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In the battle of cardio machines, gym-goers are loyal to their favorite cardio equipment. Whether you’re a treadmill lover or an elliptical enthusiast, follow these tips from the experts at Life Fitness to make the most of what your favorite cardio machine has to offer.
Why You Should Choose a Treadmill
Outdoor experience. If you’re a dedicated runner or even a novice jogger interested in re-creating the outdoor running experience, treadmill programs like the hill option can produce an authentic training experience while offering benefits of a controlled workout.
Incline and speed. While climbing a treadmill incline might not be as exhilarating as a mountain hike, it’s a great way to add variety and intensity to your workout, especially during cold, rainy months. Having the option of varying your treadmill speed can be extremely beneficial. Check out your treadmill’s pre-programmed speed-interval workouts, and use these to alternate running speeds and intensity levels, which can offer significant calorie burn.
Accessibility. Walking is the most popular form of cardio exercise—and the most compatible. Even if you’re unable to run, treadmill walking allows you to lessen the intensity of a cardio workout while still gaining heart and bone health benefits. If you can’t walk outside due to location or weather, the treadmill will always be a trusted option.
Why You Should Choose an Elliptical
Safety. If you’re seeking a workout with less joint impact, the smooth motion of the elliptical offers an intense workout with less perceived exertion. It’s not as hard on your knees, hips and back, but this machine can still deliver a respectable calorie burn and aerobic heart rate.
Cross-training. The handlebars on elliptical trainers offer an upper-body workout that’s in sync with your foot movement. Using the dual handlebars and legs simultaneously will give you a full-body workout, and you have the ability to alter stride length, which gives you more freedom to tailor your workout.
Resistance and speed. The resistance on an elliptical trainer correlates to the incline on a treadmill; speed is determined by how quickly and steeply you move your feet. Try utilizing the adjustable ramp that many elliptical trainers offer, allowing for more variety in movement.
Fun factor. Some exercisers complain that running on a treadmill is boring. The repetitive motion in a forward direction can become dull, causing you to abandon your workout program. Elliptical trainers can keep things a little more interesting by allowing you to increase the resistance level and speed, while also giving you the option to reverse the pedals and use muscles in a different way.
In the battle of treadmill vs. elliptical, which do you prefer? Tell us in the comments! —Life Fitness