Which is better a Treadmill or Elliptical for Weight loss?

Keeping Aussies healthy and fit is big business. Australian’s are expected to spend $8.6 billion dollars this year on gym memberships, home fitness equipment, and the latest fitness fads.

 

We are living in a culture obsessed with losing weight and getting fit. As a result there are countless products (gimmicks) on the market that claim to get you in the best shape of your life!  Most are fads that come and go, quicker than Usain Bolt can run a 100m! They all claim to get faster results than the last. How many people do you know who are still working out with their shaker weight?...

 

Yes you want the results that what you tell me, then why not invest your money wisely and not on the latest gimmick? Amongst all the noise out there, there are products that work and get results. And NO we are not going to say it will happen overnight! 

 

The best way to ensure you buy the product that suits your needs is to speak to a equipment expert and NO I don’t mean your neighbour!  You don’t ask your kids school teacher for advise on your car…then ask yourself “Why wouldn’t I get advise on MY HEALTH from an expert?” Would you trust your kid’s health to a Clown?

 

The two most popular fitness machines that are proven to get results are treadmills and cross trainers. The tried and true treadmill has been around for years.  It remains popular due to its appeal to both beginner and experienced athletes.   It is a simple machine to operate that does not require any special skills to use it; all you need to do is walk, jog or run. 

 

While somewhat new in comparison to a treadmill, the cross trainer is growing in popularity. It offers the benefit of a total body workout without the impact on the joints.

 

How do treadmills compare with cross trainers? What benefits do each machine offer? Could either be right for you? Let’s take a look at each machine and you can decide from there.

 

Treadmills

 

Treadmills have been a popular fitness equipment purchase for many households for numerous years.  They are simple to use and provide an excellent cardio workout while watching your favourite TV show.

 

In shear numbers running and walking are the most common form of exercise. Whether you are a casual walker or a serious runner, a treadmill can accommodate your exercise requirements. By setting the speed and incline you can adjust your cardio workout to any level from casual walking to a heart pounding HIIT workout. 

 

Treadmills commonly come with a number of pre-set programs and elevation levels from which to choose. On these particular machines, you can program in your personal information (i.e. age, weight, height, fitness level, etc.). Then, you choose a pre-set program (such as time trial, interval training or weight-loss), and the treadmill will automatically adjust the workout to fit your specifications.

 

You can bypass the pre-set programs and manually adjust the incline, speed, and the time yourself. And, even if you've chosen a pre-set program, you have the option of changing the incline level or speed level at any time.

 

Running on a treadmill with a “quality” running deck provides less impact on the knees, shins, ankles, back, and joints than does running on road.  As a result, the runner who uses a treadmill is less likely to sustain a running injury than a runner who runs upon a harder surface. (Nonetheless, a runner's body will still experience impact when the foot lands on the belt.)

 

When running outdoors, you could possibly trip over a rock or twist your ankle in an unseen hole in the ground. And with the current attacks occurring on females while out exercising you have piece of mind knowing you can run in the comfort and safety of your own home.

 

 

Cross Trainers

 

Cross trainer or also known as elliptical trainers are relatively new to the fitness equipment industry. They have increased in popularity during the last few years, and the rate of growth is surpassing treadmills.  However, do they deliver what they promise a low impact, total body workout in a timely manner?

 

Elliptical’s also allow the user to burn a similar number of calories as they would from walking or jogging - however without the risk of injury to the back, knees, hips, or ankles. The difference in comparison to a treadmill is your feet never leave the foot pedals and there is no direct pounding on the joints.

 

As a result, an elliptical is very low-impact and significantly reduces the pressure on your joints. In fact, whereas exercising on a treadmill requires your body to absorb the impact of walking or running, exercising on an elliptical can be compared to running in midair (a bit like a moon walk).  Running on a treadmill can result in 2.5 times your body weight impacting on the deck as you land on the treadmill. 

 

Because of the low impact of an elliptical, this machine may be the best choice for older people or individuals who are recovering from injuries.  Michelle Bridges used an elliptical to recover from her recent foot injury.

 

Elliptical machines mimic the normal elliptical motion of the foot, the extension of the leg, and the rotation of the hip during walking or running. This motion uses all the leg muscles, giving you a total lower-body workout. Saying that BE WARNED that there is inferior quality elliptical’s that actually place your natural running gait into a poor position that results in injuries to the knees and hips. That is why it is important to have yourself checked and measured on an elliptical by an equipment expert before purchasing one.

 

However what makes an elliptical workout so enticing is you also get a upper body workout (unlike the treadmill, which works only the lower body)! As the feet go through their elliptical motion, the hands grip the moving handlebars, exercising the arms, which engages the core muscles. The movement of the dual action handlebars mimics cross-country skiing. This particular type of upper body workout will not result in a bodybuilder’s physique. However, because you are including the upper 30% of your body in your workouts, the results will be more efficient exercise in less time.

 

As a result because the elliptical does work the upper and lower body simultaneously, the heart rate climbs more quickly. Thus, less time is required to achieve more results.  In saying that though if you are really unfit you are more then likely not to last longer than 5 minutes when using the elliptical compared to walking on a treadmill which is an easier starting point for people who are unfit because most people can already walk 30mins at a low intensity.

 

The amount of energy expended is enhanced. As the legs are being worked, the back, shoulders, chest, biceps, and triceps are also working...making it possible to burn more calories in less time. (An optimal workout needing only about 20-30 minutes long, if you apply the right amount of resistance.) Which makes the cross trainer a great choice for TIME POOR families.

 

Another advantage of elliptical trainers is the foot pedals can be worked in a forward or reverse direction. When you change the direction of the pedals, you'll target your lower body in different ways, engaging the gluts (butt) and hamstrings. It is good to be able to add versatility to your elliptical workouts, and such a change works to ensure optimum training of the leg muscles.

 

The intensity level can be adjusted on an elliptical to fit your personal level of fitness. Resistance may be added as desired to increase the workload on your legs throughout the forward or backward stride.

 

Elliptical machines are safe to use (i.e. it stops when you stop). Overall maintenance on an elliptical is less compared to a treadmill because there a less motorized parts. Generally they have a small footprint, so it takes up less floor space than other fitness equipment. And, as with the treadmill, it allows you to exercise in a safe and controlled environment for more comfort and convenience.

 

So Which One Wins?...

 

Which is better, a treadmill or cross trainer?  Both give an excellent cardio workout and when used regularly will burn unwanted calories. 

 

For a walking or running enthusiast, the treadmill is the machine of choice.  Even if you prefer the great outdoors, the treadmill allows you to continue your favourite sport all year long and including those bad weather days.  A treadmill will reduce injuries since you workout on a flat surface that is cushioned.  It can add variety to your workout through various challenging programs and now most have access to Google maps allowing you to track and watch your run from your iPad.  And with heart rate control you can optimize your exercising by allowing your heart rate to control the level of exertion.

 

The appeal of an elliptical is the combined upper and lower body workout, and the low-impact. You exercise more muscle groups, while avoiding the kind of impact that can result in injuries.  For those of us whose knees or ankles just cant take it any longer, the elliptical trainer is the clear choice.

 

 

So which one do you purchase?  Well that depends upon your preference and needs, either can be an excellent choice for your home fitness program.

 

Good Health Begins At Home

 

Rochelle  

 

 

 

 

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