The treadmill or the elliptical? Both of these machines assist in working out your cardiovascular system and burning calories to improve aerobic capacity. But which is more effective? Does one burn more calories than the other? Does one work your cardiovascular more?
Treadmill Pros and Cons.
On a treadmill, you have more options to choose from; uphill sprinting, walking, or any option from training exercises included in the treadmill software. The treadmill also emulates the realistic feeling of actually running or walking, however puts stress on your body’s joints. The treadmill also unfortunately falls lower in safety as well. It is not uncommon for beginners to injure themselves on higher speed levels. The machine’s handles also feel out of place and just don’t seem to fit into the exercise. It might sound somewhat pitiful, but there’s no reason to feel badly, running is actually just hard. Hard isn’t always needed for an exercise to be efficient. On treadmills, dependent on the size of the treadmill belt, can force the user to change the way they run, which can lead to muscle imbalances and posture problems.
Elliptical Pros and Cons.
The elliptical makes up for some of the treadmill’s downsides, one being the ability to produce a running feeling without the strenuous impact on your joints that running does. Most ellipticals may also include handles that if used effectively, can allow you to exercise the upper and lower body along with the cardiovascular. A study has also shown that users tend to actually work harder than they think they are on an elliptical, opposite of the treadmill. While the elliptical makes up for these things, the elliptical is more straightforward, not allowing for much variety in the workout, in terms of adjusting incline. Although the elliptical prevents joint damage, you lose a more weighted feeling that you get while running normally, that would normally strengthen your bones and muscles. On an elliptical, at lower levels of intensity, the user can also use the momentum from the machine to power itself, as opposed to the user powering it, producing a faulty workout.
Calorie burn comparison.
In actual practical use, in a study done by the Medical College of Wisconsin, it was found that the average amount of calories burned while using a treadmill for one hour was in between 705 to 866(light jog to vigorous running). However on the elliptical, the average for one hour of workout was 773 calories. While not great, the treadmill has a clear advantage in the capabilities of burning off more calories at the cost of a more intense workout.
In the end, the elliptical is more efficient in improving cardiovascular health with ease. The treadmill provides more versatility and forces the user to support their own body weight and push them more outside of their comfort zone. For beginners, the elliptical is the right way to go, but for more experienced users, the treadmill is more efficient.