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The History of Elliptical Machines
By: Jennifer Dennis

The History of Elliptical Machines

The presence of elliptical trainers has grown more and more prevalent in the
last few years. Go into any public gym and you will see that the number of
elliptical trainers is more than the number of treadmills! While the treadmill
is a popular method of exercise, fitness enthusiasts have grown to love and look
forward to a rewarding hour on the elliptical trainer.

With each year, more and more people realize how important it is to stay fit.
Obesity, high cholesterol and more are increasing among our population, year
after year. Children are now getting diseases formerly seen in elderly
adults—all due to the fact that they are in poor health. With increased aerobic
activity, an individual will add years to their life, as well as appreciate a
stronger body, higher self-confidence and so much more!

Elliptical trainers are a direct result of individuals wanting a superior
fitness workout. For years, fitness experts have encouraged cardiovascular
exercise to help circulation, burn fat, build stronger bones and muscles and
more. The best results were garnered from hiking, running and other
weight-bearing activities. Fitness equipment mimicked these natural exercises
with the creation of the treadmill, stepper and others. Unfortunately, these
exercises also contributed to additional stress on the back, knees and other
joints. There was a need for a machine that could generate maximum
cardiovascular exercise—with minimal stress and pressure on the back and joints.

Enter the elliptical machine. Like many other fitness equipment pieces, when the
elliptical first arrived, it was a huge success. Some in the fitness industry,
however, questioned its staying power. How long would this one last? The
elliptical machine (and its manufacturers) has silenced those critics. Year
after year, the popularity of elliptical trainers shines. The goal to create a
machine that helped a body expend maximum calories through minimal pressure was

The term “elliptical” comes from the idea that the exercise motion performed is
a “preferred pattern of movement.” When you jump on an elliptical machine, the
pedals move in an egg-shape or oval “preferred pattern,” creating a rhythmic,
smooth movement that works your body—without any stress on the back or joints.

The first elliptical was created by Precor in 1995. A key component of the
'elliptical machines’ success was due to the fact that a beginner and expert
fitness enthusiast alike could jump on and receive a superior workout in a
variety of ways—immediately! Reebok came on board with an invaluable addition to
the elliptical machine design - an upper body workout. In 1997, upper body handle bars were added for additional benefit. By adding handle bars that move with the body, an
individual can get an upper body workout that is just as effective as the lower

With each year, elliptical trainers have improved. Today’s handles pump in
perfect coordination with the pedals, enhancing the workout tremendously. In
addition, the upper body handles create a more natural walking/striding motion
for your increased enjoyment. With premier construction and advanced
technological benefits, each new model and style machine has additional
monitors, features and more for your use.

With the addition of a variety of exciting fitness programs into premier
machines, the fitness community has a great machine to achieve a range of
exercise goals. Since the elliptical machine mimics the natural movements of
your body, you can easily and effectively burn calories, tone your body and more
through its unique motions. Monitor your workout with the added speed, time and
fitness level readings on the panel in front of you throughout the length of
your workout.

As the number of distributors and manufacturers of elliptical machines
increases, the competitive nature is sure to bring new and exciting features and
benefits to the machine. Give yourself a great workout on an elliptical machine

About the Author: Jennifer Dennis is a successful author and regular
contributor to - a fitness and treadmill industry resource that features treadmill reviews,
guides, product descriptions and articles.

About the Author

About the Author: Jennifer Dennis is a successful author and regular
contributor to - a fitness and treadmill industry resource that features treadmill reviews,
guides, product descriptions and articles.

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape


Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.

Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:

Dave Snape

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