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The benefits of an elliptical

The multifunctional elliptical has been one of the most popular machines to help with health since the 1990s. There are plenty of them available at your local gym, or you can select one that works for your home. They will help your body — and your mind — in 10 ways.

A healthy heart

The main reason for training on an elliptical is to improve your overall health, beginning with an essential organ, the heart. This machine helps your heart function better on several levels. It aids in weight loss by burning calories and fat, minimizing pressure on the heart and promoting circulation. And as your body moves blood at a more even rate, blood pressure goes down.

Burn calories and fat

An elliptical is an easy, safe aerobic activity to get your heart pumping. Aerobic exercise maximizes your ability to shed calories and fat, according to the Mayo Clinic. As the calories and fat melt, weight is also naturally lost. With less weight from fat on your body, your overall health and heart function improve simultaneously. 

Improve circulation 

The Mayo Clinic also says aerobic exercises help with blood flow. Bringing your heart rate up pumps blood through your system at an accelerated rate. This lets oxygen-rich blood circulate throughout the body. Good circulation helps your whole body function at its best. 

Reduce high blood pressure

If you have a problem with high blood pressure, this is likely from poor circulation. Blood circulation becomes difficult when there is blockage in the arteries. The Mayo Clinic says regular aerobic exercise will improve your circulation. The less resistance there is in the blood pathway, the easier it becomes for blood to move at an appropriate pace, reducing high blood pressure. 

Total mind and body rejuvenation

One of the reasons the elliptical has remained popular for so many years is because it works out the entire body. The Mayo Clinic reports only 30 minutes of aerobic activity a day are needed — as often as you can during the week — to improve your health. This can even be broken up into 10-minute sessions three times a day. This will let you see changes in your balance, muscles, endurance and even your sense of well-being. 

Improve balance and mobility

The way we improve things is not by doing them perfectly right away, but by doing them at all. By using an elliptical machine, you are creating a practice that exercises your balance and your body as a whole. According to the National Institutes of Health, as your muscles strengthen, they provide you with the support you need to avoid serious fall or injury. This sturdiness translates into better balance and mobility. 

Target leg muscles 

Strong leg muscles don’t just look good, they keep you balanced and mobile. The weights in the elliptical machine give your lower body workout an extra boost. It focuses on your glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves. A good base lets you move through your day with ease regardless of what obstacles you may encounter along the way. 

Increase stamina

If you are feeling winded from a flight of stairs, or a long walk on the beach doesn’t sound as good as it used to, you may want to improve your stamina. It’s what lets you move through physical activities without strain and with enjoyment. Aerobic exercise improves your endurance by strengthening your lungs, heart and circulation. 

Injury recovery aid

Since it is a low-impact exercise, ellipticals are often used to help a patient get healthy after an injury. Injury maintenance is important to the recovering body. If muscles aren’t worked, they can become weak and joints become stiff. Regular movement decreases inflammation without causing joint stress while you’re healing. 

Boost your mood

Not only is aerobic exercise good for your body, but your mind benefits as well. Through movement, anxiety and depression can be reduced, according to the NIH. This reduction in stressors leads to an increase in overall happiness. Confidence and self-esteem are built up along with your muscles, and enjoying a workout means you’ll be more likely to do it, boosting the rest of your workout. Just throw on your favorite workout shorts and go!

What you need to buy for an elliptical workout

Solomon Speedcross 4 Gore-Tex Men’s Trail Running Shoe

Solomon Speedcross 4 Gore-Tex Men’s Trail Running Shoe

These shoes are sturdy, comfortable and flexible, with outstanding grip and a flat bottom for better stability on the trail — or in the gym. Sold by Amazon

Hoka Women’s Speedgoat 4 Trail Running Shoe

Hoka Women’s Speedgoat 4 Trail Running Shoe

They’re flat on the bottom and comfortable inside. They have excellent traction to grip to any surface and the flexibility to accommodate a full workout. Sold by Amazon

Schwinn Fitness 411 Compact Elliptical Machine

Schwinn Fitness 411 Compact Elliptical Machine

This has everything you need in an elliptical, including adjustable speed and resistance. Multiple routes are programmed so you can explore a variety of terrain with a single machine. Sold by Amazon

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Erica Redding writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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