There is a healthy debate among fitness enthusiasts regarding the pros and cons of treadmill versus the elliptical. On one hand, ellipticals and treadmills are essentially cardiovascular fitness equipment designed to promote exercise movements with the expected benefits being improved levels of endurance, increased metabolic rate and better overall health particularly where the heart and lungs are concerned. On the other hand, treadmills have definite advantages over elliptical trainers and vice versa. With this article, we shall endeavor to put in our two cents’ worth of opinion.
Tip: The most common treadmills are still the nordic track treadmill
Both treadmills and elliptical trainers provide for low-impact exercises since the motions involved are similar to the natural movements while walking and running. A lot of people prefer the elliptical machines because there is very little to no impact with the foot pedal. People who have back trouble or joint pains usually consider the elliptical to the treadmill.
This is possible because your feet do not leave the pedals during the entire workout session. Now, contrast that with walking or running on a treadmill when the foot impacts on the tread surface. So, in the debate of treadmill vs elliptical, the latter wins in the low to no impact category.
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Those people who prefer running as a form of training for events such as 5K, 10K or longer runs definitely will need to train more on a treadmill. This is definitely better if the weather outside is bad and you are training for a competitive event like a triathlon or marathon.
Since the treadmill can only provide for running exercises with a few degrees of incline and decline, there is little variety in the workouts. Take note that for average exercisers and fitness fanatics alike, the wide variety of possible workouts achieves two things. You will be able to ward off boredom from the repetitive movements and you can challenge your body in new ways. In this case, the elliptical trainers win the bout, so to speak.
Tip: If we were looking for just the best, we would look at nordic track ellipticals.
Also, treadmills can only provide for lower body workouts since the movements are concentrated on the hips down to the legs. In contrast, ellipticals provide for both upper and lower body workouts, thanks to the movements required of the feet on the pedals and the hands on the handlebars. Still, if it is only lower body workouts that you are after, then a treadmill should suffice.
So, if you are to choose between the treadmill vs elliptical, it will boil down to your personal needs and preferences. Read the features and benefits of the fitness equipment before making your decision especially as money is involved.