today's world of fitness crazes and new-fangled exercise tools, many fads come
and go. But, occasionally, an idea is hit upon that really works! An exercise
machine is created that actually does what it says it will do. It promotes fitness
and wellness. It helps fitness enthusiasts reach their exercise goals. It has
of the most popular fitness machines used today are the treadmill and the elliptical
trainer. What makes these machines so popular? Why are they favored over other
treadmill has been around for a number of years and remains popular among experienced
and new athletes, alike. Obviously, the appeal is that it accommodates both runners
and walkers. Two of the most popular forms of exercising.
newer exercise machine, the elliptical, is gaining on the treadmill in popularity.
How do treadmills compare with elliptical training equipment? What benefits do
each type of machine offer? Which one is right for you in obtaining your fitness
to Webster's Dictionary, a treadmill is "a device worked by treading an endless
belt." That sums it up briefly. However, there is much more to most of today's
treadmills than merely "an endless belt" to be treaded!
Treadmill machines are created for performing functions such as walking, jogging, or running,
as well as simulated hill climbing. (Some treadmills are better suited for walking
and are not made to support users over a certain weight limit.) Higher quality
treadmills tend to be suitable for walking or running and can handle larger and
heavier users. Commercial units that are found in gyms are generally capable of
supporting more weight than most home units. However, high-end models of home
treadmills can be quite sturdy and comparable to a commercial unit.
on a treadmill is a great way to burn calories, build bone density, maintain good
cardiovascular health, and increase your energy level. Of course, if you engage
in a less intense workout, you will have to increase the length of your workouts
to get the most benefits.
power treadmills offer a number of pre-set programs and intensity levels from
which to choose. On these particular machines, you may program in your personal
information (i.e. age, weight, height, fitness level, etc.). Then, you may choose
a pre-set program (such as 'killer hill' or 'weight-loss'), and the unit will
automatically adjust the workout to fit your specifications.
you'd rather manually control your treadmill, you can bypass the pre-set programs
and adjust the incline, speed, and the duration yourself. And, even if you've
chosen a pre-set program, you have the option of changing the incline level or
speed level at any time.
you're just beginning a treadmill exercise program, you should begin at a lower
intensity level and work your way up to a higher one, as your fitness improves.
For the seasoned athlete, increasing the incline and the speed to accommodate
your level of fitness can challenge your body and produce the benefits you desire.
Running on a
treadmill with a nicely cushioned running surface provides less impact on the
knees, shins, ankles, back, and joints than does running on pavement or concrete.
a result, the runner who uses a treadmill is less likely to sustain a running
injury than a runner who runs upon a harder surface. (Nonetheless, a runner's
body will still experience impact when the foot lands on the belt. Up to 2 1/2
your body weight)
running in the great outdoors, you could possibly trip over a rock or twist your
ankle in an unseen hole in the ground. You don't have to worry about road or trail
hazards when exercising on a treadmill. You need only maintain your rhythm on
the moving belt.
is true that some people have a difficult time feeling at ease when treading on
a constantly rotating belt. If you're a little nervous about keeping up with the
belt's motion, try holding onto the handrails until you feel comfortable about
letting go. And, keep your pace nice and slow until you are ready to pick it up.
However, try not to depend upon the handrails forever. By doing so, you are limiting
the benefits your body will receive from your exercise sessions.
fabulous reason for working out on a treadmill is that you can do it indoors ...regardless
of the season or weather. You don't have to brave the extreme heat of summer or
the brutal cold of winter to get your walk or run in. You can work out in a climate-controlled
environment and be comfortable. (To learn more about treadmills go to
Treadmill Ratings and Reviews)
trainers are relatively new to the family of fitness equipment, as compared to
treadmills. They have increased in popularity during the last few years. And,
perhaps at the rate they are going, these fitness machines will someday surpass
the treadmill in popularity! But, do they deliver what they promise?
trainers allow the athlete to burn a similar number of calories as jogging...but
without the risk of injury to the back, knees, hips, or ankles. Your feet never
leave the pedals. As a result, this type of machine is quite low-impact and goes
easy on the joints. In fact, whereas exercising on a treadmill requires your body
to absorb the impact force of walking or running, exercising on an elliptical
can be compared to running in midair.
ellipticals are so low-impact and easy on the joints, this type of exercise equipment
may very well be one of the best choices for older people or for individuals who
are recovering from a joint injury.
machines mimic the normal elliptical motion of the foot, the extension of the
leg, and the rotation of the hip during walking or running. This motion uses all
the leg muscles, giving you a total lower-body workout.
WAIT! There's more! Elliptical motion machines ALSO simultaneously work the upper
body (unlike the treadmill, which works only the lower body)! As the feet go through
their elliptical motion, the hands grip the moving handlebars, exercising the
arms. The movement of the dual handlebars mimics cross-country skiing. Now, this
particular type of workout may not necessarily pump you up to look like a bodybuilder.
However, because you are including the upper 30% of your body in your workouts,
the results will be more efficient. (And, those arms will be toned in no time!)
trainers DO work the upper and lower body simultaneously, the heart rate climbs
more quickly. Thus, less time is required to achieve more results. The amount
of energy expended is optimized. As the legs are being worked, the back, shoulders,
chest, biceps, and triceps are also working ...making it possible to burn more
calories in less time. (An optimal workout need only be about 20-30 minutes long.)
devices offer the option of shutting down the handlebars and working only the
lower body. Even when this option is available, it evidently is not used very
often ...likely because individuals appreciate being able to work the entire body
at one time.
foot pedals can be worked in a forward or reverse direction. When you change the
direction of the pedals, you'll target your lower body in different ways. It is
nice to be able to add versatility to your elliptical workouts, and such a change
works to ensure optimal training of the leg muscles.
intensity level can be adjusted on elliptical equipment to fit your personal level
of fitness. Resistance may be added as desired to increase the workload on your
legs throughout the forward or backward stride. With such an efficient workout,
you can say 'goodbye' to flabby thighs and derrieres!
studies have shown that working out on an elliptical unit can trick the body into
believing it is working easier than it actually is. Therefore, as you're burning
more calories in less time on an elliptical trainer, your body feels as though
it doesn't have to work as hard to achieve its goals. This phenomenon is known
as the "Rate of Perceived Exertion."
benefits of elliptical training include its ability to build bone density and
to inhibit the onset of osteoporosis. Everyone needs strong, healthy bones. This
is especially a concern as we grow older, and our body's bone mass begins to deteriorate.
Elliptical exercise can inhibit bone deterioration and actually improve bone thickness.
device is safe to use (i.e. it stops when you stop). It uses very little electricity
and is economical to operate. Because of its lesser impact, there is less wear
and tear of the machine, making maintenance quite low. It has a small footprint,
so it takes up less floor space than other fitness equipment. And, as with the
treadmill, it allows you to exercise in a controlled environment for more comfort
all the benefits and the practicality of elliptical training machines, they just
might end up exceeding the treadmill in popularity!
matter what type of exercise or fitness equipment you may prefer, remember to
always consult with your health professional before beginning any exercise program!