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How to Use and Choose an Elliptical

Jul 10, 2008
Ellipticals can be used for cardio exercise, burning fat and calories, and strengthening muscles. No matter what you use your elliptical for it's good to know basic use and safety. Elliptical machines have moving parts, so when you first step on an elliptical trainer, be prepared! Once your feet are secured on the pedals and you have your hands on both handles, start moving your feet forward. The elliptical will begin to move and your rhythm will follow an elliptical pattern. Elliptical trainers offer tension variation that you can increase or decrease while working out. Try building in 30-second incline intervals every couple of minutes to amplify your workout. To end your workout, simply slow your movements until the machine comes to a stop.

Here's a safety tip: Remember to start off slowly. You can vary the resistance and add more power to your movements later. You may be tempted to power your way through the programs but try and stay in the mid range of the elliptical pattern. And remember - always consult a physician or health care provider before beginning an exercise program.

While the basic use of an elliptical is simple, shopping for a home elliptical can be very intimidating! There are so many different brands, models and styles it can be next to impossible to choose the right one for your home. For most people, buying a home elliptical is a major investment. It's also a good investment for those who have decided to make a conscious effort to be fit and healthy. That is why it is important to put together a checklist that identifies attributes that are most important for you and your workout. Here are some tips that should help you out:

1. The first thing you should consider when choosing an elliptical is the construction. A well-constructed elliptical is something that everyone in your family can enjoy. You will want an elliptical that is built with high alloy steel or aluminum frame that is strong enough to support the heaviest person. Some machines come with a weight limit - make sure that limit won't inhibit your workout.

2. Watch out for noise! A major consideration for a home elliptical is the amount of noise it can produce. While most machines will be very quiet, you may come across one that makes noise. A loud machine can drown out a lot of noise - kids, television, oven timers, etc. And some small, repetitive sounds can drive a person crazy and provide you with one more reason not to exercise. We recommend testing an elliptical before you buy it. Step on it and go through some motions so you can assess the noise level and see if it's something you can live with.

3. One feature that is new for some ellipticals is side steps. For some, stepping onto a treadmill can be difficult due to the moving parts. Side steps will allow you to step up onto the machine, grab the hand rails or handles and stabilize yourself before stepping onto the pedals. This will prevent you or one of your family members from accidentally tripping, stumbling or falling off of the moving parts. Remember - this is a machine and not a toy! Don't leave anything to chance.

4. And finally, don't forget the bells and whistles! The newest models come with many extra features, like audio inputs and heart rate monitors. Using a heart rate monitor during your workout will help you adjust the speed or incline to keep your heart rate in the optimum zone. It's a good investment in your health!
About the Author
Bob Lachinet is the owner of Fitness 4 Home Superstore, a specialty fitness equipment dealer recently named the #1 choice for home fitness equipment in Arizona by BestFitnessDealers.com! Check out the "How to Use an Elliptical Video" by visiting How to use an elliptical video.
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