What is an elliptical machine?

An elliptical cardio machine moves the legs in an elliptical motion while pushing and pulling the arms. The elliptical incorporates many muscles, yet reduces potentially harmful forces from the impact. Since your feet never lift off the pedals, you reduce stress on the knees.
An elliptical trainer is sometimes referred to as a cross-trainer and is a stationary exercise machine.  It is used to simulate walking or running without causing excessive pressure on the joints, which will reduce the risk of impact injuries. There are three types of elliptical trainers, categorized by the motor or drive location. The oldest elliptical design is the rear drive type. The front-drive elliptical was the second generation design. The latest design technology is the center-drive.  Many of these units will also have an upper body attachment. There are claims that the dual action exercise of an elliptical trainer can actually be more efficient in burning calories. The logic is that by exercising more muscle groups simultaneously, a more intense workout can be achieved in less time. It is also suggested that the perceived rate of exertion is lower. An elliptical cross trainer is comparable to a treadmill in its exertion demands of the leg muscles and the heart. Ellipticals produce an intermediate range of leg motion between that of stationary bikes and treadmills.

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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.