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The worst things about the elliptical

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Heather Milton, a senior exercise physiologist at NYU Langone Health, says too many people don’t work hard enough on the elliptical trainer. So this is what she does instead. Following is a transcript of the video.

Many people tend to use the elliptical trainer and will start reading or watching TV. Kind of forget that they’re for the purpose of the exercise. And we notice that when that happens, the actual intensity of the exercise is reduced.

The elliptical machine is a good exercise when you’re looking for something that is lower impact that can still bring your heart rate up.

Now since an elliptical is on a track that kind of guides you along, it does take some extra mental focus to make sure that you’re also pushing yourself hard enough to get a good intensity level.

Always try to give yourself some resistance on the elliptical so you’re not just going kind freely along the track, that you have enough resistance, that you do feel like your legs are getting that push and that extra work.

I choose not to use ellipticals because I do enjoy more dynamic movements in different planes of motion. So it’s always good to mix up what you’re doing in terms of getting overall fitness by doing not just exercises that keep you in one plane of motion, forward and back, like running and elliptical training but also sports and other exercises that can get you moving in the frontal plane, or what we call side-to-side, or transverse plane, which is in rotation.

If I were to use an elliptical trainer, I would choose the ones that do allow you to move your arms as well. That way as you are moving you have to activate your core to keep yourself sturdy and engaged the whole time. And you do add a little bit more of a whole-body exercise, rather than just using your lower body.

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