options at a fitness equipment store.