Does a Cross Trainer Increase Stamina?
Cross trainers have established themselves as a popular choice for those looking for a workout that’s relatively forgiving on the limbs.
But are ellipticals actually effective at increasing stamina and helping build endurance? Cross trainers are an effective and comparatively gentle method of increasing your stamina. They do this in a variety of ways, including boosting cardiovascular health, strengthening various muscle groups, and helping to improve general mood and energy levels.
Today, we’ll be looking in more detail at how ellipticals can be used to raise your stamina levels, so that you can go harder, train longer, and live more energetically from day to day.
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What do We Mean When We Talk about Stamina?
First, it’s worth taking a moment to think about what we mean when we say ‘stamina’. Stamina is a word that gets thrown around a lot in fitness circles, as well as in other areas of life, sometimes without much thought given as to what it actually refers to.
Stamina means being able to endure physical or mental strain for prolonged periods of time. The fact that stamina can be as much to do with mental endurance as it has to do with physical strength is important.
We need to remind ourselves that stamina in all its various forms comes down to a complex interaction of physical and mental factors. All of these factors can have a bearing on our ability to endure difficulty, discomfort, or exertion, and improving any individual factor can conceivably lead to improvements in our stamina levels.
Can an Elliptical Build Stamina?
Ellipticals can be effective, relatively accessible tools for helping you build stamina in a variety of ways.
The first and potentially foremost manner in which ellipticals can help boost stamina is their working of the cardiovascular system. Aerobic workouts, like those provided by the elliptical, cause the lungs and heart to work harder and faster, gradually strengthening these vital organs over time.
The heart and lungs can, in combination, be seen as the engine room of the active body. Strengthening the heart and lungs increases our body’s capacity to inhale and circulate oxygen, feeding the muscles and bodily systems required for motion and exercise.
Cardiovascular fitness is something that people starting out on their fitness journey can feel an improvement in after they have been working out for just a few months.
You may notice you become less out of breath performing various tasks, or that your breathing during exercise becomes more sustainable and more comfortable, even when you are working hard.
To really give your heart and lungs a healthy workout, try performing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on your elliptical machine.
You can do this by ramping up the resistance levels and pedalling as hard as you can for 30 seconds at a time, interspersing these 30 second bursts with 30 seconds of more relaxed, lower resistance elliptical work.
Muscle strength is also a key factor when it comes to stamina. To put it simply, stronger muscles can endure heavier levels of strain for longer periods of time.
The elliptical is not necessarily a top choice for those looking to build muscle bulk. However, cross trainers can be effective at helping to tone and strengthen the muscles and tendons of the lower body. The upper body and core can also be targeted via use of the arm handles.
By gradually strengthening and toning the muscles of the lower and upper body, you can help yourself endure other workouts with less muscle ache and with more power.
This will also help give you stamina whilst performing everyday tasks that can nevertheless be physically demanding, such as gardening or cleaning.
Last but certainly not least, regular aerobic exercise like that offered by the elliptical has been shown to have positive effects on general mood and energy levels.
Improving one’s mental health through regular exercise can have a host of associated effects that also have a positive bearing on general stamina and reduced symptoms of fatigue.
Improved motivation, better sleep, healthier appetite, and lowered anxiety levels can all contribute to a body and mind better suited to the busy, stressful demands of the modern world.
Remember, going from day to day takes stamina, sometimes lots of it! The elliptical can help us build and maintain the mental and physical resilience that’s sometimes needed to manage life from week to week in a way that feels productive and enjoyable.
Can Cross Trainer Help Rebuild Stamina?
The comparatively low impact of an elliptical workout, in which your feet stay attached to the foot pedals, means it can be a great gym companion for those looking to gradually rebuild stamina after a period of injury or long period of immobility.
Users who find that other weight-bearing exercises such as running and athletic sports cause joint discomfort may discover the elliptical to be a more gentle and controlled workout, whilst still being able to get a good cardio hit from the machine.
Furthermore, the elliptical can also be useful for those looking to maintain stamina during comparative ‘rest’ days.
If you have a demanding physical routine consisting of high impact workouts that are tough on the joints, why not intersperse some of these hard-hitting sessions with gentler workouts on the cross trainer to give your body a break?
When exercising during injury or pain, it is always worth consulting a trained physician before embarking on a new rehabilitative programme or introducing a new, unfamiliar workout to a routine.
An ex-triathlete, fitness coach and writer with a Masters in Sports Physiology. Fitness is my passion and I've had my fair share of home fitness equipment tried and tested!