The Question of Opting for an Elliptical or Treadmill!

Whether to chose an elliptical or treadmill for an effective cardio workout, is an almost timeless debate that has stormed fitness forums. While ellipticals first made their foray into the gym equipment market in the 1990s, the treadmill has been around for over forty years, with the first treadmill being invented way back in 1968! And when it comes to the core concept of these machines, the treadmill enables you walk, jog or run on a moving ramp, whereas an elliptical machine enables you to mimic walking, skiing, running, stair climbing etc by pedaling, and your feet never touching the ground!

Should you buy an Elliptical or Treadmill for your Personal Gym?

elliptical-vs-treadmillThere’s nothing more comfortable than having a versatile piece of gym equipment right at home, so that you don’t even have to step out of your home to achieve a fabulous workout, and be rest assured of a consistent fitness regime. For cardiovascular exercises that enable you to burn the maximum calories, the treadmill, as well as the elliptical trainer are extremely popular machines. Each one has its intrinsic functionality, set of features, degree of personalization and of course, its own pros and cons. So we’re here with a useful comparative analysis of both, to help you decide whether an elliptical or treadmill should be more up to your liking!Since we’ve already discussed the myriad features and benefits of elliptical trainers, let’s take a look at the merits and demerits of a treadmill.

Treadmill Pros

  • Easy to Use- This is a cardio machine with operating guidelines that are pretty much simple and straightforward.
  • Wide Range of Adjustable Parameters- A treadmill definitely lets you adjust all possible variables related to the effectiveness and ‘challenge scale’ of your workout, right from incline and speed, to calories burned, warm-up time, cool-down time etc.
  • Safe- As compared to outdoor terrains like sidewalks, parks, jogging tracks etc, the treadmill ramp provides a slightly cushioned impact on your feet, thereby making it safer.
  • High Rate of Calories Burnt- Running on the treadmill is considered as one of the most powerful cardio exercises, in terms of calories burnt.
  • Hi-tech Features-Advanced Models come with sophisticated entertainment features, terrain variations, heart-rate tracking, mobile app compatibility and so on!

Treadmill Cons

  • Unnatural Motion- Many Orthotists (Foot Doctors) are of the opinion that the running motion that one tends to develop on treadmills, is unnatural and might cause foot ailments, joint pain etc in the long run.
  • Risk of Injury- Inexperienced users run the risk of getting imbalanced and slipping on the tread, while others might find it difficult to run on natural terrains, once accustomed to using the treadmill.
  • Monotonous- Unlike Ellipticals, you don’t have any option for an upper body workout, or for working different muscle groups.
  • Posture Issues- Owing to the limited types of movements achieved on treadmills, one could also develop incorrect posture and muscle imbalances in the long run.

What an Elliptical does that a Treadmill doesn’t!

  • An Elliptical Trainer protects your sensitive body parts like hip, knees, back, elbows etc from undue strain.
  • A number of intermediate and advanced Elliptical Trainers help you work on different muscle groups, and exercise your body using upper body handles that mimic the action of skiing poles.
  • The pedals can be maneuvered forward and backward, thereby strengthening your calf and hamstring muscles.
  • An Elliptical Trainer wins hands on over a Treadmill in terms of providing a diversity of workouts. You can choose from multiple training programs and can be rest assured of never getting bored!
  • Emulation of Natural Human Movements like running, walking jogging, stair-climbing etc is the defining aspect of an elliptical trainer, something that’s not provided for, in treadmills.

At the end of the day, the decision of opting for an elliptical or treadmill depends on a number of factors such as.

  • Your Fitness Targets or the kinds of workout you’re aiming at
  • Your medical history and current health condition (whether you have weak knees, elbows, back pain etc)
  • Your current fitness level
  • Your spending capacity
  • Your overall comfort level

But considering the extra edge that an elliptical has over a treadmill in the aforementioned areas, the final purchase decision of an elliptical or treadmill, certainly leans towards an elliptical!