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.

Treadmill or Exercise Bike: Which Workout is Best?

Cycling and walking or jogging are all popular forms of exercise and they can be performed by healthy people at any level of fitness. A person who is trying to adopt an active lifestyle to improve overall health can start off slowly and increase the length and intensity of the workout over time.

Choosing to use a treadmill or an exercise bike means that a person who wants to get and stay fit doesn’t have to venture outside to do so. Both of these pieces of exercise equipment provide a number of benefits for users, including improved cardiovascular health, a more positive outlook and lower blood pressure.

Given that both pieces of equipment offer health benefits to users, is one better than the other? A person who is looking for one item for home use may find it difficult to choose one over the other. No solution is going to work for everyone, but by taking a good look at workout style and preferences, an individual can make the right choice.

Exercise Equipment and Motivation

Some people enjoy working out and for them getting physical is something that is an ingrained part of their life that they would miss if they weren’t able to do it. Others need to have the right motivation to help keep them on track; otherwise they start with the best of intentions but are unable to keep going over the long term.

To stick with an exercise program, these individuals need a plan to stave off boredom. In this instance, an excise bike may be a better choice than a treadmill, since it offers more options to the user.

The control panel on the unit can be set to provide the person riding the bike with an experience that mimics riding on a flat piece of road, going up and down hills or other types of terrain. The user can listen to music, play games, watch television or even read while using the bike. For safety reasons, a person using a treadmill is limited to watching TV or listening to music.

Workout Results on Treadmill and Exercise Bike

If a person is comparing a treadmill and exercise bike based on results, the best choice would be the treadmill. People who use a treadmill burn more calories than those who use an exercise bike.

Not everyone wants to use a treadmill over an exercise bike, and this is not the best choice for people who have joint trouble. To avoid injury, a person must concentrate more closely on what he or she is doing while using a treadmill to avoid a slip and fall injury.

When comparing treadmills and exercise bikes, which one is the best choice? A person who is well motivated to work out who wants to get better results in less time would probably be better off with the treadmill. Those who are concerned about getting bored while exercising can get better benefits from using an exercise bike.

Best Exercise Equipment for Seniors

Regular exercise can benefit people of all ages, and seniors are no exception. People over the age of 65 can continue to lead active lives, and exercise can help them to feel better physically and mentally.

An older adult may wish to invest in some special exercise shoes and then go to the gym to check out a low-impact piece of exercise equipment like a recumbent bike to get started with. Getting on a treadmill is also a good choice, since they have bars that a user can hold onto for balance. The user can start with a very simple walking workout and can vary the speed and angle of the belt if he or she wishes.

Once an older adult has been exercising for a time, he or she can start using exercise machines. Enlisting the help of a personal trainer can help the senior find the best exercise equipment for his or her level of fitness and long-term goals. Not only can the trainer provide instruction on how to use each machine, but the senior will learn how to breathe properly while using the equipment.

When trying to find the best exercise equipment for seniors, it may be best to avoid buying items like treadmills that are folded when not in use. A heavy piece of equipment may be too challenging for an older adult to move easily when he or she wishes to use it. A treadmill that has a quick start program that doesn’t require the user to enter several numbers is a good choice, especially for people who may have trouble seeing.

Cardiovascular exercise for heart health is an important part of staying fit. A workout for seniors should also include some resistance training as well. Exercise bands can be used when starting an exercise routine. They provide low-to-moderate resistance, and if the stretch becomes uncomfortable, it’s easy for the senior to stop the movement.

Free weights can also be added to the list of the best exercise equipment for seniors. A set of weights, ranging up from 2-10 lbs., allow a person to easily switch the level of weight used for a more challenging workout when needed.

When choosing exercise equipment for older adults, keep in mind that you will get what you pay for. A higher-priced item will be better constructed and is less likely to have mechanical defects.

Climb Your Way to a Great Cardio Workout

When your goal is to get your heart rate up and burn calories, two great choices are the treadclimber and the versa climber. Both of these exercise machines will give you are great workout that will help to strengthen your heart muscle and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Another advantage to getting on a climber or any type of exercise equipment is that it’s a natural stress-buster and antidepressant. If you are having issues with feeling like you have far too many balls in the air and you are expected to juggle all of them or your whole world is in shades of gray and you don’t feel much of anything, get yourself down to the gym and get on one of these machines.

The treadclimber looks like a strange combination of a treadmill and a Stairmaster. Looking at instructions for how to use a treadmill will help you somewhat with this one, but instead of walking or running on a belt that is in a single piece, the treadclimber has two of them. Each one rises and falls as you step on them, which means that you can’t run on the treadclimber, but you can walk at a comfortable rate of speed.

With this piece of exercise equipment, you control how slow or how fast the movement is. If you find that you are moving a bit too quickly, you can adjust your speed to bring the twin treadmills down to a more manageable level. On the flip side, if you feel that you are moving well with the speed as is, you can give your workout a bit more intensity by pushing down on the treadmills harder.

As its name implies, the versa climber requires the user to work against gravity. You would position your feet in the footholds at the base of the machine and hold onto the handles located close to the top. From there, you alternate pushing down with each foot to make a climbing motion.

This particular cardio exercise machine will give you a challenging workout in just a few minutes. If you are looking for something that will get your heartbeat elevated and keep it there, this could be just the piece of machinery you are looking for.

If you decide to include the versa climber in your workout routine, get on the machine for a few minutes and then switch to another option, such as a stationary bike, so that you can continue to get the benefit of working out in this manner.

How to Choose the Right Treadmill for Seniors

Seniors who want to get a cardio workout without having to either go outside or buy a gym membership may want to consider using a treadmill. It is a convenient way to get or stay in shape that doesn’t require the user to learn a routine or make an investment larger than the unit itself and a good pair of shoes. Older adults who want to buy a treadmill have specific buying needs that need to be addressed when considering available options.


Long Running Deck

The advantage to having a long running deck is that it lowers the risk of injury due to slipping of the back of the track. The user has more time to increase his or her running speed, grab onto the safety handles or lower the speed on the display console as needed.

Safety Handles

When shopping for a treadmill for seniors, look for a model that has safety handles that are positioned to the side of the treadmill. This feature offers additional support for people who may have balance issues or want to be able to use the handle as a grab bar if needed.

Motion Controls

A person who has vision issues or difficulty with eye-to-hand coordination should look for a treadmill offering motion controls. Rather than having to press buttons to start and stop the treadmill, simply moving one’s hand in front of the control panel can start or stop the machine. The same method can be used to increase or decrease speed while the treadmill is in use.

Adjustable Suspension

When issues like arthritis in the knees are present, being able to adjust the suspension on a treadmill is an important consideration when making a buying decision. All treadmills have some degree of shock absorption, but running on a surface that is too hard can lead to knee injuries. If the surface is too soft, it can be hard for the user to keep his or her balance, leading to falls.

Low Noise Level

To avoid the distraction caused by the motor on a treadmill while the machine is in use, look for a model with steel rollers. The noise level on this type of unit is reduced, which makes it easier for the user to listen to music or watch television while using it.

Treadmills equipped with steel rollers are usually more expensive, but choosing a machine at the higher end of the price range also means more features. Some units include an EKG monitor, for example, while others come with a built-in LCD TV for the consumer’s convenience.

How to Use a Treadmill

On the face of it, using a treadmill is very easy. It’s just like walking, isn’t it? Well, yes and no. The treadmill is arguably the easiest piece of exercise equipment to use, but you still have to follow a few simple instructions to use it properly and get the maximum benefits, which include preventing coronary artery disease.

Read the Treadmill Manual

After you buy a treadmill the first thing you need to do is to read the manual. A person who has just unpacked their new treadmill will want to get it set up and check it out right away. If they have used one before, they may feel that they know everything they need to about operating the unit and even if using a treadmill is new to them, how complicated can it be?

Each model is going to be slightly different, and taking some time to get familiar with the unit and its features is a good choice. It’s not so much a question of how to use a treadmill as how to use the one in the room. Some of the more pricey models can have up to 100 different programs and to get the right one set up is going to take more effort than simply getting on the machine, pushing a few buttons and hoping for the best.

Start the Machine Slowly

Don’t stand on the belt when you start the treadmill. Place your feet on either side of it when you turn on the machine. Once you see that the belt has started moving at a slow rate of speed, usually between one and two miles per hour, you can step on the belt and start to walk or jog.

Swing Your Arms While Walking

The idea behind using a treadmill is to replicate walking or jogging outside, so once you have a good rhythm going, let go of the handrails. You will get a much more effective workout by swinging your arms, as you would do if you were walking or running outside. People who have trouble keeping their balance can hold onto the handrails lightly to steady themselves as they use the treadmill.

Keep Focused by Looking Straight Ahead

One of the things you will learn as you discover how to use a treadmill is to keep your head up and keep your eyes focused on what is in front of you. Some people try to read while using the treadmill, but this kind of multitasking can be distracting. You are better off looking straight ahead while the machine is in use.

Choose Good Quality Shoes

A sturdy pair of walking or running shoes is a must when using the treadmill; never use one while barefoot.

Best Running Shoes on a Treadmill

If you have decided that you want to use a treadmill to help you get or stay fit, you will need to consider your choice of footwear carefully.

The first thing you need to understand before you go shopping for running shoes to be used with a treadmill is that the act of running over ground is different from doing so on the machine. When a person is running on a track or outside, the foot striking the motion of the foot striking the ground is used to propel the runner forward.

Walking or running on a treadmill is a different situation entirely. The person using the machine isn’t moving forward at all, since the belt is continually moving. The individual is using his or her leg muscles to keep up with the movement of the belt.

When it comes to choosing running shoes for treadmill use, consider that running on the machine means a higher level of impact on the balls of the feet than running over ground. The amount of cushioning a shoe provides is an important consideration, and you should examine the shoe carefully to make sure this part of your foot is adequately protected.

What kind of shoe should you buy if you already know you will only be walking on the treadmill? You still need to buy one that offers good support to your foot, as well as some cushioning for the ball of your foot. The impact when you are walking won’t be as high as when you are running, but choosing a good quality shoe is still important.

Comfort is another key consideration when buying running shoes for a treadmill. If the shoes don’t fit well or are not the right size, you may experience discomfort in your feet and legs that can last for some time after the workout is finished. Being uncomfortable during or after the workout due to a problem with your footwear isn’t going to encourage you to continue with your exercise regime.

Pick up the shoe and see whether you can bend it. The right shoe for you is one that you can bend easily. Stay away from models that have a very stiff sole; they won’t give you the flexibility you need.

The best time of day to look for running shoes is later in the day. As we go about our everyday activities, our feet normally experience a certain degree of swelling. If you put off your shopping trip until late afternoon, your running shoes will fit well no matter what time of day you are using the treadmill. You want to make sure that your feet are kept comfortable during and after the workout.

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.