Treadmills vs Elliptical Trainers

Treadmills vs Elliptical Trainers

There has been considerable controversy on which offers a better workout, treadmills or elliptical trainers. Treadmills are still the most popular fitness machines, but elliptical trainers are growing in popularity.  In this article, we will consider the pros and cons of each.

Treadmills – Pros

What makes treadmills so popular is their designed to accommodate two of the most commons forms of exercise – walking and running.  Most people prefer to walk or run outdoors, unfortunately nature does not always cooperate.  Treadmills allow people to continue their exercise in any weather.

Treadmills also reduce the impact from walking and running.  In comparison to exercising on concrete or asphalt, the shock absorption of a treadmill can significantly reduce the impact.

Most treadmills are equipped with various workout programs.  These programs can simulate different types of exercising.  For example, by alternating the incline, you can simulate walking or running up and down hills.  By changing the speed, a treadmill can simulate interval training, which is an efficient method for burning calories.

Treadmill – Cons

By its nature, a treadmill is a complicated piece of machinery that must constantly absorb impact.  In fact, when a person runs, each stride can be as much as 2 ½ times the individual”s body weight.  Consequently, treadmills can be high maintenance.  Budget treadmills are likely to require servicing with constant use.

Although treadmills reduce the impact from walking and running, the impact still exists.  Walking and running inherently is a strain on your legs and lower back.  The downside of a treadmill is the potential from injury due to the constant impact.

Elliptical Trainer – Pros

The growing appeal of elliptical trainers is the low-impact, and dual upper and lower body workout.   Elliptical trainers offer a low-impact workout due to the elliptical motion.  Your feet never leave the pedals.  There is never any reverse action or shock to your legs.  Working out on an elliptical trainer is like walking or running in the air.  This is why they are so popular with aging baby boomers.

In addition, elliptical trainers workout both your upper and lower body.   With the dual action, you exercise more muscle groups.  In the process, your exercising becomes more efficient and you burn more calories in less time.  You also have a lower perceived level of exertion when you exercise more of your body.

Because of the reduced impact, elliptical trainers are low maintenance.  They do not take the abuse of a treadmill.   Furthermore, there are less moving parts that can breakdown.

Elliptical Trainer – Cons

There really is only one, the elliptical exercise itself.  Some people find it awkward exercising both their upper and lower body simultaneously.  For example, many walkers prefer the low-key pace of walking on a treadmill. Some people are just not comfortable with all the dual action exercising.