Elliptical Trainer vs. Treadmill: How to Choose

If you are looking for a piece of exercise equipment that will give you a good cardiovascular workout, the elliptical trainer and the treadmill can help you get the results you are looking for. Which one is the best choice? There are advantages to choosing each piece of equipment, and the best one for you depends on your particular needs and goals.

Both pieces of equipment are popular choices for people who want to set up a home gym. Working out at home means that you can do so on your schedule, without having to factor in travel time to get to a health club or gym.

Having a home gym outfitted with an elliptical trainer or a treadmill means that your exercise schedule is not dependent on the weather. You have the freedom to work out during cold or wet weather if you wish; exceptionally hot weather doesn’t need to stop you from getting the exercise you need if your home is air conditioned.

Advantages of an Elliptical Trainer

An elliptical trainer provides a complete workout, since it works the upper and lower body simultaneously. The person using the machine can control the intensity of the exercise very easily by speeding up or slowing down his or her leg movements.

Grasping the handlebars on the unit and moving the arms and shoulders in tandem with the leg movements means you will burn more calories. If your goal is to lose weight, the elliptical trainer will probably be the better choice. It also makes sense if you have a limited amount of time to exercise and you want to get the maximum benefit from each session.

Advantages of a Treadmill

Choosing a treadmill for your home gym workout means that you can set a particular program to follow during your exercise session. Depending on the intensity you want, you can set the machine to give you an experience on a flat surface or going up hills for a more challenging one.

The treadmill allows you to avoid getting bored with your workout by exercising while watching television. Walking or running while checking out your favorite show can make the time spent exercising pass quickly.

If tracking your progress when working out is important to you, the treadmill’s console can help you keep track of how long you have been working out, as well as how many miles you have walked or run. The unit should also be able to track your heart rate so that you will know whether you are in your target zone for fat burning.

When you are considering an elliptical trainer vs. a treadmill for home use, you also need to factor in cost. A treadmill will probably be less expensive to purchase than an elliptical trainer, but the elliptical trainer will give you a better overall workout. Your final choice will depend on what criteria are most important to you.

Exercise Equipment: the Exercise Bike

An exercise bike can be a great choice for people who want to stay active. A person can buy one to be part of his or her home gym equipment, or they are readily available at most health clubs or at the gym.

A program of regular exercise provides a number of health benefits, including lowering the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Getting physical can also help to regulate blood sugar for patients diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Before starting any exercise program, do see your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to work out and that the level of activity you have in mind is not too strenuous.

Choosing to use an exercise bike for a workout means that the participant has a similar experience to being out on the road, without having to worry about keeping his or her balance on uneven terrain or dealing with inclement weather. An exercise bike also provides the rider more flexibility in his or her workout because the settings can be adjusted to make the ride as easy or as challenging as the rider needs.

Types of Exercise Bikes

There are four basic types of exercise bikes:

Wind Bikes are the lowest-priced models on the market, which makes them a very popular choice among consumers. As the rider pedals, the movement causes a fan to turn. This is the motion that creates resistance, and it also means that the wind bike can be a noisy choice for a workout.

Magnet bikes use one or more magnets to create resistance when in use. This bike has the advantage of not being as noisy to operate as a wind bike. This type of equipment is also more expensive to buy than a wind bike.

The third type of exercise bike is a fluid-based training bike. This is a good choice for people preparing for a bike race who want to be able to practice indoors. The bike uses hydraulics to create resistance during use. The harder the rider pedals, the more resistance is created.

The most expensive type of exercise bike is the turbo trainer. This is the type used by professionals and it provides an experience that is very similar to taking a bike out on the road. The operator can set the bike to the level of resistance he or she wants to get a better workout. Most turbo exercise bikes have a display screen where a rider can see his or her heart rate, as well as the bike’s speed and the length of the workout.

Before you choose an exercise bike for home use, take the time to try different models to see which one feels right for you. You may want to consider renting or buying used exercise equipment to keep the cost of getting fit down to a budget-friendly level.

How to Save Your Home Exercise Equipment Costs

If you are in the market for home exercise equipment to help prevent stroke and heart attack, you want to avoid paying more than you have to for it. To keep costs down, you will need to be a bit creative.

Before you start looking at different models of exercise equipment, first take the time to consider your goals. Are you interested in focusing on a cardio workout or is your goal to build lean muscle?

You also want to be very honest with yourself about your commitment to a home workout. Many people start this process feeling very committed to exercising regularly and then lose their focus after a relatively short time and stop using the equipment. A treadmill, stair stepper or rowing machine then turns into a very expensive clothes rack, and that was not your intention when you bought the item.

Tips for Saving on Home Exercise Equipment

1. Educate Yourself About Your Options

Your goal should be to find the best value in home exercise equipment. Go online to learn about the different brands on the market and the features that make the higher priced models top of the line. That way, you have a sense of what you are getting when you choose a piece of equipment at a particular price point.

2. Consider Your Level of Fitness

If you are just starting to work out regularly, you may want to choose an exercise machine that is geared towards newbies. Models designed for high-level athletes may have more bells and whistles on them, but you will also be looking at paying more for these features.

Rather than looking for a piece of equipment that has a lot of options on it, think about what you need right now and what makes sense for the next level of fitness you plan to achieve. Consider models that fall into this category. When you get to the point when your exercise equipment is not giving you the level of challenge that you need, you can always upgrade.

3. Look at Used, Floor Models and Refurbished Equipment

Some retailers will offer you a better price on home exercise equipment that has minor cosmetic flaws. Inspect used exercise equipment carefully before making a decision. You will want to try it out before you buy it to make sure that it is in good working order. It’s worthwhile to ask the retailer whether the model comes with a manufacturer’s warranty and what its terms are. You can also consider used home exercise equipment that is in good condition.

Planning is the key to finding the right type of home exercise equipment for your needs. By starting with considering your current level of fitness and goals, you will be able to choose something that will benefit you now. You can always upgrade when you need something that is more advanced.

How to Choose the Right Treadmill

If you have decided that you want to have the convenience of having a treadmill in your home, how do you decide which one is right for you? Before you start looking in stores or online, take some time to think about how you will be using the equipment.

You need to be honest with yourself about whether you will be walking on the treadmill or you are planning to run or jog on it. Another consideration is how much space you have available to use and store the unit. Add your budget to the list and you will be ready to start considering different options.

Walking or Running?

When you are trying to choose the right treadmill, consider whether you will be walking on it only or if you are or will be jogging or running for a cardio workout. The reason this is important is that if you plan to move faster than a brisk walk, the treadmill will be subjected to a higher degree of punishment.

A higher quality treadmill will be better able to resist the kind of pounding that takes place when you are running on it. Before making your choice, be sure to ask about the level of shock absorption that the models you are considering have to offer. Choosing one that has good shock absorption means that you will have less wear and tear on your knees and legs while using it.

Space Considerations

Treadmills come in foldable and static models. When space is at a premium or you are planning to use the room where you will be using the treadmill for other purposes as well, consider a foldable deck model.

If the treadmill will be placed in a space dedicated to exercise and stability is a main consideration, a static model is a better choice. This type of treadmill is more durable, since there is no joint between the deck and the frame.

There are good quality treadmills available in both deck styles, though, and having limited space doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t buy one that will stand up well.

Budget

When you are looking for the right treadmill, your budget is a definite consideration. You will definitely get what you pay for when you decide to buy a treadmill for home use. Before making your final decision, be sure to ask whether the unit comes with a manufacturer’s warranty for your protection.

To get a treadmill that has several programs, an EKG monitor, power speed control and incline and a good level of shock absorption, you will be looking to spend a minimum of $1,000. Units retailing for $2,500 and up have more features, including up to 12 programs, a maximum weight limit of up to 500 lbs. and an interactive display panel.