Recently elliptical machines have been giving treadmills a run for the money in the category of “Most Popular Piece of Cardio Equipment,” as the elliptical allows people to get a good cardio workout with a minimum of impact on their joints.
If you are trying to decide which piece of equipment would be best for you, here are some factors to consider.
There’s no question that the ease of use associated with ellipticals – I think they provide an easier form of exercise – accounts for their ever-growing popularity. However, ellipticals are also quieter and have fewer moving parts than do treadmills.
Even the best and quietest of treadmills will make a lot of noise when it’s in your home. In my facility we have both treads and ellipticals, the ellipticals require far less regular maintenance and over the past 6 years we have never had to repair our ellipticals but have had to do so several times with our treadmills. This isn’t to say that treadmills are unreliable, but with fewer moving parts and less impact on the machine, elliptical trainers are less likely to break down.
If you’re looking to push yourself, treadmills can provide a more intense workout than elliptical machines. The results from a few studies seem to indicate that with regard to oxygen consumption, heart rate and calorie expenditure ellipticals can offer every bit the workout that treadmills do. However, since people hold on during an elliptical training session they are not balancing and stabilizing themselves. Developing and maintaining balance and stability is of vital importance to people of all ages. When holding on, the machine provides balance and stability.
When working out on a treadmill and not holding on balance and stability are being improved. Since most of us don’t hold on to anything as we go about our daily routine, this one difference makes the treadmill a better workout. People who suffer from diminished capacity need to walk on a treadmill – even if they have to hold on – in order to develop balance and stability. The Bottom Line: Even though they are noisy and take up more space, the treadmill is the way to go if you really want to push yourself during your workouts. If you want a machine that you can put pretty much anywhere in your home and will give you a good low-impact workout, than the elliptical machine is for you.