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  • Apr

    How Long Per Day Should I Use the Elliptical Trainer?

    Filed under: Advice;

    There is some confusion over how much time one should exercise on the elliptical trainer. There are alternating versions that one gets to hear depending on who is doling out advice. In fact, for those working out in gyms, this could be even more confusing given that some trainers try to prevent the machines from being overused by members. There are some other factors, which need to be considered including monotony and boredom of working out on the same equipment and overuse injury to muscles.

    woman riding an elliptical

    The Total Amount of Exercise

    The amount of exercise you do on the elliptical trainer varies depending upon your goals and how comfortable you feel with the exercises. It also depends on your body capabilities, in spite of the fact that the elliptical trainer is low impact exercise equipment. One of the yardsticks is to ensure that you have exercised the equivalent of walking or jogging about 20km in the whole week. This sounds quite a lot at first so let us break that down for you.

    The elliptical trainers are helpful because a lot of them do show the number of miles that you have covered. So when you translate it, a 15 minute mile would need a 40 – 60 minute session while a 60 – 90 minute session might be required for those who work out only three times a week. This equates to the equivalent of walking or jogging 20km per week. Bare in mind to get the same benefit from an elliptical compared to a treadmill you will have to workout for longer.

    Alternate Sessions

    It could sometimes be tiring to go on and on with the elliptical trainer routine for about an hour, 5 days a week or even more. One of the alternatives to working out tediously is to break your session into smaller bits. So you can try out 3 sessions of 10 minutes each, at 3 different times of the day if need be. Or and perhaps the best is to try different workout programs on the elliptical or alternate the piece of equipment you’re using for a real circuit training type workout.

    Another way of looking at the training is that you could choose between high intensity sessions and low intensity sessions. You can simulate different types of conditions using the elliptical trainer programs, which will allow you to adjust the speed and the incline. So, whether you need to work out for 150 minutes a week or just 75 minutes also depends on the intensity. You can simulate running, walking, and climbing on the trainer.

    two woman riding on ellipticals

    The Goals

    How much time you spend on the elliptical trainer would also depend on your goals for the workout session. For example, you might need to do the equivalent of 12 miles to eliminate bad cholesterol in your body, which is responsible for various heart diseases. For those who are exercising the equivalent of 20 miles a week, there is a chance to increase the good cholesterol as well. If you have a high cholesterol reading then this is something to consider.

    So ultimately, you need to decide if you are only trying to exercise based on heart rate or you are trying to lose weight as well. Intensity needs to be higher if you want to work your muscles out and to lose weight you will generally be working out at a lower intensity but for a longer period of time. Unfortunately you can’t get a way with too “easy” workouts. You have to do the work to get the most benefit from the routine and while you’re doing it you may as well make the most of it.

    The General Pattern

    The amount of time one spends on the elliptical trainer often varies. While some people are comfortable with just 20 minutes, 4 days a week, others go for a session almost every day. High intensity could let you do shorter sessions especially for those who do some weight exercises as well. This works for people who want to tone their muscles or just lose weight. You will burn more calories if you go for a higher intensity session so you don’t have to do it for so long.

    One of the things you need to be careful about with an elliptical trainer is the wearing down of your muscles. If you put in long sessions day after day, it could put enormous pressure on the muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc. So you need to strike a balance and draw a line at some point. Another important thing to consider is that the body gets used to a certain exercise if you do it way too often. That reduces the effectiveness of the workout.

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