Regular exercise is necessary to keep us healthy, sustain our weight, and even relieve our stress. But some forms of physical fitness, like running, aren't for everyone.

In a survey of 2,000 people, up to 42% of respondents said they would rather shave their head than run a marathon. The good news is you don't need to run a marathon, or even on the treadmill, to get in your cardio.

This is where the elliptical becomes your best friend.

How can I get a great workout on the elliptical?

The elliptical is a mainstay in the gym because it provides great cardio and a total-body workout while being easy on the joints. But using the elliptical can get a little boring because it's so repetitive.

To keep yourself from getting bored to tears on the one day you forget your favorite magazine or your headphones, here are a few tips you can use to get a great workout on the elliptical.

 

1. Try an interval workout. Interval workouts are a favorite among many fitness fans and not just because it helps you burn more calories and boosts your metabolism, but because interval workouts make your workout exciting. Instead of going the same speed for 30 minutes, alternate 30-second high-intensity periods with 90-second rest periods.

 

2. Add a core workout to the mix. You can use the elliptical for a great core workout by letting go of the handles and only using your legs. Without the help from the handles, you'll be using your waist, back, and abdominal muscles to keep you upright which gives your core an extra boost. Once you've gotten the hang of working out without the handles, combine your core workout with interval training.

 

3. Avoid hitting the 'fat burn' button on the machine. Many people hit the 'fat burn' button on the elliptical when they start their workout in the hopes of, well, burning fat. But as it turns out, the 'fat burn' button isn't doing you any favors. In fact, it might just be doing the opposite. The 'fat burn' option helps you burn fat at a lower intensity, but it doesn't actually help you burn more calories than any other workout option on the elliptical. If you're looking to burn more calories fast, opt for interval training instead. You'll get a higher-intensity workout and boost your metabolism for hours after you've left the gym.

 

4. Play with the incline. If you don't want to play with the speed for an interval workout on your elliptical, consider playing with the incline throughout your workout instead. The higher the incline on the machine, the more you work out your glutes. Change the incline manually every other minute in increments of two each time. The elliptical incline usually ranges from 0 to 20. Once you get used to the changes in incline, you can play around some more by alternating by fives or even going all the way up to 20.

 

5. Keep your feet flat. Keeping your feet flat on the elliptical may sound like it won't do much for your workout, but it actually changes which muscles you're using. By keeping your feet flat and pushing down with your heels, you're working out with your thighs and not just your calf muscles. This helps to burn more calories, strengthen your legs, and add some variety to your workout.

 

The elliptical is a gym favorite, but it can get boring and repetitive if you only go one speed at one incline. Have some fun with your workout by changing things up. You'll burn more calories and will be happier to come back to the gym.