Unlike cross-country ski machines, which require a degree of finesse, elliptical trainers are easy to use. And like treadmills, ellipticals can provide a vigorous workout, but without the impact of running on a treadmill. The weight-bearing exercise that ellipticals provide helps protect against osteoporosis—so that’s an advantage over bicycling and swimming. And there’s no motor; you provide the pedal power, so ellipticals are relatively quiet compared with a treadmill.
A home elliptical trainer offers the convenience of not having to plan your workouts around the weather or off-peak hours at the gym. In a 65 percent increase from the year before, 3.3 million Americans regularly worked out on an elliptical exerciser in 2003. But consider whether you want to devote the money and space to a big exercise machine. A living-room workout is the height of convenience, but you can get fit exercising outdoors or at a gym. If you decide to buy one for home use, this elliptical guide will help you make the best choice.
Where to buy
Budget-priced ellipticals are sold by Sears, Wal-Mart, The Sports Authority, and other national sporting-goods chains. Moderate-priced brands such as Horizon Fitness, Schwinn, Trimline, and Vision Fitness, as well as pricier brands such as Landice, Life Fitness, Nautilus, Precor, and True, are generally sold in specialty sporting-goods stores. Wherever you shop, try out the machine and make sure you can return it if you don’t enjoy using it. (A drawback to shopping online is that you can’t try before you buy. That’s especially problematic with elliptical exercisers because the movement is less familiar than walking or running, and each machine has a different pedaling motion.)
Copyright © 2006-2012 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.