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Elliptical Machines for Workouts and What to Do With Them

Out of the many cardio machines at the gym, the elliptical machines are probably the most neglected. But there are many science-backed benefits of working out on elliptical machines.

An elliptical workout

For example, your heart rate increases more by working out on the elliptical than on the treadmill. Furthermore, elliptical workouts are considered suitable for both beginners and physically active people. The outcome may vary, though, depending on what you’re trying to achieve. We’re ready to tell you more — just keep reading. 

What’s an elliptical workout?

An elliptical exercise machine, also known as a cross-trainer, is a type of stationary exercise machine used to simulate walking, stair climbing, or running without putting excessive pressure on your joints. 

An elliptical workout greatly reduces your risk of getting impact injuries. Because of this, individuals with certain injuries can use an elliptical exercise machine to stay fit and healthy. You can also work out on an elliptical as part of your exercises after a cesarean delivery. Whatever you choose, please consult your doctor about when and how you should start working out.

Though the total amount of calories burned in a given elliptical workout depends on the resistance level, stride speed, and ramp height, you can usually burn between 270 and 400 calories in half an hour. Furthermore, since your feet don’t leave the pedals of an elliptical training machine during the workout, the workout is fairly low impact, which is easier on your back and joints, unlike a treadmill. 

Cardio training benefits 

There are various cardio training benefits that you can get with an elliptical workout:

  • Improves heart health — Exercise in the form of a cardio workout such as elliptical training strengthens the heart and helps it pump blood more efficiently throughout your body. It also helps lower your blood pressure.
  • Regulates levels of blood sugar — Elliptical training helps regulate your insulin and blood sugar levels, also helping to maintain a healthy body weight. 
  • Helps you sleep — If you have trouble sleeping during the night, you might want to try elliptical training during the day. Regular exercise is an effective treatment for insomnia. Make sure to stop exercising at least two hours before bed. 
  • Regulates weight — Cardio training can help you achieve or maintain a healthy body weight by burning calories. The amount of weight loss is increased if you combine exercise with reducing your calorie intake. 
  • Strengthens your immune system — Research has shown that regular exercise increases antibodies called immunoglobulins in your blood. This ultimately strengthens your immune system. 
  • Improves the power of the brain — With age your brain begins to lose its tissue, and cardio training such as elliptical workouts may reduce the speed of this loss and also improve cognitive performance. 
  • Boosts mood — Doing regular exercise may also help improve your mood and reduce symptoms and signs of depression
  • Strengthens your muscles — Cardio training not only strengthens your muscles, but also reduces arthritis stiffness and pain by way of joint movement. 
  • Helps increase your endurance and stamina — Regardless of your age, cardio training can increase your endurance and stamina. 
  • Alleviates pain — Cardio training can help alleviate pain. You can do low-intensity elliptical exercise during your period to reduce the pain of cramps.

Remember to always listen to your body and regulate the intensity of your workouts accordingly.

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Cardio training tips 

If you are a beginner, start with low to moderate-intensity cardio training exercises. Some examples include bicycling, walking, water aerobics, elliptical training, and dancing. Light walking is one of the safest exercises to do immediately after a vaginal delivery. After some time, you can even incorporate an elliptical workout into your exercise routine after a vaginal delivery

Whatever exercise you choose, start slowly. For instance, you might walk for five minutes twice a day in the beginning. You can then gradually add a couple of minutes to each walking session and also pick up your pace. Soon you might be able to walk briskly for half an hour every day. You can try any activity that increases your heart rate and breathing such as cycling, jogging, rowing, hiking, and elliptical training. 

Include the following three elements in your exercise session:

  • Warm up — Make sure to warm up for a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes before every session to increase the flow of blood to the muscles and gradually activate the cardiovascular system. You can do a low-intensity form of the activity you are planning to do as a warm-up.
  • Conditioning — At your own speed, work up to a minimum of half an hour of cardio per day so that you develop aerobic capacity by raising your depth of breathing, muscle endurance, and heart rate. 
  • Cool down — After every session of exercise, cool down for at least 5 to 10 minutes. You can do this by stretching the muscles of your calf, upper thighs, hamstrings, chest, and lower back. This cool-down session allows your muscles and heart rate to return back to normal. 
An elliptical machine workout

The elliptical exercise bike is excellent for beginners, as it allows you to easily incorporate cardio training into your routine. An elliptical workout is a great choice if you want to condition your lower body and heart while not straining your joints. 

When starting an elliptical machine workout program, begin with a shorter session, 10 minutes or so, and slowly increase the duration of the sessions as you increase your endurance. 

Make sure that you monitor the intensity while doing an elliptical machine workout. The easiest way to do this is by monitoring the rating of perceived exertion (RPE), which measures the difficulty of your workout on a scale from 1 to 10. 

As a beginner, you should stay between a level 4 (an easy warm-up pace) and level 6 (a pace just exceeding your comfort zone). You can make adjustments throughout the elliptical workout to stay at a moderate intensity. 

Perform the workout three times a week, preferably with a rest day in between. Stop if you feel breathless during the workout or if your muscles feel fatigued or weak. You should be able to talk while doing an elliptical machine workout. Add a few minutes to your workout each time you exercise until you reach 30 minutes.   

At the end of the elliptical workout, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Also, make sure to wipe down the elliptical exercise machine using a clean towel. 

Common elliptical workout mistakes

Some common elliptical workout mistakes are:

  • You don’t enter your personal information into the elliptical exercise machine.
  • You keep the resistance on zero.
  • You lean on the armrests of the machine during exercise. 
  • You don’t go backwards and forwards while exercising (i.e. don’t change directions).
  • You don’t change your workout for months. Make sure to incorporate interval training into your elliptical workout. You can do this by changing the pace and keeping the resistance steady or maintaining the pace and changing the resistance. 
  • You don’t work the upper half of your body.
  • You don’t distribute the weight of your body evenly on the pedals. 

An elliptical exercise machine is a type of stationary exercise machine used to simulate walking or running without putting too much pressure on the joints. Elliptical workouts are suitable for both beginners and physically active people. There are many health benefits of an elliptical workout. As a beginner, you should start your cardio workout with a warm-up of 5 to 10 minutes, followed by conditioning of up to 30 minutes, and conclude it with a cool-down of at least 5 to 10 minutes. Stop the workout if you feel breathless or if your muscles feel fatigued or weak. 

http://diet.mayoclinic.org/diet/move/cardio-101

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/aerobic-exercise/art-20045541

https://www.verywellfit.com/elliptical-trainer-workout-for-beginners-1230802

https://www.rd.com/health/fitness/elliptical-mistakes/

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