If you’re looking to turn your garage or spare room into a mini-gym, one of the first things you’ll probably consider is a cardio machine. Some of the common cardio machines you’ll find in a home are treadmills, ellipticals, and indoor cycles. For the purposes of this article, we will be comparing and contrasting treadmills and ellipticals and their purposes within your home. Keep in mind, your final decision should revolve around what kind of workout you want to get from either of these machines.
A treadmill is going to be the machine that best simulates running on the actual ground. The elliptical has a step pattern that in a sense combines a stationary bike with a stair climber.
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Treadmills and ellipticals are going to work different muscle groups but if there’s one thing they both contribute to, its endurance. Think about it, these are cardio machines, and we assume that you want to be able to last longer in every sport or exercise you engage in. Here we will consider some of the advantages of both types of machines.
The key with these machines is that they provide a cardio workout and an easier path to recovery (if you’re injured) in an accessible setting. If you use these machines at the gym, then the benefits remain the same, but you’ll probably encounter different versions of the same machine.
- Since treadmills give you a more accurate “running” experience than ellipticals, they may be preferable to people looking to gain as close to an experience with outdoor running as possible when outdoor running isn’t feasible (injury, weather, etc.).
- The platform a treadmill operates on can be raised or lowered to mimic certain terrain.
- If outdoor running is too strenuous on your knees and ankles, a treadmill can be a setting where stress isn’t as big of a factor.
- Give you a different range of motion and work different muscle groups than treadmills.
- Allows you to increase your foot speed without the fear of falling over.
- Handlebars allow for some upper body movement and exercise.
Whichever machine you end up choosing, you’re going to get a good cardio workout regardless. What it really boils down to is what muscle groups do you want to focus on and what parts of your body are sensitive to impact. The treadmill and the elliptical will likely give you different settings and options to customize the machine to your liking.
While you commonly see treadmills and ellipticals in the gyms and at home, there are some arguments that both mislead their users on what is a true “cardio workout”. We’ll look at some of the arguments against these machines and their validity.
- Running on the treadmill is not the same as running on actual gravel, sidewalks, concrete, etc. The even conveyer belt your feet impact can give your body a false interpretation of what actual ground is like (injury!).
- This is a big one. A treadmill may seem like a safer option since it is indoors and relatively easy. However, if your body is more accustomed to running outdoors, you should try and stick with that as much as possible.
- If you’re looking to simply gain a new experience with cardio, the treadmill can become repetitive and boring.
- Not ideal for training for competitive running.
- Not ideal for competitive runners of any sort.
- The location and movement by which your feet hit the ground are not the same as normal walking or running.
- Doesn’t give you the same experience as actual running (moving your arms, moving in a general direction).
Choosing a treadmill or elliptical for your home use is going to be tricky, and it will mostly depend on your exercise preferences. In the end, ellipticals are probably a safer bet for casual exercisers not looking for an intensive workout. Treadmills will give more options to those looking to combine advantages of indoor and outdoor running (as long as you do both on the regular).