Elliptical machine buying guide
Elliptical Machine Buying Guide
You really do need to know what you are looking for when you buy an elliptical machine.
Some consumers look at the price tag first before they consider what features they want in this kind of fitness equipment and are disappointed when they compare the machine to one that their friends have.
Although your budget has to play a part in the purchase, you should have a price range in mind and then search for all the ellipticals available within that range.
Then you need to carefully scrutinize each machine to see what features it has and how the different models compare with one another.
Some of the must have features that you should look for in an elliptical are:
- Stride length. The ideal stride is between 17 and 21 inches. Some elliptical models only have a stride of 15 or 16 inches which is really too short and is uncomfortable because it does not match your normal walking or jogging stride.
- Upper body motion. You don't need to have an elliptical with moveable handlebars, but this feature on a machine provides you with a total body workout. Your arms and legs move together so all the major muscle groups in the body get a good workout. With this feature you don't need to exercise on another piece of equipment to tone and firm the muscles of your arms, shoulders or chest.
- Noise Level. The elliptical should be quiet enough so that you can watch television at the normal volume control. If you live in an apartment building, you don't want to have complaints from the tenants downstairs every time you start exercising.
- Resistance levels. You need to have a variety of resistance levels to vary the workout and to accommodate beginners and experienced users. You need to have various levels of resistance to make your body work harder as you get used to exercising on the machine.
- Safety features. An elliptical machine should have a warm up and cool down so that you just don't get on and start exercising and then jump off as soon as the time is up.
- Preset programming. If you choose a machine with programs already built in you have a wide range of options to choose from for variety in your routine. Some of the ellipticals have hills, interval or manual programs.
- Hart Rate Monitor. Most ellipticals have a heart rate or pulse monitor either in the handgrips or by using a chest strap. This helps you to know what your heart rate is as you are exercising so you can make adjustments as you go along to make sure you are getting an efficient workout.
- Console display. The console should be able to give you constant feedback as to your time, speed, distance, the calories you burn and your heart rate. Some models have more options for you to choose from.
- Quick Start. You need to choose a machine that lets you choose the program you want by pushing a button. You also need to have this feature to let you change programs or the resistance level while you exercise without having to get off the machine to get the program you need.
- Heart Rate Program. In addition to the preset programs, you should look for a machine that has a heart rate program included. This type of program automatically sets the resistance level to correspond to your heart rate for efficient calorie burning.
- Look at the size of the footplates to make sure they are large and that you will feel safe when you are using them. Some models have a non-slip surface so that your feet will not slip off when you are gliding rather fast.
- iFit compatibility. This feature lets you use other videos and CDs as well as connecting to your computer to download fitness programs. It gives you the feeling that you have your own personal trainer at your disposal.