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Elliptical machine vs. running?

sportin_life

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So I tried an elliptical for the first time a couple days ago, mainly because it was too hot outside and the other machines were being used. I was always under the impression that they are easier to use than treadmills or stairmasters.

Strangely, I got very fatigued after only about 5 minutes on the elliptical. Does anyone else have this experience that the elliptical wears them out quickly? For some reason I felt I was working much harder than with other activities and ran out of breath.

Before anyone states that I am out of shape, for reference I routinely run 5-7 miles 3-4x/week at 7-7:30 pace, sometimes use the stairmaster at 120-140 steps/min w/o a problem, so I think my conditioning is decent.
 

Medwed

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When u use the same machines you train the same muscles. Elliptical must have engaged group of muscles that were underutilized. Yet it is strange that you ran out of breath, I'd expect you to be more tired and complain of new pains next day but not run out of breath.
Perhaps it is time to visit cardiologist.
 

sportin_life

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It's very strange. I'm wondering if I just fatigue fast whenever I do cardio activity with my arms... I get pretty tired swimming too.

I don't think it's a conditioning or health problem because I can run many miles at a time, rock climb, play bball/tennis, etc. without problems but the elliptical destroys me. Ironically, I'm a cardiologist and if it's a cardiac problem it should be pretty uniform across all activities with exertion, so I figured a non-medical, more experience-based approach here might provide answers.
 

dfagdfsh

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why don't you do the elliptical for 2 weeks and see if you can improve? i personally find it much, much easier than running, so YMMV?
 

JayJay

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I often use the elliptical to warm up prior to working out with my trainer. I hate it, so I never use it for more than 15-20 minutes. I'd rather run, but then I get too sweaty.
 
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dfagdfsh

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I actually like the elliptical. set up my phone, stream some netflix, and work out for 40 minutes. easy.
 

mensimageconsultant

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Maybe it's a circulatory or autonomic issue. Either way, it's probably worthwhile to mention to a neurologist.
 

MetManChris

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I actually like the elliptical. set up my phone, stream some netflix, and work out for 40 minutes. easy.
Um, thats not really working out. Fun fact: you get more benefit from a workout when you're thinking about what you're doing, rather than watching TV.

Try going for 10 minutes and actually thinking about it next time.
 

MetManChris

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You're using muscles you're not used to using. You'll get more tired from it, because your body isn't good at doing this new thing you're doing. You're not about to die, you just aren't used to using an elliptical.
 

printyra

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one issue with the elliptical is that you build up lots of momentum so it ends up your momentum is doing your workout and not your muscles.
 

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