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Understand Cardio Machines

On rainy days, many of us head indoors for a workout. The treadmill, the elliptical and the stair stepper are three popular machines to help you get some cardio on days when you don’t want to be outside. Even the most basic gyms will have a mix of cardio machines available.

Remember, starting with just 10 to 15 minutes of exercise per day may help you feel stronger and happier. A good strategy for people undergoing cancer treatment or recovering after treatment is to be as active as your physical abilities allow.


The Treadmill

The trusty treadmill is a classic cardio machine used by avid runners and exercise novices alike. Using a treadmill provides more control and less impact than running outdoors, especially if you run or walk on the cement or pavement. With adjustable speed and incline, you can customize your treadmill workout to meet your individual needs. Cancer patients often feel easily fatigued, so start with a slow steady pace and pause the machine as needed.

The big chatter in the health and exercise world these days is the importance of standing up throughout the day and the dangers of sitting for long periods of time.

Previously, we talked about the difference between usual activities and those intended for exercise. Getting a treadmill desk, exercise bike desk or a standing desk can help you boost incorporate more movement into your everyday usual activities.


The Elliptical and Cross Trainer

The elliptical is a favorite machine for those recovering from injury or those who have bad knees. This low impact machine is easy on the joints but still gives you a cardio burst. With the elliptical, you have the option to move both your legs and arms, which is a great opportunity to tone the entire body. Want to work your brain, too?  Try pedaling backwards on the elliptical to change up your workout. You have to think about transitioning from pedaling forward to backward, and the new movement keeps you from getting bored.


The Stair Stepper

No matter how in shape we may feel, walking up stairs is tough. The stair stepper machine is great for helping you practice that inevitable upward climb. The machine may consist of two platforms for the feet that rise and fall as you step, or you may see an accordion-like moving staircase to walk up. Again, this machine offers a cardio workout as well toning of the glutes and legs. If you have knee problems, skip the stair stepper and opt for the treadmill or elliptical.

The big message for the next few months: hit the gym and hop on a cardio machine. Try a mini circuit cycle—do 10 minutes on the treadmill, elliptical and stair stepper for a total of 30 minutes. The time will fly because you are constantly switching up the machine. Especially during the fall and winter, regularly moving your body may help combat some of the seasonal blues.

Be sure to speak with your physician and heath care team before starting any new exercise regimen or making changes to your current routine. Always tell your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use to manage your health.

Stephanie Forsythe MS, RDN, CNSC, CDN

Stephanie Forsythe MS, RDN, CNSC, CDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who works as a Clinical Dietitian and Nutrition Coordinator at a hospital in Brooklyn. She helps patients meet their nutritional needs during their stay in the intensive care units. Aside from developing recipe and blog content for Savor Health, Stephanie also has worked as pastry cook in California and New York City. Stephanie received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and her Master of Science in Nutrition Education from Teachers College Columbia University. She completed a Dietetic Internship and training through Teachers College.

  1. Thanks for the information on these machines. I haven’t been to the gym in many years and I’m anxious to start per your recommendations

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