Ellipticals sometimes get a bad rap from exercise enthusiasts for being too easy or not challenging enough. Are you one of those who prefer a treadmill – or running outdoors? Even when your knees hurt? There are a lot of reasons to love the elliptical machine – one of which is that it is easier on your knees than running on a treadmill.
ELLIPTICAL VS. TREADMILL
Both the elliptical machine and the treadmill can be found at expensive gyms and also in the basements of budget hotels, schools, community centers and even elder care facilities.
IF YOU ARE DEBATING SPENDING TIME ON ONE VERSUS THE OTHER, HERE ARE A FEW TIDBITS OF INFORMATION TO CONSIDER.
- An elliptical machine is non-impact conditioning. It lets your body imitate a running motion without the strenuous pounding on your joints that would take place on a treadmill.
- Cross training. An elliptical device will have movable handles (usually) to work your upper body as well as your lower body.
- Reverse. Most machines allow you to reverse your stride and exercise a different set of muscles. You could theoretically run backwards on a treadmill – but we strongly advise against that!
- Perceived exertion. An elliptical machine feels like less work – even though the caloric output is roughly the same. A study showed that jogging on a treadmill for one hour burned 705 to 866 calories (depending upon exertion level) compared to about 773 calories for an hour on an elliptical machine.
If you need more reasons to give an elliptical machine another try (or a first try) here are several more thoughts to consider.
One more thing: According to a study reported at the National Center for Biotechnology information, in moderately active females similar physiological improvements were observed using stair-climber, elliptical trainer and treadmill running when training volume and intensity were equivalent.
- Anyone can use it. Nearly everyone can use it – young or old, fit or unfit. Even those who are injured can get back in the swing of things on an elliptical. No manual required either!
- Competition free. You can compete with yourself, but you don’t need to compete with others around you.
- Great for pulse rate. You can get your pulse going on an elliptical just as you can on a stair climber or treadmill. AND, there isn’t any pounding motion on your joints.
- Injury recovery. If you have suffered an injury or illness, an elliptical is a great machine to use to transition into more strenuous circuit training. Doctors often recommend incorporating the elliptical into a rehab program for people who’ve had ACL surgeries.
- Knee protection. Once again, in comparison to the treadmill, you’re protecting the pounding on your knees when you use the gentle glide of an elliptical.
- Multitasking is an option. While on the ellipticals you could actually email or talk on the phone, if you’re into that. It’s fairly easy to do on an elliptical.
- Quick and easy. An elliptical machine (some have them in their work location) can let you get in a quick 15 or 20 minutes at lunch time. You get a little fitness in without needing to wash and style your hair afterwards.
- Reading! Because you aren’t bouncing, you can actually read while exercising. Bonus!
- Something is better than nothing. Not every day is a high energy day. An elliptical is great for those days when you want to get some cardio in – and aren’t quite up to a strenuous workout.
- Time-saver. If you’ve only got 30 minutes, an elliptical will give you upper body, lower body and cardio all at the same time.
- Variety. You can switch up your workouts by changing the programs. It helps keep the boredom at bay.
GIVE IT A TRY!