What Are the Side Effects of Elliptical Machines?

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What are the side effects of elliptical machines? The elliptical is a piece of fitness equipment that many appreciate, but at the same time, many individuals talk about its downsides.

Let’s read on to understand how the same machine can affect various people.

Why Are Elliptical Machines So Popular If Not All Good?

Every gym in the town mostly has an elliptical machine set up in some room. Such is the popularity of the ellipticals since the mid-90s.

Undoubtedly, the elliptical has become a favorite for many, given its list of advantages.

We have multiple elliptical models, of which the Bowflex and NordicTrack are extremely popular among customers. These models are a definite part of home gym setups.

On the other side, though there are ample benefits of using an elliptical, there are some definite downsides to using this fitness equipment:

This might not be the appropriate machine for use for anyone whose primary aim is muscle gain.

There are many goals behind exercising, of which losing weight is a very common one. But, if burning ample calories is a requirement, try using other fitness equipment.

Individuals suffering from knee injury are recommended to avoid using the elliptical.

Besides regularly using the elliptical, combining other exercises in the fitness routine is recommended–this is important as basing the entire cardio routine on a single piece of equipment will nullify the gains and ruin the motivation behind the fitness process long run.

3 Side-Effects of Using an Elliptical Machine That You Should Know

Individuals generally find the elliptical as a low-impact machine that reduces the strain on the joints.

Indeed a great cardio workout equipment. It’s also true that not everyone finds the same piece of equipment useful and painless.

Sometimes, the ellipticals can pave the way for knee or osteoarthritis pain. Let’s look at the 3 side effects of making use of an elliptical machine:

Unnatural Strides

Working out on an elliptical doesn’t clone the running or walking movements on the road. That’s mainly because of the machine’s design, owing to which some individuals could experience movement dysfunction, thereby suffering from knee pain.

The legs move forward when walking or running on the ground, and the feet don’t touch the ground. Whereas on the elliptical, the feet stay attached to the pedal, and this changes the natural gait

Such changes in the walking movement lead to biomechanical compensation of the joints. Muscular imbalances and joint wear are devastating side effects of gait-related changes.

A 2007 study by the Florida Atlantic University Department of Exercise Science showed that the artificial movement induced by the elliptical leads to knee pain.

This is mainly because the base movement doesn’t match the natural movement of the joints, thereby exerting strain on the knees and hips.

Changes in Intensity

An elliptical is a good low-impact alternative to high-impact activities, but using it alone for cardio workouts affects calorie-burning and muscle-building abilities to relieve knee pain.

Treadmills help work out at a pre-set inclination and speed. Contrarily, an elliptical doesn’t force any programs on the individual, promotes a low-intense workout, and leads to low calorie-burning abilities.

But, if weight loss is the primary focus in contrast to better knee strength, the benefits aren’t very obvious.

Mayo Clinic studies say that an absence of muscle strength can increase knee pain as the muscles aren’t equipped to absorb the stress imposed on the joint. But, ellipticals aren’t challenging enough for building muscles.

Imbalanced Forces

An orthopedic physical therapist in Richmond, Damien Howell, states that “the elliptical is not ideal for everyone seeking to spare the knees.”

Most individuals aren’t aware of the muscular imbalances in the hips and thighs. Such an imbalance can increase the risk of knee pain on the elliptical.

Working out on an elliptical exerts increased pressure on the knee and hip joints compared to natural walking.

The absence of weight-bearing pressure on bones and joints affects bone density and muscular strength gains. Hence, preventing osteoarthritis, knee pain, or osteoporosis avoidance becomes extremely difficult to accomplish

The low-impact effect sounds great, but this can lead to overuse injuries in the knee and hip joints because we tend to work out more inflicting tendonitis without realizing how ready the body is for a prolonged workout.

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