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Treadmills vs. Elliptical Trainers

by Paul Favors

Man running on a treadmill

New variations of tried-and-true exercise machines are always being introduced to the market as the technology of exercise equipment improves. Two exercise machines that have gained popularity are elliptical trainers and treadmills.

A major advantage to elliptical trainers is that they possess little risk of injury to the knees, hips, back or ankles. Meanwhile, treadmills are home gym machines on which you can run, walk or jog. The treadmill has been in the marketplace for a long time and is a long-standing piece of standard equipment for most exercise enthusiasts.

  1. Elliptical Machines: Elliptical machines present a lower risk of injury to the body. This home gym machine allows the individual to stand in an upright position while supporting her upper body by holding onto the handrails. The individual is able to pick out what muscles to train by shifting the strength on the legs or the arms. This provides for a more flexible workout machine. The machine bears its name because it works to copy the foot's elliptical motion as well as the rotation of the hip during walking or running.

  2. Advantages of Elliptical Machines: Since elliptical machines work the upper and lower body, they help you reach your target heart rate more optimally, providing a better cardiovascular workout overall. Individuals can burn a larger number of calories in a shorter period of time. Muscles that benefit from this machine include the legs, shoulders, chest, biceps, triceps and the back. Elliptical machines are also relatively easy to operate and are energy efficient because they do not use much electricity.

  3. Treadmills: Traditional treadmills were developed to help you walk, run or jog. Treadmills differ in advantages as there are some machines that have programs that can be customized based on your weight and fitness level. You can also manually control the program to increase or decrease the speed, the incline or the duration of the workout. Walking on a traditional treadmill, however, creates more impact on the knees and hips and may be a cause of injury for some users.

  4. Advantages of Treadmills: Some treadmill models have a cushioned surface to support the knees and other parts of the body. With these models, there is a lower risk of injury and an increased level of comfort for the user. Moreover, treadmills provide you with the option to run, jog or walk in the comfort of the gym. Also, you can burn calories by increasing the heart rate, providing a good cardiovascular workout.

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