Is It Better to Use More or Less Resistance on the Elliptical to Lose Weight?

by N.K. Hauptman, Demand Media Google
    Go ahead, bump up the resistance.

    Go ahead, bump up the resistance.

    Sometimes more really is more. By upping the resistance on your elliptical trainer, you can expect faster and longer-lasting results. If you need some incentive to hop on the elliptical, consider the fact that using it burns more calories than walking on a treadmill. The elliptical is also easier on your back, knees and hips since the impact is so low. What's more, the elliptical motion mimics the way your feet move naturally during walking for an ultrasmooth experience.

    Resistance and Weight Loss

    It boils down to simple math; the more calories you burn, the more weight you can lose. Bumping up the resistance on your elliptical requires you to use more energy, incinerating extra calories. A 145-pound woman burns 600 calories an hour during the average elliptical session, but with increased resistance you can do even better. Just don't up the ante too soon; start with a moderate routine and work your way up to higher resistance levels.

    Using an Elliptical

    To get the most out of your workout and avoid injury, always use proper form. Keep your chin up and shoulders back, facing forward throughout the exercise. Tighten your stomach muscles and keep your arm muscles relaxed. Rest your hands on the rails or bars, but don't use a tight grip. If you find yourself losing your balance, you may need to slow it down. Using a higher resistance should slow you down naturally, so that you have no need to lean.

    Precautions

    Taking a few precautions now can spare you a whole lot of pain in the future. Play it safe by seeing a doctor if you're over 40 or if you have chest pain, heart disease, bone or joint issues or any other condition that could affect exercise. Wear quality athletic shoes on the elliptical machine -- you may think this isn't important since the impact is low, but your tootsies still need protection. Set your machine to a comfortable range of motion; the last thing you want is a painful pulled muscle.

    Weight Loss Tips

    Even at the maximum intensity level, no amount of elliptical training will make those pounds disappear unless you also eat a healthy diet. Losing weight is mostly about calories in vs. calories out, and it takes a 3,500-calorie deficit to drop a pound of fat. Fill your plate with fruits and veggies, whole-grain goodness from sources like brown rice and whole wheat bread, and low-fat proteins like tofu and black beans. Aim for 1,200 calories per day to lose weight safely.

    About the Author

    N.K. Hauptman is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, "Healthy Living Magazine," "Organic Authority" and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.

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