Unlike treadmills, which tend to have a one-size-fits-all design, many ellipticals feature adjustable workout factors. These are designed to help you personalize your workouts and reach your fitness goals faster. Some of these adjustable factors include resistance levels and incline settings. Pedaling on an incline setting makes it easier to engage the upper body and recruits different muscles than flat pedaling. Most ellipticals offer incline settings between 10 and 20 percent.
Another important adjustable workout factor is the length of the elliptical’s stride. Ellipticals with an adjustable stride generally accommodate people who are between 5’3″ and 6’5″ tall, but some brands offer a wider range of options.
You can also look for a built-in elliptical app that can connect with your smartphone or tablet and display personalized workouts and stats. These apps can track your progress, and some even suggest new workout routines. They can even map out routes to help you get exercise outside your home. This can be a great incentive for beginners or people who have trouble sticking to an exercise plan.
Many ellipticals are made to fold and have wheels for easy transport. This allows them to fit in smaller spaces, but they still offer a full-size workout experience. Some are also made to be more durable and have a heavier weight, which can improve stability.
A good elliptical should have a durable metal or tough plastic frame, and sturdy and comfortable handlebars and pedals. It should be stable enough to support a user up to 300 pounds and have a quiet drive system that moves the pedals in a smooth and consistent manner. Most ellipticals feature either a front, center or rear drive depending on wheel and motor placement.
You should also consider whether you want to follow a pre-programmed workout or create your own. Some ellipticals have built-in programs that guide you through sessions over the course of multiple days. Others, such as NordicTrack’s iFit system, offer a wide array of suggested workouts to keep you on target and challenge your skills over time.
There are also a number of unique ellipticals to choose from, such as foldable ellipticals, under-desk ellipticals and outdoor ellipticals. However, the best ellipticals will have a sturdy frame, comfortable handlebars and pedals, an easy-to-use console and multiple workout programs.
A basic elliptical can cost less than $1,500 and will typically have a digital monitor that displays your speed, distance, calories and pulse. It might not have a lot of bells and whistles, but it can provide a solid workout for the money.
Milena Estêvão is a YouTuber passionate about sharing her experiences (challenges, successes and motivations) in the fitness activities she is involved in.
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