Crosstrainer / Elliptical (Engl.)

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Elliptical Trainers / Crosstrainer

Elliptical trainers are relatively new to the family of fitness equipment, as compared to
treadmills. They have increased in popularity during the last few years. And, perhaps at the rate they
are going, these fitness machines will someday surpass the treadmill in popularity! But, do they deliver
what they promise?

Elliptical trainers allow the athlete to burn a similar number of calories as jogging...but without the risk
of injury to the back, knees, hips, or ankles. Your feet never leave the pedals. As a result, this type of
machine is quite low-impact and goes easy on the joints. In fact, whereas exercising on a treadmill
requires your body to absorb the impact force of walking or running, exercising on an elliptical can be
compared to running in midair.

Because ellipticals are so low-impact and easy on the joints, this type of exercise equipment may
very well be one of the best choices for older people or for individuals who are recovering from a joint
injury.

Elliptical machines mimic the normal elliptical motion of the foot, the extension of the leg, and the rotation
of the hip during walking or running. This motion uses all the leg muscles, giving you a total
lower-body workout.

But, WAIT! There's more! Elliptical motion machines ALSO simultaneously work the upper body (unlike
the treadmill, which works only the lower body)! As the feet go through their elliptical motion, the
hands grip the moving handlebars, exercising the arms. The movement of the dual handlebars mimics
cross-country skiing. Now, this particular type of workout may not necessarily pump you up to look
like a bodybuilder. However, because you are including the upper 30% of your body in your workouts,
the results will be more efficient. (And, those arms will be toned in no time!)

Because elliptical trainers DO work the upper and lower body simultaneously, the heart rate climbs
more quickly. Thus, less time is required to achieve more results. The amount of energy expended is
optimized. As the legs are being worked, the back, shoulders, chest, biceps, and triceps are also
working ...making it possible to burn more calories in less time. (An optimal workout need only be
about 20-30 minutes long.)

Some elliptical devices offer the option of shutting down the handlebars and working only the lower
body. Even when this option is available, it evidently is not used very often ...likely because individuals
appreciate being able to work the entire body at one time.

The foot pedals can be worked in a forward or reverse direction. When you change the direction of
the pedals, you'll target your lower body in different ways. It is nice to be able to add versatility to your
elliptical workouts, and such a change works to ensure optimal training of the leg muscles.
The intensity level can be adjusted on elliptical equipment to fit your personal level of fitness. Resistance
may be added as desired to increase the workload on your legs throughout the forward or
backward stride. With such an efficient workout, you can say 'goodbye' to flabby thighs and derrieres!
Previous studies have shown that working out on an elliptical unit can trick the body into believing it is
working easier than it actually is. Therefore, as you're burning more calories in less time on an elliptical
trainer, your body feels as though it doesn't have to work as hard to achieve its goals. This phenomenon
is known as the "Rate of Perceived Exertion."

Additional benefits of elliptical training include its ability to build bone density and to inhibit the onset
of osteoporosis. Everyone needs strong, healthy bones. This is especially a concern as we grow
older, and our body's bone mass begins to deteriorate. Elliptical exercise can inhibit bone deterioration
and actually improve bone thickness.

An elliptical device is safe to use (i.e. it stops when you stop). It uses very little electricity and is economical
to operate. Because of its lesser impact, there is less wear and tear of the machine, making
maintenance quite low. It has a small footprint, so it takes up less floor space than other fitness
equipment. And, as with the treadmill, it allows you to exercise in a controlled environment for more
comfort and convenience.

With all the benefits and the practicality of elliptical training machines, they just might end up exceeding
the treadmill in popularity!
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