There are tons of different types of exercises out there. From running to using an elliptical and taking a body sculpting class, all these exercises can be categorized in ways that can be a bit confusing, particularly for those who have never taken a workout class before.
If you are finding the world of fitness a bit overwhelming but are trying to plan your workout routine, you might be coming across some words like “low-impact” or “weight-bearing.” But which type of exercise fits what category? Is the elliptical a weight bearing exercise?
It can be hard to understand the system of categorizing exercises, but we can help you do just that. With this information, you’ll be able to plan a more thorough and efficient workout.
Types of Exercises
As mentioned, there are a few different types of exercises that you might want to add to your workout. Most exercise plans recommend that you shuffle through the different types to build muscles and gain cardiovascular energy more efficiently.
1. Weight-Bearing Exercises
The group of weight-bearing exercises is the one that requires you to work against gravity or another weight to improve your bone and muscle strength. Common weight-bearing exercises include weight training, walking, jogging, tennis, and dancing.
Weight-bearing exercises are focused on building up strength. This strength can be in your bones or muscles, but the goal is to create a stronger foundation that your body can use to work effectively. Improving your bone mass is important because it will eventually start to degrade as you get older. Doing a weight-bearing exercise can prevent issues that affect the aging population such as osteoporosis.
2. Low-Impact Exercises
Low-impact exercises are those that do not put excessive pressure on your hips or knees. To be qualified as low-impact, an exercise has to put less stress and impact on your major joints than other standard exercises.
These exercises are essential for those who have weak bones, are suffering from various joint-related injuries, or those who hope to prevent any such issues from occurring. Low-impact exercises are also recommended for pregnant women.
Some of the most common low-impact exercises include:
- Using the elliptical
- Using a recumbent bike
- Lightweight lifting
- Ballet dancing
3. Aerobic Exercises
These exercises require more oxygen to pump through your system throughout the workout or those that make you breathe a lot. You may also see this type of exercise referred to as cardio exercise because it focuses on building up your cardiovascular system.
These exercises increase both your heart rate and your breathing rate so that you are pumping lots of oxygen throughout the exercise session. Common aerobic exercises include running, swimming, kickboxing, and spinning. If you want to improve your cardio fitness, you should do more aerobic exercises. If you do them at too high of an intensity level, they can become anaerobic exercises.
4. Anaerobic Exercises
Anaerobic exercises are those that cause you to run out of oxygen very quickly. This might be something like lifting a hefty weight or sprinting a short distance. The goal of these exercises is usually building strength, or another specific muscle as opposed to working on the part of the body for a prolonged period as you do with cardio exercise.
Strength, speed, and power are the main goals of anaerobic exercise, but it cannot be performed long-term without causing cramping due to the excess lactate buildup that occurs.
5. Strength, Balance, and Flexibility Exercises
Various exercises may also be listed as strength-building, balanced-focused, or flexibility-focused. Each of these terms is very straightforward. Having a good mix of all these types of exercise in your routine is important for building a well-rounded and strong body.
The Bottom Line
Unfortunately, the categories of exercise are still going to be confusing even with this knowledge because most exercises will fall into multiple categories. For instance, running is both an aerobic and a weight-bearing exercise, but it can be an anaerobic exercise if you only sprint a short distance and your breathing rate gets high enough.
For that reason, it’s better to understand these individual terms as overlapping categories that work together to create the ultimate workout plan rather than thinking of them as distinct categories of exercise types.
Is the Elliptical a Weight Bearing Exercise?
Now let’s answer the vital question that brought you here today: “Is the elliptical a weight bearing exercise?” The simple answer is yes! The elliptical is a weight-bearing exercise. In fact, it is a low-impact, weight-bearing exercise.
When you use an elliptical, your body weight is working against you. Depending on the resistance level that you choose, you may feel the effects of this more or less than other people. Despite that, the elliptical is very easy on your joints, so it’s a good exercise for people of all ages and even for pregnant women.
If you are strictly looking for a weight-bearing exercise though, it is important to note that the elliptical is not one of the top-performing machines when it comes to a weight-bearing exercise. It blends cardiovascular workout with low-impact, so you get a nice blend of all of the above.
When used properly though, you’ll find that the elliptical is great for building strength, improving the cardiovascular system, and even improving your posture. There aren’t a lot of pieces of workout equipment out there that could do all those things, so it can be a great machine to work into your cycles if you get tired of the stationary bike or treadmill.
Mix and Match Your Workouts
As you can see, there are many different types of workouts that you might want to try, but they’re not all created equal. Depending on your goals for working out, you will want to choose a mix of weight-bearing, aerobic, and low-impact exercises to ensure that you get good results without hurting yourself.
Working out can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Focus on a few exercises at first that balance each other out, and you’ll see great successes in no time!