Not every elliptical is created equal and you should have a pair of comfortable shoes on ready to test them out. While ellipticals are great for a lot of us, pills a badly designed one can cause more harm than good. We hope to give you a few tools to take with you while you are searching for yours.
An elliptical, simply put, is a non-impact cardiovascular product where the pedal moves in an ellipse pattern. You can find them in all different forms: rear drive, front drive and core drive. You can find them with adjustable strides and adjustable inclines. You can also find them fully programmable, complete with mp3 inputs, fans and some come with TV’s. What is important to your search and important to your success with your new elliptical is what we should find out. In my experience you have to look at a couple key factors to begin with.
First, you need to look at the company that you are purchasing from and the manufacturer(s) they are selling. The fitness specialty stores will most likely have the better selection of ellipticals and they will be more knowledgeable about their products. Once you have found a reputable place to go, then testing them out is the next thing to do. As you are testing the ellipticals, focus on the way it works with your body, not the brand name or the console features. There are some really great programs out there. there are some great brands also, but if it doesn’t fit you then that shouldn’t matter. As you are testing them, find the right stride for your body. Stride lengths are not all you want to look at. The biomechanics of that stride is even more important. There have been ellipticals with the same stride length, but two different feeling motions. This comes from the roundness of the stride and ellipse pattern. The better ellipticals, like the one we have looked at with Octane, are the ones that mimic the human body. Once you find one or two that fit your body, you will then realize how those others didn’t fit you.
Next is stride vs. incline, and this is a tough comparison. Stride is a more useful adjustment in a lot of fitness professional opinions due to stress levels. Having an incline on an elliptical can put the body in a contorted position and cause undue stress to your joints. Stride adjustments however have proven to be very effective in muscle stimulus, adjusting to multiple users and variety to workout. If you have a bad knee, then some set stride ellipticals can keep the pressure on your joint. If you have a stride adjustment, then you can find a comfortable stride that takes pressure off that joint. Lastly you want to look for programming that will motivate you. We all have Ipods or MP3 players already, so we can look past those. Fans are nice, but let’s make sure that the programming that you focus on is something that will motivate you when you need it. Heart rate programming is also great because it takes most of the guessing out of exercise and maximizes your workout.
So, when you are searching for a new elliptical, you can look at review sites and brand name recognition. Or you can go out and test them as you would a car, test drive them! You will be amazed at how different they are from each other and how so many aren’t right for you. Once you find a good elliptical for your home, you will be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
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