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Is 15 Minutes On The Elliptical Beneficial?

Is 15 Minutes On The Elliptical Beneficial?

Setting aside time to exercise during the day may seem time-consuming and strenuous. Especially after a long day at work, going to the gym or taking a jog throughout the neighborhood may seem like the last thing you want to do. As dreading as it may be, exercising has so many benefits that will make it worth it. 

The average recommended time for an adult is spending 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week to benefit from exercising. You can use this time by a strict schedule of 30 minutes a day for five days, or you can disperse them out randomly throughout the week to reach 150 minutes. Either way, this amount of time may seem very challenging to some. 

If time is a concern for you, those 150 minutes can be substituted for 75 minutes per week. This is recommended if you can utilize your time wisely by spending that time working vigorously. This can easily be dispersed in 15-minute increments for five days out of the week. Luckily, there are various workout routines that can help you achieve this goal. One such example is the elliptical machine, as it contains various features to help you obtain a vigorous and effective workout. 

What Is An Elliptical?

First and foremost, it is important to know what an elliptical machine is and what features it entails. An elliptical machine is typically stationary, as it mimics the motions as if you were walking, jogging, or hiking. There are some elliptical machines out there, like StreetStrider, that enhance your experience even more by allowing the machine to move outdoors. With two platforms for your feet and two arm levers, this workout engages your upper body, lower body and core. 

Elliptical machines offer both a full-body workout and cardiovascular training, all without putting large amounts of pressure on your joints. This is a great advantage for people who have joint discomfort and those recovering from an injury. Therefore with just one machine, you are able to obtain an upper body, a lower body, and a core workout, all the while reducing the chances of injuring your body. With all of these benefits, you can believe that just 15 minutes on the elliptical every day is sufficient. 

There are different settings that you can manipulate to target different muscle groups to increase your heart rate or to provide a more challenging workout. Knowing the various functions is important in order to reach your target goal. 

Ways To Use The Elliptical Machine

Just 15 minutes on the elliptical can be beneficial to your overall health, as long as you are using your time efficiently and effectively. This can be done by using  a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) method. This contrasts with the more commonly steady, moderate state most people utilize for their cardio training. Working out at a higher intensity for a shorter amount of time can be just as beneficial as when you are working out at a lower intensity for a longer period of time. 

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercises(linkWhatisAerobicExercise?) requires the presence of oxygen to produce enough energy for your body during your workout. These are the types of activities that will get your heart to beat faster and your lungs to breathe harder in order to get enough oxygen flowing throughout your body. Aerobic exercise is the more common form of exercise when people think of working out. This includes activities such as running, biking, and swimming. 

What sets aerobic exercises apart from anaerobic exercises, which we will give more detail about later, is the availability of oxygen and the amount of intensity throughout the exercise. A good way to keep track of the intensity of your workout is by tracking your heart rate. Typically during a moderately intense workout, your heart rate should be about 50% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate can easily be calculated by subtracting your age from 220 beats per minute. During a more vigorous workout, your heart rate should be about 70% to 85% of your maximum heart rate. 

Anaerobic Exercise

As we mentioned earlier, the main difference between aerobic exercise versus anaerobic exercise is based on oxygen and the intensity of your workout. Anaerobic exercise consists of more vigorous and intense workouts. Without the presence of oxygen, your body uses sources, such as glucose, to fuel your energy needs. This is because glucose is readily available. 

Throughout the day, your body is continuously storing and releasing glucose to maintain adequate levels for your body. Due to the higher intensity setting of anaerobic exercises, most workouts are for a shorter amount of time. Knowing this, your body ends up using glucose as an immediate energy source rather than waiting for oxygen to circulate around the body. 

This is where your 15 minutes on the elliptical can be beneficial and well worth your time. With the different features and settings that are adjustable, you are able to achieve all the benefits from a high-intensity workout. As you read on, you will be able to learn the technique that can help you incorporate high-intensity workouts into your time on the elliptical. 

Strength Training

Not only does the elliptical provide a means of cardiovascular training, but it also allows you to strengthen and tone your body as well. By altering the amount of incline and resistance, your muscles end up working harder to persevere through the workout. 

The elliptical machine provides an array of muscle groups that are constantly engaged. It can work your upper body muscles such as your biceps, triceps, shoulder, back, and chest. It can also work your lower body muscles such as your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and gluteus maximus. And as the machine naturally drives your body to maintain proper posture and stand up straight, it engages your core and abdominal muscles as well. 

Strengthening your muscles is important when it comes to incorporating it into your workout routine. It is beneficial during high intensity workouts as you can exert more power within each session. On top of that, the more you involve your muscles in your workout, the more calories you burn. This is because strengthening your muscles causes them to not only burn calories during the workout but even continues to burn calories after your workout and at rest. 

How Do I Incorporate HIIT?

What is high-intensity interval training? Well, it is exactly that. It is a type of training consisting of various intervals of high-intensity workouts. These intervals usually last for a shorter amount of time than what you are probably used to. It comprises of multiple short bursts of a high-intensity exercise followed by periods of a lower intensity exercise or rest. Alternating this pattern helps your heart rate reach up to that 80% you need. Due to the efficiency of HIIT, 15 minutes is plenty of time to reach your weekly physical activity goal. 

Incorporating HIIT into a 15-minute elliptical workout is simple. Here are a few ideas and tips to get started:

Altering Incline

Begin your first minute on a comfortable incline, preferably not on a flat plane to start. This will be considered your low intensity or rest phase. After every minute for five minutes, increase the incline on your elliptical by doubling what you started with. After those first five minutes, bring your incline back to your starting position and repeat until you have reached your 15 minutes.

Altering Resistance

Another way to incorporate HIIT into your 15-minute elliptical routine is by adjusting the resistance. Begin your first minute at your starting resistance, whether or not you add any resistance at all. For beginners, it is recommended to start without any resistance, and over time, you will be able to increase what you consider as your low-intensity starting point.

After the first minute, alternate between periods of high intensity and low intensity. Your higher intensity session should consist of moving as fast as you can while at a higher resistance than what you started. Your lower intensity session should be the setting you originally started in. The time allotted for each session is up to your discretion while still keeping in mind your target heart rate. Gradually, you will be able to increase your high-intensity session and decrease the time needed to rest.

As always, do not forget to set aside time to warm up before, cool down after, and stretch within your workout to minimize any injury in your body.

Conclusion

In conclusion, spending 15 minutes efficiently on the elliptical is, in fact, beneficial. Using your time wisely by incorporating high-intensity interval training into those 15 minutes, you will be on your way to reaching your target. Ditch the sprints and burpees and try out a new way to integrate HIIT into your elliptical routine. 


Sources:

  1. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/resources/physical-activity-amount#:~:text=Adults%20should%20do%20at%20least,provide%20even%20more%20health%20benefits 
  2. https://reference.jrank.org/fitness/Elliptical_Trainer.html 
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise-intensity/art-20046887#:~:text=The%20American%20Heart%20Association%20generally,of%20your%20maximum%20heart%20rate 
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