When deciding what exercise equipment to buy many go for a treadmill, but did you know that an elliptical is actually much easier on your joints? Yup, the motion that an elliptical creates actually protects your joints which is ideal for those with knee, hip, or lower body difficulties. Buying a trainer can be a little confusing, there are a lot of options available to you at different sizes, models, and budgets. Here is a helpful guide to buying ellipticals to make the journey a little less bumpy.
1. How Much is too MuchElliptical trainers can range anywhere from $200 to $5000, and for many people, the price is a huge factor in their decision. It all depends on the quality you want. You can get a cheaper model from a department store, but the quality can be questionable. They generally just aren't as sturdy as the pricier ones, so they don't last as long. They may be fine, however, if you have a smaller build and work out more casually. If you have a large build and are using the trainer for hardcore workouts you'll need a model that's a little more sturdy. If you can't afford one of the really expensive machines, then there is no shame in saving up until you can.
2. How Much Space are You Working withThese machines are not exactly small, so they can take up quite a bit of space in your home. Plan for it to range anywhere from 4 to 7 feet in length. You also have to factor in room for the pedals. These will stick out about a foot behind the mainframe. The other thing you will need to consider when finding a trainer that is right for your room is the height of the ceiling. There are some ellipticals that have a maximum pedal height of a foot or more at the apex. If you don't have much head space in the room, you could risk bumping your head when you use the machine.
3. Consider ErgonomicsWhen trying out different ellipticals, pay very close attention to how comfortable you are while using it. You should be able to maintain an upright posture while you're holding on to the handles. Moving the handgrips should be easy and not force your wrists into an awkward position. For most people, the pedals should be as close together as you can possibly get them. Lastly, moving the handgrips or any mixed frame components shouldn't interfere with your shoulders, arms, or knees.
4. The Different Elliptical StylesWhen buying ellipticals, you will run into three different models. Each one has their own unique advantages and disadvantages. A front-drive usually has large wheel housing at the front of the machine. They're affordable because of this basic design but it could be noisy and vibrate a lot. The center-drive is similar to a treadmill but with pedals where the tracks would be. They offer a pretty gentle workout and tend to be the smallest design. The only issue with this one is you have to account for pedal reach in the back. The last one you will see is a rear-drive. These have a smaller wheel housing located behind the pedals, this makes them the longest of the three. The pedals can be on a track-and-roller that allows for an incline. Some use a suspended arm system instead which offer the smoothest workout.
5. Features You're Going to NeedJust like most things in life, there are things you need and things that you want. Here are some features for your elliptical that you are going to need.
- Stride length: You need to look for one that is at least 21 inches or is adjustable. An adjustable one is good if multiple people will be using it
- Smooth motion: Make sure the pedals move smoothly and quietly. It shouldn't feel jerky
- Upper body comfort: You don't really need arm handles, but it's nice for intensity
- Quiet: You shouldn't be alerting the whole neighborhood that you're working out. The machine shouldn't be loud
- Adjustable Resistance: Most machines offer an adjustable resistance and a large range of benefits. Having this will allow you to go further as you gain strength and endurance.