The human body is unique in plenty of ways, especially when you start to get more active and try new activities. When it comes to gym equipment, the elliptical is easily one of the most popular, but it leaves plenty of fitness enthusiasts with the question, “Why do my feet go numb on the elliptical?” Although it might be frightening at first as you could assume you’re suffering from a medical emergency, it’s far more common than you think and there’s a single simple explanation.
In this guide, we’ll discuss the most common reason as to why your feet might go numb while on the elliptical as well as some tips that you can use to try to prevent it from happening in the future. The more comfortable and safer you are while working out, the healthier and fitter you’ll become.
What Is the Most Common Reason for Foot Numbness?
First and foremost, let’s discuss the number one answer as to why people ask, “Why do my feet go numb on the elliptical?”
In most cases, numbness is a result of the movements encouraged by the elliptical. Unlike a treadmill, an elliptical offers a very low-impact exercise that requires your feet to stay in the same position for a lengthy period. Not moving your feet from their original location can cause numbness.
Every person has a large number of nerves running throughout their body which help to encourage sensations through all your limbs, and your feet are no different. The more stationary your feet are, the more pressure is being added to the nerves in the bottom of your feet, which can also result in numbness.
In comparison to walking where the entirety of your foot is engaged with every step you take, on an elliptical you stay flat-footed, which results in your nerves numbing themselves. Even though the idea of your feet going numb because of exercise might seem overwhelming, there are plenty of different ways that you can maintain feeling in your extremities while you’re using the machines at your gym.
How to Prevent Numbness on an Elliptical?
By using these tips, you should be able to work out for longer without having to worry about losing feeling in your feet.
Tip 1: Finding the Right Shoes
The first thing that you should do before any workout is to make sure you’re wearing the right footwear; otherwise, you could risk damage to your feet. However, when it comes to the elliptical, you’re going to want to find shoes that give you enough support to promote equal weight distribution. Your best option is to find a pair of shoes that offers additional cushioning, and you’ll want to make sure that you break them in so that they aren’t too tight but aren’t too loose.
There are plenty of brands that have a wide variety of shoes with memory foam padding or additional cushioning in the midsole to help prevent stress injuries and to also support your arch.
Tip 2: Mimic Walking while Working Out
As mentioned, the primary cause of foot numbness is because your feet aren’t shifting while you’re on the elliptical, and as a result, you’re going to want to try to mimic the natural movement of walking as much as possible. Every time you go through rotation on the elliptical, shift your weight from your heel to your toe.
Ideally, if you’re looking to buy gym equipment for your home, you can find elliptical machines that are designed with pivoting pedals that act similarly to bike pedals. They will move with your feet, instead of staying in the same position as most ellipticals do.
Tip 3: Alternating Forward and Backward Cycles
Most of the time, if you’re thinking, why do my feet go numb on the elliptical, it’s likely that your feet will be cycling forward while on the elliptical and this repetitive movement will also limit the amount of movement that your feet experience. Instead, try alternating forward and backward cycles every five to ten minutes. This will not only add a little bit of flavor to your workout, but it will also encourage your feet to get more movement.
Tip 4: Encourage Shorter Sessions
Working out for an hour on the treadmill is easier than you think, especially once you get the hang of it. If you’ve tried all the above tips and you’re still experiencing foot numbness, it could be because you’re engaging in the same exercise for too long. This is when it’s recommended for you to double as much work in half the time; for example, going faster for 30 minutes instead of staying at the same pace for an hour or more.
Another option is to switch up your cardio exercise and try using different machines. For example, using the elliptical for ten minutes, running on the treadmill for ten minutes, and then heading back to the elliptical.
Tip 5: Shifting Your Feet on the Pedals
By far, one of the easiest ways to prevent foot numbness is to simply shift your feet from the front to the back of the pedals as soon as you start to feel numbness. If you find that the majority of your weight is starting to shift to your heel or the ball of your foot, it’s important that you move your foot in the opposite direction to help encourage more blood flow. You can also adjust the amount of pressure on your feet in order to get more feeling back into your toes and feet.
The elliptical is a great way to burn calories quickly with a low-impact exercise, and it can be a lot of fun, as long as you know how to prevent the discomfort of your feet going numb. Luckily, there are plenty of different things that you can do to encourage healthy blood flow as well as limiting the amount of pressure on the nerves at the bottom of your feet.
With the combination of frequent foot movements, the right shoes, and limiting your exercise to shorter segments instead of one long workout, it’s guaranteed that you won’t ever have to worry about numbing again. In the event that the numbness continues or if you are concerned about the health of your extremities, it’s always recommended that you discuss any strange sensations with your family doctor.