Whether you are in between sports seasons or just easing yourself into a new cardio routine, elliptical and crosstrainer machines are popular low-impact workouts. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but you can still get a great aerobic workout from either. Choosing the right one for your workouts greatly depends on what your focus is, whether it’s fat burning, low impact exercise or a total body workout.
Elliptical machines are exercise machines that allow you to move your legs freely in a smooth motion that has no harsh impact on the body. If you have joint issues or lower body pains you can most likely still use an elliptical machine for toning and fitness. Ellipticals are adjustable so you can change the incline in order to work different lower body muscles or to simply increase your heart rate. Ellipticals also have stationary handle bars, which is advantageous to those who have upper body joint problems. The stationary handle bars also make it easy to balance yourself during an upright workout.
A crosstrainer offers many advantages to aerobic exercise. One advantage is the forward and backward motions that this equipment provides. Most crosstrainers offer this dual-action motion, which also allows you to work different sets of muscles in your legs. You can burn more calories and also get an overall better body workout. Crosstrainers are great for those looking for a low-impact workout. The design of a crosstrainer is specific to the body’s natural stride. Your foot moves on a crosstrainer they way it does when you are walking, running or just jogging. Most crosstrainers offer upper arm bars, which helps to elevate the heart rate quickly. Not only can you get a great workout for your lower body, but your upper body works synergistically with the stride of a crosstrainer to give you a better workout.
Benefits of Both
Both crosstrainers and ellipticals offer you a low-impact alternative to aerobic exercise. This is essential for those who shy away from aerobic exercise because of the impact it can cause. Aerobic activity can help you live longer and be healthier according to Mayo Clinic. You breathe more deeply and faster during aerobic activity which maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood. Using either a crosstrainer or an elliptical machine will get your heart beating and the blood pumping. Your body will also release endorphins because of the aerobic activity, which acts as a natural painkiller and improves your sense of well being.
Crosstrainers give your body an all over workout. Not only are you working your leg muscles, but you are working your upper body muscles as well. You can therefore burn more fat and calories using a crosstrainer vs. an elliptical. However, safety is essential for any aerobic workout. For those who have trouble balancing or who have upper body pain or problems, an elliptical machine may be the better choice.
Danielle Clark has been a writer since 2009, specializing in environmental and health and fitness topics. She has contributed to magazines and several online publications. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in ecology and environmental science.