Exercise is important to seniors as you age to help you maintain your independence, mobility, wellness and quality of life . Regular exercise can help to prevent and improve many diseases and conditions according to the National Institute on Aging.
Many seniors cannot perform high-impact activities such as running or stair stepping as a form of cardiovascular exercise due to joint pain. Seniors unable to perform traditional forms of cardiovascular exercise turn to cross trainer machines for a low-impact, full body workout.
Benefits of a Cross Trainer Machine
The cross trainer is a machine developed to replicate walking, running or stair stepping in a low-impact manner . When used as directed, cross trainers machines reduce many obstacles such as pain and discomfort associated with exercise. Based on the speed and resistance levels you set, cross trainer workouts can vary from low to high intensity to benefit your cardiovascular system.
In addition to offering a great cardiovascular workout, cross trainer machines also work the muscles of the upper and lower body including the triceps, biceps, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves. There are two types of cross trainer machines: traditional and recumbent.
Traditional Cross Trainer Machines
A traditional cross trainer machine is used in the standing position and concurrently works the upper and lower body as well as the abdominals and back. The pedals of the traditional cross trainer move in an “elliptical” pattern.
There are various programs and settings that can be utilized based on your fitness or rehabilitation goals. Programs such as fat burning, hills and target training zones allow the machine to change the resistance at different intervals keeping your routine fresh and fun. You must have good standing balance and tolerance to be able to use this type of machine.
Recumbent Elliptical Cross Trainer Machines
A recumbent elliptical cross trainer machine, also known as a seated elliptical machine, provides a low impact, total body cardiovascular workout that is excellent for seniors who have difficulty exercising while standing. Similar to a traditional cross trainer, the recumbent cross trainer is easy on the joints, has multiple programs and settings and conditions your upper and lower body.
With an adjustable seat, seniors of any size, weight and mobility level can easily position themselves on the machine. An appropriate seat adjustment is based on comfort as the pedals of the recumbent cross trainer move in a “stepping” pattern. Hip and knee flexion should be no more than 90-degrees.
Always begin your exercise program slowly with the least amount of resistance and work up to a level that is comfortable for you. If you feel any symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, fatigue, back or pelvis pain, shortness of breath, racing heartbeat or chest pain stop exercising immediately and contact your doctor. Over exertion on a cross trainer machine can cause pain, physical injury and dehydration.
While traditional and recumbent cross trainer machines are designed to increase your cardiovascular health and endurance levels, it is important to consult your doctor prior to beginning any exercise program.
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