It might help to explain the mechanics behind elliptical fitness equipment. It  is like having both a ski machine and a stair-stepper. Your feet slip into pedals and move the roller or a fly wheel track in an extended oval shape movement, or ellipse.

Why is that a good idea? Reason number one, it is a low impact exercise machine. You get the same, if not a better, workout as if you were on a treadmill, but your joints take less of a beating in the process. Your knees, ankles and hips will thank you.

A second reason is that you only have to buy one machine instead of several. The elliptical fitness equipment movement, combined with an incline and handle bars, gives you the upper body workout of skiing while the pedals move your lower body as if they were walking in thick sand. The torso is put into a correct posture position so you also work your shoulders, back and abs. 

Third reason, is that you also get a great cardio workout when using an elliptical fitness equipment. Most come with a heart monitor so you can tell when you are in the fat burning zone of your routine. The constant smooth movement helps you burn up to 300 calories per half hour.

Number four is space. Obviously this machine takes up a lot less space. You can fit one in the corner of any room and still have plenty space, as long as you have ceilings over ten feet high.

The fifth reason is the cost. Most elliptical fitness equipment units cost around $2,000.00, which breaks down to a little over $160 per month or $5.50 a day. That is cheaper than many gym membership programs. You can get models under the $2K range, but you have to make sure you are getting a quality machine.

Consumer Reports and the treadmilldocotor.com have both done extensive studies on the various brands and models of elliptical fitness equipment. They looked for sturdiness, durability and smoothness of the ride as well as the comfort of the stride.  Here are some brands that passed with high ranks in customer satisfaction.

  1. Body Solid Endurance E400 is ranked high. It starts at about $1700 and goes up into the $2,000 range. The models have 20 levels of intensity and adjustable handle bars. All have heart monitors, some wired and some wireless.  There are even ports to hook in your IPod or MP3 player.
  2. The Smooth CE 3.2  was another that ranked high. it ranked well also on Amazon.com and consumersearch.com.  It has a wireless heart monitor and moveable handle bars.  However, the stride length is shorter, so it felt more comfortable to a lot of folks.  It sells for around $1700.00. The potential downside is that the elliptical track operates on a fly wheel system instead of rollers like the Sole E series do. That makes the ride a bit less smooth. It does have a handy holder so you can read hands- free while you workout.
  3. Amazon and treadmilldoctor.com both show high stars for the Diamondback 1260Ef. At just under $2K, it has a motorized incline adjustment as well as 20 levels of intensity.  The heart monitor is wired, however, It supports a 19 inch stride which makes the machine comfortable for the average man or woman, and comes with computerized workout regimes.
  4. If you want the Cadillac model, check out the Life Fitness Cross-Trainer series.  It ranges between $2000-$3700. It has several levels of intensity but also has twelve distinctive options on how it moves, so you can vary your workout and target different muscles. The ride is super smooth, but it does weigh close to 400 pounds when fully assembled.

The important thing is to try them out before you decide to buy. Make sure the ride is smooth enough for you and the stride is comfortable to avoid injury. It is up to you if you want it to incline or not. But remember this, the more variety, the longer the machine will grow with you as you gain energy and stamina. If you take all this into factor, you are sure to find an elliptical fitness equipment that is just right for you.