Monday, January 21, 2019

Switching Gears...Say Hello to Ellie

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One thing I have learned is that running isn't everything.

Even if it's my sport of choice, I have become an even better runner by doing other things. For example, I'm a huge advocate for stair-climbing. I also enjoy an invigorating power walk, any time of the day. Strength-training has also been a longtime supplement to my training.

Recently, though, I added a new friend to my fitness family. I'd like you to meet Ellie. She's my elliptical trainer.

I guess you could say we rescued Ellie from my sister-in-law, who no longer wanted her. She's been residing in our basement for awhile, but her and I are just in the beginning stages of our friendship.

Although it's too early to predict if we'll have a fulfilling, long term relationship, I can tell there are a few features about her that I find most enduring.

First of all, the elliptical is convenient to use. Seriously, Ellie's in my basement, right near a big screen television. We've already watched the entire first season of Cheers together (courtesy of Netflix)!
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She is very quiet. I can barely hear any noise coming from the elliptical as I push/pull the arm handles and slide the foot guides back and forth. Unlike Milly, my treadmill, I can actually hear everything going on around me with ease.

The cardio and sweat equity are legit. I'm still skeptical on the accuracy of the calories-burned readout. I also question the supposed "distance" it says I have traveled each time I finish a session on the elliptical. I do know I am getting a good cardio workout, though. My heart rate is substantially elevated, and I am a sweaty mess after each and every session.
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The elliptical is very kind to my body. Due to the "gliding" nature of the machine, there is no impact to any of my joints. Although the treadmill has a softer surface than a paved street, there's still quite a bit of up and down movement as you step/lift-off with each stride. There's none of that on the elliptical.
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For me, the time goes much faster in comparison to a treadmill workout. I realize there are numerous factors at play for this... (1) it's located near the tv, so I have some entertainment, (2) it utilizes my full body, so it feels like I'm doing more than just running in place, and (3) it's a "new" thing for me right now, so I haven't had time to get bored with it (yet).

Granted, I'd still prefer to be outside, canvasing the town in my running shoes. But, for now, in the dead of winter (in the midst of our coldest week of the season thus far), it's given me an additional  indoor option. An option that I'm starting to like more than I'd anticipated. Stay tuned, I haven't downloaded the owner's manual yet....there's bound to be more to learn about this machine as I explore the various settings and play with the bells & whistles.
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Anyways, that's a very brief peak into the latest fitness discovery of mine.

Have you worked out with an elliptical? If so, did you find it challenging, or felt it was a worthwhile cardio option? Any tips or techniques you'd share?

I'm linking this with Kim and Zenaida for the Tuesday Topics Link-Up

**I'm also linking this with Debbie and Rachel and Marc and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner
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24 comments:

  1. I have an elliptical (currently jammed in the back of the 4th bedroom and unreachable - this will change) and use the ones at the gym, too. I really like it for the non-pounding nature, quietness and the stretch you get on your calves if you keep your heels down. I also can balance a Kindle on the middle thing so can read as I go. I don't tend to believe the calories and distance as actual calories and distance, but they seem to stay internally consistent so can be used as a measure of progress, as such, just not of actual calories and distance.

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    1. I have already noticed my "distance" is increasing on my "timed" sessions LOL I wish I could run those distances with that kind of pace. HA!!!

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  2. I've only used an elliptical when I belonged to a gym. And I don't currently belong to a gym.

    I do have a stationary bike and I use that for some cross training (and swimming when it's warmer -- even though the pool is warm, I find it hard to go out for a swim in the winter).

    I'd love to have a rowing machine, too, but space and $$ are limited!

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    1. I think a rowing machine would be great, too! My abs are always needing some attention.

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  3. Hi Ellie! So glad that you and Ellie are spending more time together. I feel like this friendship will go better than your friendship with Millie, LOL.

    I don't use the elliptical often but when I have had to use it when injured, I always enjoyed it. It never failed to give me a good sweat, but like you, I didn't know if the calorie burn on the screen was accurate.

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    1. I highly doubt the calorie readout is even close to accurate (I don't have any of my stats programmed in...if that's even an option?). Regardless of what "distance" I'm doing, I know the cardio is working ;-)

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  4. I really love your writing. In general, but also on this specific piece. I can't tell if your eliptical is one of the models that glides up and down or back and forth (or both?) but I've found the variety is huge. The reason I started to run was one day I could not stomach the idea of walking to nowhere on the treadmill and I figured running would go faster, but when I can't/shouldn't run - LateralX which I prefer to elliptical is the key to boredom fighting. And "steps"

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    1. Thank you for your kind words ;-) I have always loved writing, but sometimes resented the "structure" of while in school. I love the freedom I have to write MY way (it's my blog, dammit LOL).And, my theory on walking vs. running on the treadmill, is if I'm gonna put in all that effort to run...I'd rather be outside, where I can actually see something other than the walls around me LOL (But, for some oddball reason, I don't mind walking on it)

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    2. That's like me and reading. Nearly always a book in my hand, but if you tell me I must read X? No thanks

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  5. Glad you decided to name her Ellie!..lol
    I think it's great to add other equipment to the "running" routine every now and then to mix things up. I don't have an elliptical but I do have a Nordic track bike for when i don't feel like running on the mill and that is exciting (for a while)..lol -M

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    1. So far, so good with Ellie. I haven't had time to try everything and get bored with her.

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  6. I'm glad you're learning to like your elliptical! I really enjoy using mine, especially for intervals (it helps the time go by even faster and it's a killer workout). In 2012 my spine doctor suggested I not use it because of the twisting motion, but I'm not sure I buy that (I did stop for a while during that flareup). Once I start seeing my PT after this Friday's apt, I want to talk to him about it.

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    1. I had not thought of the twisting aspect...I don't really "feel" it. But, I have not (yet) experimented with the handles much other than to hang on to the front hand grips and rely on my legs to do all the work (that definitely increases the intensity!).

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  7. That is great that you have another equipment in "your gym". I've used it a few times at the gym but it isn't really my thing. Believe it or not, I get bored! :-)

    Thanks for linking up with us!

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    1. I can see how one could get bored on it...glad I have a tv in close proximity to keep me entertained.

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  8. Yay for Ellie! Congrats on the newest member of your fitness family! I love that you named her, too! :)

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    1. I name all my equipment...the treadmill (Milly) and the staircase (Stella) are also team players LOL

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  9. I have been a long time user of ellipticals. They are great cardio on non running days for me. I don't get bored and as you say, a great way to catch up on TV shows

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    1. I think I'd be much less bored on the treadmill if we had it set up near a tv....but, I fear my form would suffer if I was focused on a show and not the task at hand. The elliptical is more forgiving in that aspect. SO far, so good!!

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  10. Back in the day, i.e. When I first decided to get healthy back in 1999, I joined Weight Watchers and at some point started going to the gym. I reached my goal weight in 2001 but I wanted to be sure that I could also exercise at home if I wanted to, so that I could maintain my weight loss. I loved the elliptical at the gym and started investigating what a good elliptical would be to purchase for home. I ended up with a Nordic Track and that thing got SO MUCH USE! At the time there was no Netflix so I'd just put on some good music and then work it until the end! At some point though (it was a low point) I stopped everything. I ended up moving in with my then boyfriend now husband and brought my elliptical with me. But his place was (is) so tiny, I just didn't have space for it and it ended up being more a clothes rack than anything else.

    nowadays we have space (kids are grown) and I got rid of my elliptical and we have a Nordic track bike instead. I do miss it but funnily enough I don't hardly EVER use it at the gym!


    I'm glad you are enjoying Ellie so far and hopefully you will have a long lasting relationship!

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  11. I think every time I've done the elliptical I've found it hard. And maybe my mom's elliptical is just hard, but I cant go nearly as far on the elliptical than on a treadmill.

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  12. You can definitely get a great workout on the elliptical. Despite that, I feel about it like I do the treadmill: as rarely as possible. When I do use it I tend to do interval workouts. It seems like the time goes faster (especially the rest periods!).

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  13. I am just learning to appreciate "Ellie". I meet her at the local rec center and I find that I can still work on speedwork on Ellie, even when I am dealing with an injury.

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  14. I can't get it together on the elliptical. My arms and legs move in eight different directions and it's pretty darn hilarious. I feel like it might be a great workout if I could just get myself together!

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