Elliptical Trainer vs. Treadmill
If you are looking to increase your cardiovascular fitness, lose belly fat and get a leaner, tighter body, both an elliptical cross trainer and a treadmill can get you there. These two workout machines have a lot in common, but in many ways an elliptical trainer is a superior fitness option.
“Perceived Exertion” is the level of difficulty an exerciser feels when performing a certain exercise. We tend to think that the harder something feels, the better workout we’re getting. This isn’t always the case as the elliptical trainer proves. When compared side-by-side, an elliptical trainer has a lower perceived exertion than a treadmill while burning the same amount of calories. This means that an exerciser can often work out longer and harder on an elliptical machine before tiring out. More exercise means more calories burned and a faster road to no belly fat.
One of the most important benefits of an elliptical machine is that it offers users a low-impact exercise.This specifically appeals to older adults, overweight individuals and anyone who suffers joint, ankle, knee or hip pain.
A treadmill requires impact. Over time, running on a treadmill can hurt joints and bones and cause inflammation. It may be difficult for older adults as well as overweight individuals to spend a lot of time on a treadmill without pain.
Upper and Lower Body Workout
A treadmill focuses almost exclusively on the muscles of the lower body (though core muscles are usually engaged). Exclusively using a treadmill won’t help build upper body strength and will limit all around fitness.
Most elliptical machines come with handlebars that bring the arms and upper body into the workout. In fact, the elliptical engages almost all the major muscles of the body. The legs work to pedal the elliptical, the core stabilizes the body and keeps it balanced upright, and the arms push and pull the handles. This is another reason why an elliptical trainer tends to burn more calories than a treadmill for the same level of exertion.
Most treadmills try to offer a variety of options to their users, but the machines are much more limited than elliptical trainers. Whether the treadmill user is walking, jogging, running or increasing or decreasing the incline, they are primarily repeating the same motion. This hits the same muscles in the same ways, limiting the overall effectiveness of the treadmill over time (not to mention the interest of the user).
On the elliptical trainer, by contrast, users can pedal forward and backward as well as change their stride and the incline. All of these changes impact which muscles are engaged. In fact, many elliptical machines can help users target specific lower body muscle groups with pre-programmed workouts. The ability to switch from forward to backward pedaling also helps users get an all-around lower body workout.
The Benefits of Treadmill
While elliptical trainers tend to win out over treadmills for a majority of users, that doesn’t mean treadmills don’t have their own benefits. They are usually cheaper than elliptical trainers, and they are perfect for those who are training for a running event such as a 5k, 10k or a half marathon.
In the end, every exerciser has to determine what their fitness goals are. If you belong to a gym, you’ll most likely have access to both treadmills and elliptical trainers. Whichever machine you use, you’ll burn calories and belly fat. If you use an elliptical trainer, you might just burn more!