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question

If I'm just starting out on the elliptical, where do I begin?

National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Academy of Sports Medicine
answer

It is recommended to start off with 20-60 minutes of cardiovascular activity 5-7 days per week. These guidelines are appropriate for improvements in health and daily living and as a beginner prepare you for greater demands of cardio training in the future. When performing this type of cardio training, it is recommended that you maintain a low to moderate intensity level of 60 - 75% of your maximum heart rate. Should the initial duration and intensity seem too taxing for you at first, you can reduce the duration to 10 minutes and perform two shorter bouts of cardio throughout the day until your endurance is better able to support the previously mentioned recommendations. In order to make sure that your are hitting your appropriate intensity levels and able to track your progress, it is recommended you incorporate the use of a heart rate monitor for feedback.

Wendy Batts
Wendy Batts on behalf of Sharecare Fitness
Fitness
answer
If you are just starting out on the elliptical machine, you will want to keep it at a low speed, low resistance and low ramp angle so you can maintain control. As you become more coordinated and familiar with the stride length, you will be able to increase the resistance, angle and how long you are working out on the machine. I would suggest trying to push yourself to stay on the elliptical for at least 10 minutes to start and then begin increasing your time 2-3 minutes each session/week until you can reach 30-45 minutes without stopping. Once you have reached your goal time, start increasing the resistance and ramp angle which will challenge you even further. It is important to maintain proper posture when using the elliptical, so if you feel your form being compromised, decrease the ramp angle or resistance level to allow you to keep good form and avoid cheating by draping your body over the handles. To maintain good form,  keep your feet pointed forward, knees slightly bent and your back straight (do not hunch over). All of these components are extremely important when beginning to use the elliptical.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.