Looking to buy Home exercise equipment? Here is how to choose between two of the best-selling ones: treadmills and ellipticals
Both elliptical trainers and treadmills are two of the most popular home fitness equipment. They are excellent tools for getting an aerobic workout indoors. In fact, When you compare ellipticals vs treadmills, you will quickly realize that treadmills have been around much longer whereas elliptical machines have only come to the party fairly recently. As a result, treadmills are wider known and more commonplace. However, a quick trip to your local gym will show that there are almost as many ellipticals these days as there are treadmills. There is a good reason for that.
A quick comparison:
When you compare treadmills to elliptical trainers, you can’t help but notice how impact free the elliptical machine is.
With the elliptical trainer, there is no impact on the ground, so the joints in your lower body are free from any abuse. Although the treadmill mat is better for your knees than cement, there is still a significant amount of impact on your joints.
One obvious point that is in favor of treadmills is that it provides a better training experience for a dedicated runner/jogger than an elliptical trainer. If you are training for a marathon or even a 10k, and you don’t want to go outdoors too often during the months, you are certainly better off with a quality treadmill.
That being said, if you are looking for a quality aerobic workout with the maximum amount of efficiency, you will not be able to overlook the elliptical trainer. Most ellipticals give you a total body workout if you have dual action handlebars for your arms and foot pedals for your legs, whereas treadmills focus more on your lower body as they simulate the jogging experience.
What is even more interesting, according to recent studies, is that the lack of impact on the joints allows the user to burn roughly the same amount of calories as treadmills with the impression of putting CONSIDERABLY less effort.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that ellipticals have been the machine of choice for senior citizens with knee problems, as well as physical trainers who are involved in rehabilitating their clients.
This is what Thomas Altena, an exercise physiologist at the University of Missouri-Columbia, had to say: “The physiological responses associated with elliptical exercises were nearly identical to treadmill exercises.” He went on to conclude that “both exercise machines are effective for increasing the amount of calories burned and for producing cardio respiratory health and training benefits…”
Finally, one feature which is often overlooked about elliptical trainers is the ability to add variety to your aerobic workout. Whenever anyone is on an exercise plan, one of the biggest challenges he faces is to stay motivated and interested in his workouts. With the treadmill, the ability to change the incline, as well as the intensity are big pluses, which has contributed to its popularity over the last decade.
The elliptical trainer matches these features and has a few additional ones of its own.
Although this option is not used often, it DOES add variety to your workout. Also, you can vary the intensity in more ways. You can increase the speed of your motion with or without changing the difficulty level of the stride. With treadmills, you have to manually change the speed level to increase your speed.
However, the most critical feature, and what separates the elliptical trainer from many other exercise machines when it comes to variety, is the forward and reversible feature on the foot pedals. When you are going forward, you feel like a cross-country skier hitting the long slopes. However, when you reverse your pedal motion, you can target your lower body in a completely different way. Without question, you are targeting your quadriceps muscles and will soon feel them burn after a few minutes.
Although it is too early to state that elliptical machines will dethrone the treadmill as the exercise equipment of choice, you can bet that they will give them a good run for their money. If you look at all the health clubs and rehab clinics, you will soon realize that elliptical trainers are more than just a fad and are here to stay.