Is it Ok to Use the Elliptical Every Day?

Woman on Elliptical

Since elliptical trainers are quite expensive, you might want to get your money’s worth by using it every day, but is that a good idea? Ellipticals are simple to use and do not cause much strain to your joints. They are also great if you are trying to lose weight or if you are trying to get in some good cardio on a regular basis.

It is OK to use the elliptical every day, but it is not recommended because, when routinely exercised, the body needs a break every so often for recovery and repair. Taking at least one rest day per week is recommended to avoid over-exercise and burnout. Over-exercising can lead to soreness and discomfort, as well as fatigue and depression.

There are some downsides to using the elliptical every day, but that does not mean it’s not a great way to exercise. Knowing the right and wrong ways of using the elliptical is important to ensure you are getting everything you can out of your workout. We’ll cover all of that here and more.

Dangers of Using the Elliptical Every Day

If you choose to use the elliptical every day and incorporate strength training or intensity training, you run the risk of getting burnt out after just a few days if you do not allow yourself a day or two of rest.

  • Depression or Anxiety: Not taking a rest day or two can result in constantly feeling sore and can make it feel like a chore to do simple daily activities. According to Shape Magazine, excessive exercise can elevate cortisol levels, leaving you feeling stressed or out of sorts.

  • Sleep Issues: If you use the elliptical excessively every day, it could lead to poor sleep due to over-exercising and the presence of adrenaline leftover from exercising. It is best to never over exercise, especially if you already have trouble sleeping.

  • Exacerbation of Heart Problems: If you have an existing heart condition, it is not safe to use the elliptical along with intensity training or strength training for more than five days a week. It should be safe to use the elliptical alone at low or medium intensity if you have a heart condition for between three and five days a week without issues but talk to your doctor first just to be safe.

How Often Should You Use the Elliptical?

Calendar Schedule

It is optimal to only use the elliptical five days per week to allow yourself a break, so you do not get burnt out. You could also do a different kind of exercise on the two days of the week you are not using the elliptical just to stay active, but do not do anything too strenuous since you are supposed to be resting. Some good exercise activities for your off day might include:

Mixing up your exercise routine helps work your other muscles, increasing bone density, balance, and energy.

Is It OK to Use the Elliptical Every Day If I Use a Low-Intensity Setting?

Using the elliptical every day for a long period of time might not be bad if you are only using the low-intensity setting and exercising for a few minutes per day. Using the elliptical this way, though, does not burn many calories, and you might develop muscle memory laziness.

Muscle memory laziness occurs when you exercise the same way repeatedly, resulting in your body adapting to these stresses, which makes the exercise easier – resulting in fewer calories burned.

If you’re not exerting yourself during your exercise routine, it doesn’t matter how frequently you do it. It’s better to develop a plan that makes you work for it – and allows rest and recovery days in between.

How Long Should Elliptical Sessions Be?

Woman Exercising on Elliptical

It is recommended to use the elliptical for anywhere between 150 minutes to 250 minutes per week, meaning you could exercise for between four and six days per week at 30 to 50 minutes per session.

  • If you’re just starting out, it is best to use the elliptical for between ten or 15 minutes per session
  • Gradually increase the time until you reach 30 minutes a session.
  • Keep increasing, little by little.  If you feel like you can exercise for longer than 30 minutes per session, you can increase the time by an extra five minutes or up the intensity of the elliptical.


What Intensity Setting Should I Use During My Elliptical Session?

Gradually adjust intensity along with your time.

At low intensity, you could exercise for as long as 30 minutes to one hour per session since it mimics a walk and is not too strenuous, especially if you use the elliptical often enough. You could up the intensity to medium if you are not quite feeling the burn.

At high intensity, you should only exercise for up to 30 minutes broken up into shorter intervals, so you do not burn yourself out. There are some great preplanned interval exercises for the elliptical, making it super simple to get the perfect workout lasting anywhere between 15 to 50 minutes.

How to Use the Elliptical Effectively

Ellipticals in the Gym

Now that we’ve covered how often to use the elliptical and how long your sessions should be, let’s get into some tips and tricks to make your elliptical workout the best it can be:

  • Incorporate strength training into your routine, so you are not just doing the same exercises every day. You could also incorporate intensity training into your routine to help burn more calories and change up your usual routine, so your workout does not get boring.

  • Keep your feet flat when using the elliptical, so you are not walking on your toes because this can put too much strain on your legs and feet. Also, it is best to keep your knees bent because this can ease a lot of the unnecessary strain on your knees.

  • When changing up speed and intensity on your elliptical, you could also reverse it to work other parts of your lower body that would otherwise not get worked when simply going forward. Going in reverse can be hard on your knees, so take it easy and do not go too fast.

  • Use the elliptical with or without the stationary or moving handles but using it without the handles requires more balance. If you use the handles, it can help you stand up straighter, and the moving handles could help work your upper body as well.

Dos and Don’ts for Using an Elliptical

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty – here’s how to keep your body and machine in perfect harmony for the ultimate elliptical workout.

 DoDon’t
FeetKeep your feet flat.Walk on your toes.
KneesKeep your knees bent.Straighten your knees.
BackKeep your back straight.Slouch or lean forward.
Reverse MotionReverse motion to work other parts of your lower body.Use the forward motion only.
HandlesUse the handles to work the upper body and help maintain balance.Use the handles for an entire exercise session.
FocusPay attention to your posture, your core, and your breathing.Get distracted or passively workout while reading a magazine or book. Keep focused.
RoutineMix it up. Try different two-minute intervals to keep your workout fresh: sprint, go backward, climb, etc.Do the same routine every day. Not only will you get bored, so will your muscles.

You Don’t Have to Use an Elliptical Every Day to Reap the Benefits

Using the elliptical regularly can improve your muscles, lungs, and heart giving you more endurance and stamina. Another great benefit of using the elliptical is, there is less impact on your back, hips, and knees since your feet are not hitting the ground like they would when you go for a jog or run.

Using the elliptical every day or every few days can:

  • Significantly improve your cardiovascular health. In addition to cardiovascular benefits, using the elliptical regularly can also reduce blood pressure due to the release of serotonin, aka the feel-good hormone.

  • Help improve blood and oxygen circulation. This, in turn, boosts immunity and reduces the risk of chronic illness. Another benefit of using your elliptical routinely is, it can reduce some inflammation and help relieve stress at a low or medium intensity.

  • Provide weight-bearing exercises that keep your bones healthy. This can help build bone density. This, in turn, improves balance, which is beneficial when you grow older.

With proper attention to your body and with the advice of your doctor, there may be nothing wrong with using this machine every day, but just remember that it’s really not even necessary to get the maximum health benefits from your elliptical.

Benny Laker

I am the owner of High Tech Fitness. I love testing any kind of exercise equipment and enjoy sharing my insights with you.

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