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Treadmill Vs Elliptical: A Simple Guide

Treadmill Vs Elliptical: A Simple Guide

The two most popular pieces of cardio exercise equipment on the market today are the treadmill and the elliptical. They are by far the most used at gyms around the country, and also the most commonly purchased at-home machines. The treadmill vs elliptical debate has been going on since the elliptical was invented. If you can’t decide which one to choose, take a look at some of the pros and cons of each.

When it comes to the treadmill vs elliptical decision, the main deciding factor should be which one you are most likely to use and will find the most comfortable. If you are purchasing a machine for home use, this will likely be your main option for cardiovascular exercise. You will want to make sure that you don’t have any pain or discomfort while you use it.

Level of Impact

Some people may find a treadmill a bit too high impact. Especially when running, treadmills can be jarring and cause problems such as shin splints. Higher end treadmills reduce this problem with thicker padding under the tread. This makes a treadmill a better choice impact wise than running outside, but still doesn’t eliminate the impact on your knees and other joints.

Elliptical machines on the other hand are basically impact free. Because your feet stay in one place, the impact of the feet repeatedly striking the ground is eliminated. For anyone with joint problems, the elliptical is probably a more comfortable choice. They are prone to other problems, however, and many users report difficulties with numbness in the toes, due to the constant pressure of the foot on the pedal.

Effectiveness of the Workout

Another issue in the treadmill vs elliptical debate is the effectiveness of the workout. Most experts agree that elliptical machines can provide a comparable calorie burn to a treadmill when used properly. Because many elliptical trainers use handles which the user holds onto during the workout, they don’t challenge the balance and thus don’t provide the same core workout that is a bonus of a treadmill. However, many argue that simply letting go of the handles will restore the core challenge, and possibly even present a better challenge to the balance and thus the core muscles.

People who are interested in running in marathons or competitively will probably find that the elliptical does not provide the right sort of training for this pursuit. Running is simply a different motion from what an elliptical can do, and dedicated runners will usually choose a treadmill over an elliptical.

Price Comparison

When it comes to the cost of purchase, here the treadmill vs elliptical choice presents another challenge. Both treadmills and elliptical trainers can be had for relatively low prices if you want a very basic model. These generally aren’t very high quality, however. As the prices rise, the quality improves. Some believe that you can get a high quality treadmill for a better price than a high quality elliptical, but this may no longer be true as more elliptical trainers hit the market. Certainly the price for gym-quality machines is fairly similar when it comes to treadmill vs elliptical machines.

Space Efficiency

Both machines are fairly space-consuming, and models are available on both sides that fold up to save space. Some elliptical machines run on magnetic resistance, which means they don’t require an outlet. All good treadmills do need to be plugged in, however, to power the belt. Both types offer similar monitoring features such as heart rate, calories burned, speed and distance covered, as well as programs.

When it comes down to the decision, treadmill vs elliptical is really a very personal choice. The issue of impact is probably the largest one influencing the purchase of cardio machines, and those who have problems often find the elliptical the better choice. Many still swear however that a treadmill provides the better workout. Again, this is down to personal opinion and what you want out of your workout.

Before you make a choice, be sure to try both machines. Don’t just walk on them for a while at the store – do a full workout. If you aren’t a gym member, check out the local rec center where you should be able to pay for a daily pass to use exercise equipment. Using the equipment to see how it feels will help you make the final choice.

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