Ever since the concept of an elliptical trainer was introduced in the mid-1990s, the equipment's popularity has grown exponentially. And no wonder: They are non-impact and the movement feels quite natural (like running or walking). Add upper body arms and you have a non-impact, full-body workout that can satisfy everyone from total beginners to very advanced exercisers. Although they still haven't dethroned the treadmill as the equipment king, elliptical trainers are edging closer and may be worth checking out, even if you are thinking about treadmills – just because it is yet another option for your consideration.
Why is it called an elliptical?
An "ellipse" pattern sort of looks like a squashed circle or a bit like an egg. If you look at the movement of the feet from the side of someone on an elliptical, they are following that flatter circular pattern. The flatter the circle, the less the "bounce" or height in mid-stride someone will achieve; the higher the circle is, the more bouncy the movement will feel (more like a stepper almost). Some people will like the flatter and more even stride, while some will actually enjoy the fun of the bounciness.
How does it feel?
We often get asked which one is "best," but that is impossible to say really. Although certain models will be very adaptable to everybody and may feel good to more people, the smoothness, length of the stride, amount of bounce, distance of the arms from the exerciser, positioning of the console, and programs available, among other features could sway someone's comfort and opinion.
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