If you just purchased a home elliptical or recently joined a health club you may be wondering how to get started on the elliptical. The good news is it’s not very hard. Next to a stationary bike, learning how to use an elliptical trainer is very intuitive and straightforward.
Actually, the more difficult part of getting started on the elliptical is knowing how often to train on it and for how long. As with beginning any exercise or diet program, be sure to consult with your physician and get clearance before starting. The best advice when just starting out is to take things slowly to allow both your body and your mind to adapt to the new demands you will be placing on them.
A good target is to train on the elliptical 4 times a week for between 30 to 45 minutes. If your schedule doesn’t permit this frequency, then do what you can. Three times a week for 20 minutes will produce great results if done consistently over a period of time. Just make sure you do something and get yourself moving!
The other thing you want to pay attention to is your clothing and footwear. The great news is that these items don’t need to be fancy or expensive. Just be sure to wear loose fitting clothing that will absorb perspiration. Select shoes that offer good shock absorption and provide a little extra room in the toe box. This precaution may help prevent your feet from getting numb while using the elliptical.
The actual form and motion you use on the elliptical is very easy to master. Just remember to maintain an upright posture and don’t hunch over. If using the upper body handles, don’t grip them too tightly as this will cause your forearms to tense up. Then it’s just a matter of taking full, easy flowing strides.
Most ellipticals come equipped with a large variety of preset programs with the ability to store user profiles. These are really neat features, but my advice is to just stick with the plain old manual setting. The important thing is to determine your target heart rate and keep within it during the core of your training session. As you progress in your training program then feel free to explore the preset workout programs and begin experimenting with advance training techniques such as high intensity interval training (HIIT).
Once your elliptical workout is complete use the period immediately after you finish to stretch out your muscles for a few minutes. This is very relaxing and will make you feel great afterwards. Just be sure to stretch after your workout and never stretch out a cold muscle!
Getting started on an elliptical is really not difficult at all. Take your time; keep your expectations reasonable, and most importantly, stick with it. That’s the only way you’ll see the results that will make you proud!