Medical Q&As

Elliptical trainer - weight bearing exercise?

Can you tell me if an elliptical trainer is any use as a weight bearing exercise?

An elliptical trainer is an exercise machine that allows you to engage in weight bearing exercise that involves minimal stress on the joints. These machines have been devised following studies on the motion of the human foot. Motion studies have indicated that the foot moves through an elliptical pattern as we walk or run. During the workout on an elliptical trainer your feet remain on the pedals, which eliminates any impact on the joints. You stand upright on the device while holding onto the machine’s handrails and striding in either a backwards or forward motion. It is claimed that the low impact non-jarring nature of the workout makes this particular type of trainer suitable for people with knee, hip or back problems. I am unable to provide you with any details regarding scientific comparisons between elliptical trainers and other “workout machines”. I cannot say if it is conclusively proven that they are of greater benefit than more traditional machines.