Low on impact and highly effective, cross trainer add variety to a fitness regime, discovers Sangeetha Devi Dundoo
Summer will be behind us soon (hopefully) and we’ll have to be content working out indoors quite often. Training in a gym may be boring but trying a new workout can translate into encouraging results. If you want a low-impact yet effective workout, try using elliptical or cross trainers. Cross trainers, according to fitness experts, give the best possible cardio vascular workout (next only to swimming) and help you battle the bulge without the risk of injuries. In fact, fitness trainers say using a cross trainer is better than regular walking and running.
Irrespective of the brand, cost (trainers can cost from a modest 10,000 to over Rs. 3 lakh) and sophistication, an equipment is supposed to let you vary inclination and resistance, indicate heart rate, time and calories burnt.
A short warm-up routine later, I am ready to begin. I settle for a low incline to start with. It takes a couple of minutes to get into the rhythm. The cross trainer, simply put, works your leg muscles much like a bicycle does. Coordinated arm movements using the handle bar ensures your upper body isn’t left out. In less than five minutes, I feel every muscle in my body growl with pain. It’s just the lack of exercise in recent days, I tell myself.
The cyclic movements stop being tedious after a while as I move effortlessly at a moderate pace. I set myself a target of 30 minutes and keep glancing at the time indicator. It’s been just 12 minutes. I raise the incline a wee bit to try and see if I can keep pace.
Next, it’s time to pedal in the anticlockwise direction. Cycling in the reverse direction, simultaneously moving my arms in the anticlockwise direction, I discover a new set of muscles being targeted. Once I find my comfort zone, the next 15 minutes pass off swiftly. A much-needed cool down session follows.
Use the cross trainer under supervision and as per requirement. If you love walking/jogging/swimming, step on to a cross trainer twice a week to vary your workout. Sportspersons use cross trainers (with higher inclination and higher resistance) to build endurance levels, says trainer Faiyaz Ali. For beginners, he recommends using lower inclines and least resistance to avoid injuries. “It’s a good bet for women to knock off calories. It works on the gluteus, hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles,” he says.
If the heart rate monitor makes you edgy, he offers some help on calculating your heart rate. Subtract your age from 220. Multiply this value by 0.65 and 0.75. It is ideal to maintain a 65 to 75 per cent range, unless you are a sportsperson (you can then go up to 85 per cent).
Cross trainers are recommended for those recovering from knee and lower back injuries as well. Check with your physician and workout under supervision.