Are Ellipticals Better Than Treadmills? Let’s Compare And Contrast
Category: Fitness Machine & Workout Tips
So the burning question always is: Are Ellipticals Better Than Treadmills? This article helps to shed some light on each as well as outline the benefits each of these fitness machines brings to the table as well as where it falls short.
The elliptical machine is often better known as the cross trainer, and you’ll usually find someone milling around one of these two, waiting for the other person to finish.
But, despite them both having a high level of popularity, which one is actually better? Or, are they both great, but for different purposes?
Both are ideal cardiovascular workout options, but let’s pit one against the other and determine the winner.
Elliptical Machine: Pros and Cons
An elliptical machine, or cross trainer, is designed to give both your legs and your arms a workout, while also strengthening your core.
Elliptical Machine Benefits:
Low impact on the joints
Your feet are always on the foot pedals and the pneumatic or fly-wheel mechanism means that the movement is controlled and swift, not ‘clunky.’ This helps to protect your joints in particular.
An easy, natural way to exercise
The motion you will adopt when using the machine is quite natural in its feel, and it moves naturally, i.e. your body won’t be put under stress by moving in a way it isn’t used to.
You are working out your upper and lower body
By using the arm section of the machine as well, are you working out not only your lower body, but also your upper body too, specifically the arms. Your core is also strengthened in the process.
Several settings available
You can change the incline, resistance, and speed quite easily on a cross trainer, and combine it with intervals to enhance your workout.
Elliptical Machine Drawbacks:
Your feet may hurt or become numb
The downside of your feet never leaving the pedals is that they might start to hurt quite quickly, because of the lack of movement. You might also experience numbness, which can be uncomfortable.
A lack of impact isn’t always a positive thing
We mentioned that an elliptical trainer gives you zero impact, but in order to keep your bones to their optimum strength, you do need a little impact (albeit controlled).
You might struggle with balance at first
The feel of using an elliptical machine is quite natural, but because you’re off the ground, you might struggle with balance on the first try. You might also notice that your legs burn quite a lot – this will get easier, so don’t give up!
Treadmill: The Pros And Cons
A treadmill allows you to run or walk. You can either hold onto the arm rests, or you can move your arms naturally.
You can tailor your workout
You can make your workout as high or low impact as you want, by choosing the speed at which you walk or run. This makes a treadmill ideal for practically everyone.
A range of setting available
You can increase or decrease your speed as you see fit throughout your workout, and you can also incline the belt for a harder challenge.
Ideal for runners in particular
If you’re a running or walking fan, and you find it hard to get outside, e.g. you live somewhere busy or the weather is bad, the treadmill is an ideal option.
A simple machine to learn
There aren’t a huge amount of gadgets on a treadmill, so it is easy to get the hang of for beginners.
An expensive machine
Treadmills are certainly more expensive than elliptical machines if you want to set up a home gym. In addition, running isn’t usually very easy on a home treadmill, because the ground beneath has to be extremely stable.
A higher risk of falls or injury
It can be difficult to get used to the movement of the belt at first, and it can also be very easy to become distracted by something, causing you to trip and fall. This increases the risk of injury.
Can be quite boring
Simply walking or running and not doing anything else can be a boring way to exercise.
Are Ellipticals Better Than Treadmills? Which One is The Winner?
As you can see from our comparison of elliptical vs treadmill, both elliptical machines and treadmills have a range of pros and cons in either direction. So Are Ellipticals Better Than Treadmills? It really does come down to personal choice, and what you want to achieve from your workout.
For an overall body workout, the elliptical machine wins marginally, but treadmills are still an extremely popular and quality way to work out.
Perhaps the best answer is that both are suitable in their own ways, and you should use both for a high quality workout routine.
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