Should I Buy an Elliptical or Treadmill?

When people are ready to get into shape, or are already health enthusiasts, and want to bring equipment into their home, they may wonder whether they should purchase an elliptical or a treadmill. Both of these machines can be beneficial in burning calories and staying in shape, but they are also quite costly. If you are in the market for one of these machines doing research to ensure that you make the right decision is the smart thing to do. Let’s look at the benefits of elliptical machines and treadmills as well as their negatives to help you with this choice.

Benefits of an Elliptical

1. Easier on Joints

The elliptical is designed to have your body imitate a running motion in a way that is less strenuous on your joints. This is the opposite of a treadmill in which you are actually running.

2. Full Body Work Out

Elliptical machines have handles that move simultaneously with your feet allowing for you to work out your upper body.

3. Moving in Reverse

Elliptical machines allow you to operate them while using a reverse stride. This is essentially running backwards. What is the benefit of this? The different motion will activate different muscle groups providing a better work out experience.

4. Mental Perception

This is very interesting. There are studies that show that people who use elliptical machines actually work out harder than they think they do when they use the machine. Why is this? The nature of the machine causes them to underestimate the level of exertion they are using. To elliptical users it seems like they are burning more calories with less effort.

Negatives of an Elliptical

1. No Dynamic Workouts

The great thing about a treadmill is that you can adjust the incline to supercharge your workout. Most elliptical machines lack this feature and if they have it then it is typically not as effective.

2. The Downside of Momentum

Because of the design of the machine there can be a momentum effect which moves the machine through your previous momentum instead of current efforts.

3. The Weight Bearing Issue

Remember when we talked about how these machines are easier on joints? That is because they put less weight on joints. Most of the time this is a good thing; however, weight bearing exercises also help to strengthen muscles and bones.

Benefits of a Treadmill

  • Very Versatile – There are many simulations that can be used and the incline feature provides for more dynamic workouts.
  • Recreates Natural Movement – This machine brings the highly effective exercise of running indoors.
  • Weight Bearing Benefit – The weight of naturally running helps to strengthen bones and muscles.

Negatives of a Treadmill

  • Hard on Joints – Weight bearing has its drawbacks, this is one of them.
  • Safety Concerns – There are some intense workout options that can be dangerous if you are not prepared.

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