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Elliptical machines are ideal for people with joint pain problems.
Elliptical machines are ideal for beginners looking to get off the couch and get into shape. It's a low-impact machine that won't put excessive stress on your joints, and it burns nearly as many calories as jogging at a brisk 7 mph for the same duration. When getting started with elliptical training, it's important to designate time each day to ensure you stick with it for the long term. Depending upon your lifestyle and current daily schedule, there are different ways to set up your workout schedule to work best for you.
One way to get started is by taking a progressive approach. This is an ideal scenario if you're severely overweight, or it's been decades since your last workout. Start out slowly by exercising on the elliptical for 15 minutes per day, Monday through Friday. Rest on the weekend. Increase the exercise time to 20 minutes starting on Monday the following week, and continue with 20-minute elliptical workouts for the remainder of the work week. After resting again on the weekend, increase your workout duration to 25 minutes per day Monday through Friday. Continue increasing by five minutes each subsequent week. Easing into an elliptical workout like this will help your body adjust to the movement for a safer workout, and it will also keep your body challenged by progressively increasing the duration of the workout.
Same Day, Same Time
Finding time to exercise is nearly impossible for some people. If you fall into this category, this elliptical training schedule will work for you. You've already decided to get started with an elliptical program; now the next step is to determine a 40-minute block of time each day, Monday through Friday, to pencil in a workout. Write down this information on your calendar, on your smartphone, and anywhere else it's easily visible. This will help you stick to it day in and day out. Your 40-minute elliptical workouts will include 30 minutes of actually training on the elliptical and 10 minutes for warming up, stretching and cooling down.
Break It Up
If there's simply no way to set aside a 40-minute block during each work day for exercise, break it up into smaller chunks. Exercising for 10 minutes three times throughout the day - a total of 30 minutes - offers all the same health benefits as exercising for 30 minutes straight. One way to go about doing this is to hit the elliptical in the morning before work, again at your lunch break, and finish with a 10-minute workout after dinner. Get in the habit of doing this elliptical schedule five days per week to meet the physical activity guidelines - a combined 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise -- spelled out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Spice It Up
Don't let your elliptical workouts get boring. Elliptical machines offer the advantage of allowing you to pedal forwards and backwards. Use a varied pedal motion to exercise all of your leg muscles. Also, add variety to your workouts by increasing the resistance a bit once you get the hang of it. You'll burn more calories and get a better workout. You can also try doing intervals by alternating your speeds to keep each workout fresh. Listen to music or watch TV while you exercise to keep your body moving while at the same time keeping your mind occupied. The first few months of training are the toughest. If you can survive exercising five days per week for the first two or three months, workouts will eventually become habit and simply a part of your daily routine. That's the goal for long term success.