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Dueling Cardio Machines: Treadmill vs. Elliptical

As the weather starts to cool, you may find yourself taking your workout indoors. Now is a good time to start shopping for some indoor fitness equipment. There are several inexpensive strength training tools such as resistance bands, Fit balls, free weights and medicine balls… but when it comes to cardio, you have a couple options. We are often asked, “What’s better, a treadmill or an elliptical?” I would say that’s a personal question. While both the treadmill and elliptical have their goods and bads, I personally prefer the treadmill. Studies have found that you burn slightly more calories on the elliptical due to the arm movement. If you’ve taken a Treading class at H3, you’ve probably been yelled at a time or two for resting your arms on the handrails. When not relying on the handrails for support, your body is forced to work harder and to engage your arms and abdominals even more. When comparing using the handrails while working out on an elliptical vs. exercising on a treadmill without resting your arms, the two burn about the same number of calories (if not a few more on the treadmill).

Before making your decision, review the benefits of each machine below and decide what’s best for you.

Benefits of a Treadmill Benefits of an Elliptical
Impact of feet hitting ground can strengthen bones Non-impact exercise  (easier on joints)
Motor forces you keep a steady pace Self-controlled pace
Better training experience for runners/racers Upper and lower body movement
Add variety to work out by changing incline and pace Add variety to workout by changing incline, intensity, forward/backward movement,  and use of handlebars
Familiar walking motion Once accustomed to motion, can increase intensity without having to jog

If you think the treadmill is the way to go, check out this feature on the Woodway treadmills we use at H3. I also found this interesting Elliptical infographic, which may be helpful when shopping for an elliptical. Have fun looking over all the different features of both pieces of equipment and feel free to e-mail us if you have questions!


Using Your Elliptical


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