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Elliptical Effectiveness...

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Old 09-20-2010, 02:54 PM   #1
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Default Elliptical Effectiveness...

So, running is out for me for now. Something is messed up and it hurts to run. I am seeing a chiropractor on Wednesday, I'm hoping they can help me out with what is going on with my right leg. So in the mean time, I'm doing ellipticals. But I don't feel like I get as good of a workout as running. How effective are they? Am I still going to see good results from doing a workout on these everyday probably? (5-6x's a week?)
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Old 09-20-2010, 03:02 PM   #2
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I think the elliptical CAN be as good. For me, I need to run fast at a higher resistance. It's hard to say if it is as good because it's just different. But I think it's better on the joints.

If one can "run" a mile on the elliptical, will that person be able to run a mile on the ground? No, probably not. But maybe...I don't know. It's just different. I think the elliptical can be a great workout. It depends on what you put into it.

Steady state for an hour? Blech! Intervals? Great!
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Old 09-20-2010, 03:31 PM   #3
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I usually do the aerobics program on the ones at the gym. They have you do intervals of pushing with your arms, pulling with arms, going over 6 mph, then back down to 3-4, then backwards for 2 minutes, then your own pace for 2 minutes. So its a good work out, is that intervals...I'm guessing?
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Old 09-20-2010, 04:32 PM   #4
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If you get your heart rate as high on the elliptical as you did running, you'll burn the same number of calories in the same amount of time. It may feel different or easier because it's a different motion than running and doesn't have impact, but calorie burn is all about heart rate. On an elliptical, it's surprisingly easy to get your HR up to the same levels as running and burn equivalent calories.

An elliptical can be a terrific workout, especially for those of us with joint problems. As a matter of fact, the elliptical was the only kind of cardio I did during the year I was losing weight (an hour a day) and I managed to lose 122 pounds in 50 weeks. So I highly recommend it!
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Old 09-20-2010, 04:54 PM   #5
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The elliptical machine kicks my butt.

Most of the time.

I'm qualifying that statement because this is one machine where I think the quality of the workout varies widely with the brand. (I'm not sure this is as true of treadmills, for example.) Not to mention the maintenance done on the particular machine.

(I'm beginning to understand how critical maintenance is to gyms!!)

I've used some ellipticals that have seemed not so good, at low-cost hotel gyms (elderly creaky-jointed Life Fitness machines), and I have used some very nice ones (a Precor at a college gym, which was so sweet, ahhh, like the Italian sportscar of ellipticals).

Of course, the monitor readings & resistance levels aren't consistent among all the brands -- resistance of eight on my gym's brand is different from resistance of eight on other machines -- so I'm always wondering in the first few minutes of a workout what I'm going to get from my machine, if I've never been on that one before.

But high resistance & going backward ... oh Lordy ... it's almost like strength training for the legs.
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Old 09-20-2010, 05:24 PM   #6
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Thank you so much for the answers. They are helping me to understand a bit better.
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Old 09-20-2010, 08:52 PM   #7
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Can't wait to get back on the elliptical after reading these posts!
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:24 PM   #8
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Make sure you use an elliptical that allows you to bump up the resistance and track your heart rate using the sensors. Also, I find that going backwards on the elliptical for one minute, forward one minute, then backwards again, etc. gets my heart rate up insanely fast and I definitely sweat more.
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Old 09-23-2010, 05:58 AM   #9
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I am interested to hear how people use the elliptical. I think I do it differently than a lot of people at my own gym. The younger women especially seem to be cycling around really fast; they must have the resistance on pretty low. I like to have the resistance really high, so it's almost strength training as someone said above. But it also gets my heart rate up. And I think it's good preparation for my particular weekend thing which is hikes, because I have to carry a heavy pack full of water bottles up hills for those.
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Old 09-23-2010, 06:12 AM   #10
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I love my elliptical!
I do two different things.
Hills, I guess, I increase the resistance every minute until I can hardly pedal and then start reducing the resistance every minute. Some of this I do backwards.
Sprints, I hurry for part of each minute on a nice medium resistance.
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