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Make the Most of Your Elliptical Workout

By Rachel Carver

Elliptical machines are easy to find. They come in many styles, can give you a great cardio workout, and are easy on the joints. Every gym has one, and you can easily fit one in your home.

You should always research any machine and how to use it properly. Here are some tips to get you started on an effective elliptical workout.

Don't Shift Your Weight Forward

Using an elliptical can be harder than it looks if you are new to cardio. We tend to shift the weight off our legs when we get tired. Some people will slouch, resting their forearms on the machine. Stand tall, placing equal pressure on your feet and legs. Leaning forward will cause your upper body to take most of your weight, which can misalign your joints. Maintaining proper alignment is important for repetitive movements.

Change the Resistance

Start at a lower resistance to warm up, and then increase it every 4 or 5 minutes until it becomes hard to hold a conversation. Add a short cooldown at the end of your workout. Staying at the same resistance level during your workout will cause your body to adapt and become more efficient over time, resulting in a decreased calorie burn. If your muscles are not challenged, they will not get stronger. Add some high-intensity intervals, and try going backward during your workout.

Avoid Pushing with Your Toes

Some elliptical users put all of their weight into their toes because of sore knees. However, pushing with your toes can actually put more pressure on your knees at an awkward angle and promote bad posture. Focus on pushing the weight toward the center of your feet, and try to keep each foot as flat as possible during the stride. Think of your heel being the pusher instead of your toes.

Put Down the Phone

Holding your phone while using the elliptical can be very distracting. It can also be dangerous because you lose focus on how your feet should be moving. If you are able to scroll Facebook while on the elliptical, you can probably up the workout.

Set Smart Goals

Focusing on how many calories you burn or how long you work out will not sustain your routine. Create a workout plan that includes strength training and cardio. Think about the small steps you take during each workout to achieve the results you want. A good strength training plan increases skeletal muscle mass, lowers body fat, and decreases injury risk.

Focus on physical activity you enjoy. If the idea of routinely using an elliptical does not appeal to you, you should look into another form of physical activity.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Glen Allen, Va.

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