A cardiovascular workout is critical for a robust fitness regime. Cardio is an essential element of all types of workout routines, whether tightening or toning, you begin with cardio. The first basic question is which is better - treadmill or elliptical - for weight loss? The most common cardio fitness machines are the elliptical and the treadmill, but which one will burn more calories and help to shed fat? Both burn calories, and in turn, fat… but is the physical exertion less on the elliptical? If so, are you burning as many calories and losing as much fat as a treadmill? Or more? We are going to explore in depth the pros and cons of both the elliptical and treadmill.
Elliptical offers several benefits to the cardio enthusiast and range in price from the low hundreds to the thousands. Some are basic in their motions; others are cross trainers that offer varying levels of resistance and strength training. Let’s explore some of the pros and cons for purchasing an elliptical machine for private use in your home.
Pros of an Elliptical
1. Reasonable price point and easily accessible. Easily affordable for your private use. Can be found in almost every single gym and in hotels and apartments.
2. Evaluate your heart rate. You will absolutely see the results of an increased heart rate in your Fitbit or Garmin wrist heart monitor.
3. Variety. You can add an arm workout to it. Even if the equipment doesn’t come with resistance, you can add free weights.
4. Easy on your joints. This is a big pro for people who have knee or lower back pain. This is considered one of the big differences between the treadmill and the elliptical.
5. Calorie burn. According to a Wisconsin study of ellipticals versus treadmills, the elliptical burned 773 calories.
Cons of an Elliptical:
1. One size fits all. There is no play in the step pedals, so if your stride is short there could be a hyper-extension issue.
2. Price point. Though you can purchase a basic model, if you want just a few bells and whistles, the price goes up considerably.
3. Control. The elliptical is controlled 100% by your movements, so if you start to slack off, the matching goes down equally and doesn’t force you to plunge on.
The treadmill has long been a favorite for home exercise. Its simple “just walk or run in place” concept has been a cornerstone in cardio since the early 80’s. The price point since then has dropped considerably, so it is definitely affordable, and now there are many options available. The workout you can get from the treadmill has evolved into an intense cross between hiking and running, all at your fingertips.
Pros of a Treadmill:
1. Ease of use. Just flip it on and walk. It IS that easy. There is no coordinating your hand and leg movements, simply your normal gait at your own speed.
2. Control. You set the speed and just keep up. Most treadmills offer an incline option so you can intensify and customize your workout.
3. Elevate your heart rate. The treadmill definitely gets the heart racing! It’s an indoor run, so you are “warm” running, which jump starts your heart rate as opposed to a cold run outside.
4. Convenience. These machines are everywhere! Even if you aren’t ready to make the leap into a purchase, you can find these at your apartment complex or area hotels.
5. Calorie burn. According to the same Wisconsin study I referenced above regarding the ellipticals versus treadmills, one hour on a treadmill burns between 706-844 calories! Now imagine that twice a day!
Cons of a Treadmill:
1. Price Point. They are a little pricey if you want one that has features such as an incline, a web enabled touch screen, cooling fans and preloaded workouts. These will run you about a thousand. You can get a basic model for close to $200.
2. Stress. The treadmill gets a bad rap for this and it’s thought to be the biggest difference between the treadmill and elliptical. They are thought to be a nightmare on the joints, but really no more than if you were running outdoors.
3. Maintenance. If something breaks, only a professional can fix it. Don’t try this at home, trust me.
So...Treadmill or Elliptical?
Which is it - elliptical or treadmill? Both are excellent for cardio training, pre-workout warm ups, and calorie burn. If your goal is to get your heart rate up, tighten (to grow the muscle) your thighs, buttocks and calves, and burn more calories, the elliptical is your best option. If you are looking for something a little more intense, with inclines and toning (leaning the muscles) the thighs, buttocks and calves, you should go treadmill all the way. The decision is yours, of course, but first need to decide what your body can physically do, and next, what do you want to do? What are you more likely to stick to?
Check out this video from Good Morning America about the constant battle between the treadmill and the elliptical:
Which one did you choose? Have you fallen in love with your treadmill? Can't live without your elliptical? Comment below and tell me all about it!