Ellipticals vs Treadmills for Fat Loss

elliptical vs treadmill

There are several different types of cardio machines and other workout machines on the market that people can bring into their homes, as well as those found at local gyms, that make working out and sticking to healthier living more convenient. Two of the most common cardio machines with which people are most familiar are also easily found in gyms, are elliptical machines and treadmills. While trying to decide which machine is best for you, and which machine will give you the results you are most looking for, the number one question you may have is: “Which one is better?” You are also likely wondering, “How do they compare to one another?” Although they are both centered on cardio, they both offer very different benefits and have very different features that are certainly noteworthy when it comes to making the right decision for healthy life choices. So, how do they stack up to one another?

Treadmills are devices generally used for walking or running while staying in the same place, which is ideal for those who want to continue to stay active despite harsh and unpleasant weather conditions, and they are the largest selling exercise equipment category in the world. According to buildlean.com, the use of a treadmill harbors highly desirable benefits to help whip the body into shape and to get blood flowing and the heart pumping.

According to the site, treadmills offer a wide range of features, options and benefits that can help you add a little bit of versatility to your work out. You can choose the feature of a brisk walk and/or uphill sprint when using the incline feature that allows the user to simulate certain terrains for a more challenging cardio workout. Treadmills also tend to offer the most familiar option of being able to control your speed and incline, and some machines even offer a personal trainer setting that includes several training programs to choose from, allowing a daily change of pace for a different workout each day. Treadmills also offer the option to emulate natural movement.

Technology is always changing, and as a result, some of the top leaders and developers in technology are creating new machines that might be often confusing. According to the site, “Sometimes Awkward” one benefit of using a treadmill is that they have been around for decades. The treadmill tends to emulate natural movement for walking, jogging and sprinting from the comfort of your own home or even at the gym. The site also says that another benefit from the use of treadmill is that they produce high work output by saying, “Propelling your body weight requires substantial effort. As a result, your body will burn calories at a higher rate.” The site also mentions that “running and walking can help strengthen your bones and muscles which can aid your posture and sustainability as you age,” creating a weight bearing effect as another benefit from the use of treadmills. Lastly, since treadmills have been around for so long, the 1800’s to be exact, they are well researched, developed and perfected more than any other piece of cardio equipment on the market.

Builtlean.com also tells us some of the cons of the use of treadmills. The use of treadmills can be tough on joints such as hips, knees, and ankle joints, especially if you don’t take the time to warm up first. However, some treadmills offer a more cushioned and padded tread more than others with a side of shock absorption. The impact a treadmill may have on the joints is said to be significant. There are also some safety concerns from the use of the treadmill; the site tells us that high intensity training such as incline settings can be dangerous. One must make sure that their skill level is adequate to perform on a treadmill and use their functions properly. Another key feature of some treadmills is that some are marketed to monitor heart rate and find a “target heart rate zone,” which may not apply to everyone equally. According to buildlean.com, some treadmills have unnatural handles when offering these features as well. It is said that trying to grasp and maintain a hold of these handles while you are running can be challenging and awkward, not to mention dangerous. Another con for the use of treadmills listed by the website is posture problems. According to the site, “Some studies show that the size of the belt can cause people to change the way they walk or run, leading to muscle imbalances and posture problems.  The quality of treadmills can vary significantly.” Lastly, treadmills do have a level of difficulty to them. The site says, “Running (especially on an incline) is hard. Most people will inherently gravitate towards machines they find to be the most comfortable and use that specific machine as a way to burn calories.”

Some of the benefits from the use of ellipticals, according to buildlean.com is that they are “Non-Impact Conditioning,” which means that the body is able to emulate a running motion, with the kick up from the knees and the motion in the ankle joints, that further helps prevent the rigorous impact the treadmill can have on your joints. It’s also said that an elliptical has a cross training ability. According to the site, most of the ellipticals we see today “are now equipped with moveable handles which allow you to exercise your upper body and lower body simultaneously.” Another pro from the use of an elliptical is that most actually allow you to stride in reverse. This is beneficial because it allows you to activate and tone different muscle groups, such as quads. Lastly, they list the perceived exertion as being lower than most workout equipment as another pro for the use of ellipticals, which pretty much means that you are working far harder than you think you are when you are on an elliptical. It is also said that as a result, “the elliptical can burn close to the same amount of calories with less effort.”

Of course, like the treadmill, the use of an elliptical does have its cons, and buildlean.com tells us that they tend to be less dynamic, meaning they don’t really carry the same features and options as a treadmill would as far as incline and work modes are concerned. They also tell us that there is less weight bearing effect, stating, “elliptical pedals are suspended off the ground they lack the ‘weight-bearing effect’ that is utilized when running.  Weight-bearing exercises strengthen bones and muscles.” Lastly, “Momentum– Operating an elliptical, especially on lower levels, can allow you to use the machines’ momentum to power the machine.”

Finally, when it comes down to calorie burn, according to the site, “A study by the Medical College of Wisconsin found the average calories burned jogging on a treadmill for one hour was 705 to 866.  By comparison, an estimate by Health Status found using an elliptical trainer for one hour will burn approximately 773 calories.  Based on these and other similar studies, the treadmill may have a slight advantage in calorie burn, although oftentimes the amount of variance is considered negligible compared to the elliptical. In terms of fat loss and increased aerobic capacity, another study found that people using a stair climber, treadmill, and elliptical at similar exercise intensities experienced similar physiological changes in 12 a week program.”

Whether you choose a treadmill or an elliptical for your cardio workout needs, one thing is for certain, because they are so easily accessible and you can conveniently place them in your home if desired, working out and leading a healthier, more active lifestyle is certainly far easier now than ever before. You can burn calories and “bust a move” while watching your favorite tv show or movie, and improve your quality of life in instant.

Sources:

  1. http://www.builtlean.com/2012/04/20/elliptical-vs-treadmill/
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