It is that time of the year again. The leaves are changing. Evening are becoming cooler. Football has begun and baseball is coming to an end. Pretty soon temperatures will drop and you will not be able to comfortably jog or walk outside before or after work. This means it is time to go back to the gym and exercise indoors again. The only question is which piece of cardio equipment is the best? I will not tell you which one is the best, but I will provide you with some benefits of using and elliptical and why you should use one.
Benefits of using an Elliptical – Why Should You Get One
I can think of eight reasons as to why it is beneficial to use an elliptical. Here are some of the reasons:
1. They improve your balance and mobility.
I do not know about you, but I sometimes have difficulty maintaining balance that’s caused by irregular movements of the hips. It is quite embarrassing, but if I use my elliptical 3 times a week, the issue goes away. The elliptical helps you regain motion in your hips because of the very specific range of motion and the high involvement of your hips.
On the other hand, speaking of mobility, the elliptical machine is going to provide you with liberated motions as it develops proper motor capabilities.
2. You can do a wide range of other exercises.
You can jog, walk, run and even climb (as in stairs). You are able to change your resistance and intensity to make the workout easier or more difficult. It is great because you can even monitor your heart rate, speed and progress on the machine so you do not need a smart watch to do this. You know the heart rate is accurate because the machine has a built in heart rate monitor.
3. It’s a whole body workout.
Your arms are constantly moving, your legs are constantly moving and your core abdominals is engaged the entire time. This helps you to burn more calories, work out every muscle in your body and improve bone strength whileyour treadmill can’t do the same.
4. You can multitask.
Many people read or watch a movie or television show while on the elliptical. This will help you exercise longer and burn even more calories. I used to go to the gym, put on a movie because the units there had a screen and go on the elliptical for 90 minutes or until the movie was finished. Needless to say I burned quite a few calories doing so. Many newer elliptical machines will sync to your iPod so they can play audio books and music for you too. What is more, they have built-in speakers with formidable quality. It may not be perfectly polished but it’s clear enough to provide you with nice audio.
5. It is weight bearing exercise.
This surprised me too, but it is actually weight bearing. You use gravity to work against your knees, ankles, hips and other joints while on the machine. This is going to provide you with significant benefits for your overall organism.
6. Build up your stamina.
If you use your elliptical for 25 minutes a day, 3 or 4 times a week, your cardio capacity will increase. To put it in simple terms, soon after you begin working out you will never get out of breath and you will feel perfectly comfortable when you have to tackle any kind of physical activity. The results are going to be there within a couple of weeks. Imagine being more active and productive and alert throughout your day. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
7. Maintenance is usually cheap.
This is the ringer if you are planning on purchasing one. You can do your research to see which have the best warranties, or which is most cost effective up front. With models always changing, perhaps you will like to upgrade it more frequently.
8. Minimal space.
They do not require large workout rooms or spaces. Some are able to be nicely tucked in the corner of your room, or some can even be folded up and put away when company comes over. Some even fit under your desk.
You are probably thinking that it is not that difficult to find an elliptical. However, there is an abundance of different models with a lot of various specifications and features. With this in mind, I will provide you with a buying guide to make it even easier on yourself. You’re welcomed.
1. Budget and Goals.
I do not like to talk about finance, but it is important to consider when looking at ellipticals. Set out a price range and stick to it. For instance, there are units which are going to cost you less than $100, mid ranged machines around $500 and high-end items for over $1,500. You may need to do some research and see how much they cost first and then set up your price range that way. Remember, you need to look at the different tiers in ellipticals so you know you are getting the best bang for your buck.
If you are aiming high with your goal, you will be interested in an elliptical that offers more bells and whistles compared to a basic model. The more bells and whistles, the more it will cost you. I am not saying choose money over body, or body over money. I am just saying pick wisely.
2. Space and design.
You have to ask yourself, ‘where am I putting this elliptical at?’. There are solutions of different sizes. For instance, the smallest ones are easily stored underneath your desk as they are designated to be used while seated. Other elliptical machines are particularly spacious and are going to require a couple of square feet of space. If you have room, you do not need to put yourself under pressure to find a compact or collapsible elliptical that comes with wheels. If you do not have the room, then start researching models and brands that offer foldable or compact ellipticals.
Also, keep in mind that collapsible ellipticals may not be able to hold the same amount of weight as ellipticals that are kept in a gym room. To me a foldable, or collapsible, means lightweight while one that stays in the gym room is more sturdy and stronger.
3. Brake and resistance system and flywheel.
This is more important than you think. These are the most important factors to think about prior to purchasing your elliptical. This is what controls the trainer and provides its overall feel and noise of machine while in operation. You want to find a machine with eddy current brake systems in which use magnets to create resistance. This will create the smoothest braking you can buy. It is all physics, but makes sense when you are riding on the elliptical.
If something breaks, what is covered? It is very important to understand your warranty prior to purchasing your elliptical. You need to know what is covered and for how long. Usually the frame has a lifetime warranty because they should never break. The warranty which covers parts and labor may only last for a few months on basic trainers, but the more elite models the warranty for parts and labor should be around 3 to 5 years. The brakes usually are also covered by a life-time warranty, which is pretty convenient. They should never wear out.
Best elliptical machines
I have chosen my top 5 best elliptical machines based on the features they pack, customer reviews and overall performance. The intention is to provide you with detailed information about the products so you can freely choose the one which is going to serve your purposes perfectly.
1. Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine
Now, the machine is valued at $577 and it’s definitely a costly purchase. However, it has quite a lot to offer. It has 22 different programs ensuring different resistance levels as per your needs. It’s a very spacious solution so be prepared to have at least a few square feet of storage and active space for usage.
To me Schwinn is synonymous with bikes so it makes sense that they branched out into the elliptical machine business. This elliptical has a dual track 2 LCD window systems that helps you see up to 13 different display feedbacks.
It has a special program called Schwinn Connect that allows you to set up goal tracking and data to keep you up to date of your fitness goals. There are 22 different programs and has 2 user settings that allows you to set goals and will keep you both motivated and challenged. There are 20 levels of resistance along with high speed inertia and weighted flywheel so your workout is smooth and quiet.
- Smooth and quiet workout
- Has USB port so you can charge devices with any type of socket
- Able to use data exchange
- Some believe it is a bit noisy, but have found solutions around it
2. Cubii Mini Elliptical
The unit is going to cost you exactly $347 as the shipping is free. It’s small in size, easily fit under your desk. In fact, this is one of its main designations – to work out while you handle other activities simultaneously. It weighs roughly around 32 pounds, making it portable enough to store away when you don’t need it.
For those of you who want an elliptical, but are short on space, then this is the perfect elliptical for you. It is mini in size, and even fits under your desk. Even though it is small in size, it is not short on features. It has 8 resistance levels and even has a fitness tracker app so you can see your steady progress. My favourite aspect about this elliptical is that it is made for you to use while working or handling something on your desk. You have zero excuses to not workout if you are at your desk. Do not fret, it makes sure that it was ergonomically designed so you will not bang your knees against your desk.
- Equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 so you can sync it with your smart phone
- Wirelessly connects to their mobile app to track performance and get it analyzed
- The app allows you to set goals, track progress and see how many calories, strides and distance you travelled
- Comes with USB cable
- Is quiet
- More expensive than other collapsible elliptical machines
3. Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine
This is a high-end unit coming at a price of $1,699. It is a large machine which can support up to 375 pounds and weighs 230 pounds itself. Furthermore, the dimensions are 27 x 58 x 83 inches (W x H x D) so you need to make sure that you have enough room to spare.
This is a high end fitness elliptical. This will give you one of the most gruelling cardio workouts on an elliptical. There are adjustable pedals and console. There is also a power adjustable stride and even an incline to give you the opportunity to burn more calories and fat. The maximum stride length is between 20-22 inches which is about average. There are six standard programs and you can even customize two programs and two heart rate programs.
As with many ellipticals, you will have a pulse grip and this one also has a chest strap to monitor your heart rate. The console comes with a 7.5 inch display. My favourite part is the built in fan to keep me cool during my workout.
- Has a 375 pound weight limit so most people can use it no problem
- The warranty coves defects in materials and workmanship. The frame is lifetime, electrical parts 5 years and labor for two years
- Fifteen inch pedals
- Has sound system
- Has water bottle holder
- You have to assemble. Many reviewers state it takes 3-5 hours
- More expensive than other high grade ellipticals
4. Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer
For those looking for a relatively inexpensive, but still good elliptical, this is the one for you. Its price is in the double digits rather than the triple or quadruple like other ellipticals previously mentioned. It costs the inconsiderable $71.78. This elliptical can easily be stored underneath your desk, or hidden in your closet for when you are not using it. It has adjustable tension so you are able to set your own intensity level. You are able to pedal forwards and backwards so you can target different muscles in different ways. It has an electronic fitness monitor so you can see how many strides you took per minute, exercise time, calories burned and strides you took altogether.
The machine measures 21 x 14 x 14 inches in size and weighs only about 30 pounds, making it perfectly portable and easy to store away.
- Pedals are non-slip
- Can be used sitting or standing
- You can work while using, or just watch some television or read
- Has a multifunctional monitor that is easy to read
- Quiet enough to use in office
- Easy to assemble
- Good workout for not a lot of money
- Some report the counter to be faulty
- Can be a bit wobbly
5. ElliptiGO 8C
The unit is definitely high-end, valued at the staggering $2,499. However, it has tremendous amounts of utilities and versatility and is definitely something that you will benefit from a lot. It’s an outdoor unit so let’s take a closer look at its features.
This elliptical is unlike any elliptical I have ever seen. It is the ‘World’s first outdoor elliptical bike and your best indoor elliptical trainer’, or so the description says. This elliptical bike allows you to run without any impact. It is a popular since it is a good combination of cost and performance. Many Olympic athletes use it and it is also used by recreational riders. You are able to climb any hill that a road bike can. You will have fun while riding since it is comfortable and easy to use. You will be getting a great workout in, but you will never realise since you are having so much fun. Be sure to wear a helmet and any additional padding that you may need.
- Has 8 speeds
- Able to climb steep hills with a 20-30% grade
- Sprinting speed is up to 23+ mph
- You can purchase a stationary trainer so it can be used inside
- Able to use outside as is
- Can accommodate anyone between 4’11” to 6’8”
- Has adjustable steering columns that can be raised and lowered
- Great workout that is easy on your joints
- Perfect for seniors looking to get into better shape
- Great for injured runners
- Better workout than traditional bike
- Does not fit on standard bike rack and can be difficult to transport
- Can’t ride on trails or dirt
- Some do not get the same thrill as cycling
Who knew there were so many different ellipticals in the market? So many to choose from, but only some of them can be your perfect elliptical. Since I am more adventurous and like to try new sports and activities, I am very interested in the ElliptiGO 8C. It is fun and quirky, but is also a great workout.
For those looking for a stay at home elliptical, I would personally choose the Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine. It is sturdy and can hold more weight than other ellipticals so it does not offend those who are not already in shape. It helps you to monitor your health and progress which some may need. This one will allow you to get in shape and not force you to the gym.
On the other hand, if you are looking for mid-ranged compact units you can go for the Cubii Mini Elliptical machine or, if it doesn’t fit your budget, take advantage of the even cheaper one – the Stamina In-Motion unit.
Of course, if you are a true fan of outdoor activities and you have designated a lot of money for improving your overall health and staying in top form, the EliptiGO 8C is without a doubt the way to go!
There are so many different types of ellipticals on here that you no longer need to pay for a gym membership when you can have one in your own home. Exercise is meant to be fun, and an elliptical allows you to watch your favourite shows, movies and keep up with your reading and work. If you are able to purchase one of these machines, then you have no excuses to not use it. Enjoy!