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lateralxHigh Intensity without the OuchI’m one of those crazy cardio fanatics – the more intense, the harder, the better. I was never good at yoga unless it was power or ashtanga versions that kept me moving. I’m not great at taking days off or sitting still.

So what’s the problem? Unfortunately, my body reminds me more often that I’m not 20 anymore – despite my pride, competitiveness and “you’re only as old as you feel” manta. In the last few years, to stay intensely active, I’ve seen my chiropractor more often, don a knee brace fairly routinely, use a foam roller at home and buy the 500-tablet size of ibuprofen.

Although I hate to admit it, I now find that my hour-long outdoor runs are tougher to do on consecutive days. So that’s why I love the elliptical – I can still push hard, get a total-body workout and raise my heart rate – all without the jarring impact that more easily aggravates these middle-age joints. I own an Octane Q37ci, and xMode and GluteKicker are two of my favorites for forcing me to change things up and obliterate autopilot.

And the heart rate programs also kick start sweat sessions – as the machine sometimes jumps to resistance level 20 to boost my heart rate to its upper limits. One of the greatest benefits of the HIIT elliptical is that I definitely know that I get a good workout but come away without feeling beat up or exhausted.