Elliptical Machines Vs Treadmills

By Writer

  • Overview

    The argument of elliptical machines versus treadmills is fairly common in modern fitness circles. The treadmill is considered a very reliable piece of exercise equipment, but the popularity of the elliptical machine is quickly advancing upon it. A treadmill is a standard cardio exercise machine that allows a user to run or walk in place on a moving belt. An elliptical machine is a similar device that allows a user to simulate the running or walking motion, but uses pedals instead of a belt. Some elliptical machines feature handlebars that move back and forth while the user is walking, providing an upper body toning feature. The answer to the question of which is best is not as simple as it may seem, particularly because the results of one machine versus another hinges greatly on the desires of the person using it and the results that person is seeking.
  • Significance

    Both elliptical machines and treadmills have definite advantages. The first area that affects consumers weighing the options of buying elliptical machines versus treadmills is cost. A standard, reliable treadmill costs between $1,000 and $1,500. For an elliptical machine that is equal in performance and reliability, the cost is $500 to $900. This is a huge difference in initial investment for a piece of home gym equipment.
  • Functions

    Basic functionality of elliptical machines versus treadmills is similar, although elliptical machines offer the function of toning the upper body versus a lower body-only workout. The elliptical machine offers a simple way to tone the upper body. For the average consumer who is in a hurry, the combination of upper and lower body exercise in one machine offers a more efficient workout. Average number of calories burnt by both machines is relatively similar, although elliptical machines burn a few more (due to the upper body workout). The elliptical machine also comes out slightly ahead of the treadmill in the area of joint impact. Elliptical machines offer virtually impact-free workouts which makes it an ideal piece of equipment for young and old alike (See Resources section below).


  • Features

    On the surface, both elliptical machine and treadmill offer cardiovascular exercise and weight-loss support. Traditionalists will prefer the familiar functionality of the treadmill. The elliptical machine cannot replace it for marathoners who are working out at home or in the off-season to stay in shape. In contrast, the busy person who wants to boost his overall health, but keep down the amount of time he spends working out cannot beat an elliptical machine for an efficient workout.
  • Size

    Size is a factor in the elliptical machine versus treadmill equation.Treadmills can and do compact to take up a smaller footprint when not in use. Most elliptical machines, even powerless, resistance-based machines require a much larger footprint. For consumers living in apartments or boasting only a small amount of space for a home gym, the treadmill may be the best option.
  • Misconceptions

    Elliptical machines and treadmills burn virtually the same amount of calories. However, elliptical machines do burn a fraction more per length of time spent working out if the upper body is being engaged. Elliptical machines can be used by performance athletes to increase endurance. Cardiac patients who need a mild workout as they recover from surgery or other treatment find equal benefit in both machines. The elliptical machine is no 'more stressful' for the cardiac patient than the treadmill (See Resources section below).
  • Benefits

    The battle of elliptical machines versus treadmills will not be resolved immediately. While treadmills are familiar and trusted as reliable, elliptical machines are equally appealing and proving to be worthwhile investments. The overall benefit of both machines is improved health, a better immune system, weight loss and ultimately, a higher quality of life. With that answer, the winner of elliptical machines versus treadmills is the consumer.
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