PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – When it comes to exercise, experts recommend at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. However, only 40 percent of adults keep up with that pace.

An elliptical is one machine that could help. It gives you a good workout and is easy on your joints.

What’s the best elliptical machine for you?

Consumer Reports tested 31, ranging in price from $450 to $3,600. Testers designed a machine to measure how much force you need to move the pedals at various resistance levels.

“With a smaller range of resistance settings, you just can’t mix up your workout as much as with a machine that has a large number of resistance settings,” Peter Anzalone with Consumer Reports said.

Testers also measured the position your arms and legs are in as you work out to assess a machine’s ergonomics.

“That’s important because we don’t want you to be exercising on the elliptical and be pulled out of alignment or extended too far,” Anzalone said.

Panelists also worked out on the ellipticals and it turns out there are big differences.

“I found myself leaning forward on it, so I was very close to the controls and such, so it was not very comfortable for me,” Mark Yatarola said.

One of the lowest rated was the Best Fitness BFE1.

“It wasn’t smooth. You felt as if you were being pushed forward, and that’s a problem,” Linda Greene said.

In the end, top ratings went to the Diamondback 1260-EF for $2,200. It’s well constructed, with very good ergonomics, and you can adjust the incline to get a greater variety of workouts.

For far less money, Consumer Reports named the $750 Nautilus E-514 a “best buy.” While it doesn’t have an incline adjustment, it’s well constructed, with very good ergonomics.

Both recommended elliptical machines come with a heart-rate monitor. The monitor is a strap you wear across your chest that wirelessly transmits your heart rate to the machine, so you can gauge the intensity of your workout.

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