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3 Elliptical Benefits That Can Make Your Whole Body Stronger

woman on elliptical machine at Planet Fitness
Once you've become familiar with the elliptical, you can dive into the machine's pre-programmed workouts!

by Autumn Jones


Maneuvering your way through the gym doesn't have to be overwhelming! By experimenting with new pieces of equipment one at a time, you'll be able to thoroughly learn each one — and decide which one best supports your workout goals.

Remember, trying new things can be fun! For example, if you've been loyal to the treadmill for years, try shaking up your routine and getting familiar with the elliptical machine. Here are some benefits you could enjoy, as well as tips for getting started.

The Top 3 Elliptical Benefits

1. Easy on the Joints

According to Mayo Clinic, using an elliptical machine in place of the treadmill can be less stressful on your knees, hips, and back. If your exercise plan requires you to be cautious of your joints, the elliptical can help you get that good aerobic workout you crave while effectively reducing the impact on your joints (and lowering your risk of injury).

2. Improves Heart Health

You won't just enjoy stronger calf and quad muscles after logging some time on the elliptical — one of the most important muscles in your body benefits as well: the heart! Thanks to the strong cardio workout you get on the elliptical, your heart can become stronger and more efficient at pumping blood and oxygen throughout your body, as SELF explains.

3. It's a Full-Body Workout

Elliptical benefits aren't limited to cardio alone; using this machine can give you a full-body workout. As points out, your arms, legs, and core could all see results when you use the elliptical. Engaging each of your body's muscle groups can even be a fun activity! To keep your workout fresh, try switching your pedal motion from forward to backward and playing with the incline and resistance settings on the machine.

Ready to Get on the Elliptical? Follow These 5 Steps

1. Start the Elliptical

Ellipticals are incredibly user-friendly. All you need to do to get started is step on the machine and press the "Quick Start" button. Simple enough, right? The machine won't start moving until you put it in motion, so once you're ready, begin moving your feet at a comfortable pace.

2. Adjust the Resistance

As you get the feel for how the elliptical moves, you can adjust your resistance to customize your workout. You can increase or reduce the amount of resistance by using the up and down arrow buttons on the machine. While you're getting to know the elliptical, try to gradually work your way up in resistance.

3. Choose a Handle

It's a good idea to use the elliptical's first set of handles to help keep you steady as you get your bearings. It's easy to slouch over when gripping this set of supports, so be mindful of your posture by engaging your core, keeping your head up, and focusing your eyes on something in front of you.

The second set of handles — which are further out to the sides of the machine — can help you get a full-body workout. Pump your arms to keep those handles moving back and forth!

4. Try a Programmed Workout

Once you've become familiar with the elliptical, consider diving into the workouts that are pre-programmed on the machine. These exercise programs automatically switch up your resistance, so you can focus all your efforts on getting a great workout instead of manually adjusting your resistance throughout the session.

5. Finish Up

When you're done with your elliptical workout, simply slow yourself down and the machine will slow down with you. Once you've come to a complete stop, carefully step off — and pat yourself on the back for the awesome effort! Be sure to show some love to the elliptical (and your fellow gym-goers) by giving it a thorough wipe down with the cleaning solution provided at your fitness club.

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.