Both treadmills and elliptical trainers can give you an outstanding cardiovascular workout, tone your muscles, and help with weight loss and endurance. But you may be wondering: which is better for weight loss, cardio, fitness, and toning? Which is better for building muscle? Which burns more calories?
Knowing whether to choose an elliptical or a treadmill can be tough, but it’s largely a matter of personal preference. Below you’ll learn about the major differences between treadmills and ellipticals so you can make the right choice for your needs.
The Benefits of Treadmills
Treadmills are still the most popular piece of exercise equipment on the market. For people who love to run, jog, or walk, they are a great choice. In particular, if you are a dedicated runner, a treadmill will be a better choice than an elliptical because it will allow you to train similarly to outdoors even when the weather is imperfect. This will allow you to run year-round without losing any training days.
Treadmills are also good choices for walkers, especially if you are older or mobility is difficult for you. You can set a slower or faster pace, depending on your needs, and the flat surface is easy to walk on without tripping or injuring yourself. You don’t even have to be especially athletic or coordinated to use a treadmill for walking. On the flipside, an elliptical requires a bit more coordination and has a steeper learning curve.
On a treadmill, you’ll also have a variety of workouts you can do depending on the day. If you’re a serious runner, you can use the treadmill for recovery days where you walk. Any treadmill user will also enjoy having the choice of walking uphill, doing intervals, or using the treadmill’s preset programs.
Elliptical Trainer Benefits
One of the biggest benefits of an elliptical trainer over a treadmill is that you can get a quality cardio workout without impacting your joints. For people who suffer from arthritis or chronic leg, knee, or hip injuries, or those who simply want to take care of their joints, an elliptical is a better choice. You could invest in a treadmill and use it exclusively for walking, but with an elliptical, you’ll get a more intense workout.
An elliptical workout will burn approximately the same number of calories as a treadmill without putting you at risk for injury. Another benefit of the elliptical is that it can provide you with a total body workout, especially if you choose one that has arms. By pulling and pushing the arms of the machine, you’ll tone your biceps, triceps, back, and shoulders. A treadmill focuses more on the lower body.
Ellipticals also offer programs and interval options so you can challenge yourself more on some days and less on others, but the exercise itself will stay essentially the same. You do have
the option of going forward and backward on an elliptical in order to target both the fronts and backs of your legs.
When making your final decision, make sure to choose the machine that you’ll use the most. This will make it more likely that you’ll stick to your fitness goals!
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