In fact, I should be thanking the elliptical for being there to pick up the pieces of my current fitness program - for being there for me in my time of need. It doesn't know it is sloppy seconds, that while I spend time with it, I long for another. The elliptical can't help that it is trapped indoors on beautiful winter days, that it is lined up shoulder-to-shoulder with other ellipticals, or that it just doesn't give me the "thrill" of a good run. It just soldiers on, putting me through my non-pounding paces, allowing me to elevate the heart rate, sweat out the negativity, and hopefully keep somewhat in shape - all without pounding the crap out of my joints, which seem to to need a break right now.
So, for all that, I should be celebrating the elliptical machine and whoever invented it. Without it, I would be reduced to biking or - shudder - swimming or some such.
One thing I don't understand about the elliptical, however, is all the people I see hanging on to it for their dear lives. For myself, I just let my arms swing free, but I am obviously in the minority. I have to admit to feeling slightly superior to the death grip crowd - well, until those moments when I almost fall off and I have to quick grab on to keep myself from splatting on the gym floor. (Luckily, a quick look around usually reveals that no one has noticed.) It is at times like that that I wonder if I am supposed to be hanging on. I guess I always thought letting my arms swing free copied more the motion of running and worked the smaller balancing muscles. Maybe a mistake? Don't know.
In any event, what has become clear is that I do need to introduce some type of cross-training activity into my routine. I think it would make me a more well-rounded "athlete," and it would then be available for those times when I can't run. Andy rows on his non-running days, but I can't seem to get into it. And, while I like biking, I don't get out and do it too much in the colder weather, and I don't like being on the bikes inside.
So, as I start to develop a grudging respect for the elliptical trainer, I can't help but think that maybe introducing it into my fitness equation wouldn't be a bad idea - maybe once a week or so? It really seems to work my quads - even more so than running - and it is a great, non-pounding workout. Food for thought.
What is your favorite cross-training exercise?
Oh, by the way, Happy New Year!