Elliptical or Treadmill — Pros and Cons of Each Machine | Elliptical or Treadmill

The elliptical and the treadmill might be the most commonly found machines you’ll find in the gym, but how do you decide which one to buy? Which one is better for your health and more effective at calorie burning — or are they bot h equal? Put simply, each of these cardio machines will provide a great cardio workout, but each one has specific plusses and minuses. In determining whether to pick the elliptical or treadmill, it’s important to know the ins and outs of each one. Here’s a quick guide on how to choose between the treadmill and the elliptical for determine which one is best for your needs.

Why the treadmill is useful

The treadmill is an effective machine in its own right. Offering a number of benefits from brisk walking to power runs at a full uphill incline, treadmills give you a ton of options, making them one of the most versatile choices of exercise equipment. You can set it anywhere from 1 mph to 15 mph, and can chance the incline however you want. You can walk, jog, or run, and you can pick the program or routine most appropriate for your customized exercise goals.

Additionally, the treadmill uses movements similar to what natural walking, sprinting, or running would use. using your body’s natural motion, you must put forth a lot of effort and burn calories at a higher rate. Due to the high work output, your body is simply forced to burn more calories. And thanks to the weight bearing effects of the treadmill, running and walking on this machine will actually help to keep your posture very good as you get older.

Benefits of the elliptical

The elliptical, on the other hand, provides completely non impact training, where you simulate a running motion but do not place the same impact on the joints that treadmill training causes. Thanks to the handles you can use on the elliptical, you can actually use both your lower and upper body at the same time and go in reverse. And since people perceive their exertion to be lower on an elliptical (even though they’re putting forth just as much effort as they would on the treadmill), you’ll actually burn nearly as many calories on this machine as you would on the treadmill — with less effort expended. Picking the elliptical or treadmill depends on how much effort you want to put forth, in the end.

Downsides of each machine

Of course there are downsides to the treadmill as well. It puts more stress on the spine, knees, and ankles, and even though certain treadmills have shock absorption, it will still make more impact in the long run than an elliptical would. There are also safety issues with the treadmill. If you do sprints on a regular basis, you may be putting yourself at risk if you are not adequately able to use the treadmill safely.

The elliptical also has certain drawbacks. it has less weight bearing effect — and thus less strengthening of the bones and muscles, which is critical for older folks in warding off osteoporosis. The unit itself is less varied in terms of change in incline and speed, so they are much less exciting to use and there’s less variety in the programs.

It’s Your Turn – Try both pieces of equipment

If you are seeking to get in good shape for running or walking, the treadmill is definitely a good choice. However, if you just want a simple piece of exercise equipment to get your heart rate up and provide a thorough workout, the elliptical is a decent option as well. Either way, you’ll get a great workout, so try both of these machines out at your gym before purchasing one for the home.