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Elliptical Trainers Vs Treadmill - Which One Is Best?

So which exercise machine is best: the treadmill or the elliptical trainer?

While treadmills are still the #1 piece of home exercise equipment, elliptical trainers are quickly catching up. This leaves many people wondering 'Should I buy an elliptical trainer or a treadmill?'

While there are definite differences between the two, it really boils down to you - the buyer. This article lays out the benefits of both the treadmill and the elliptical so you can make an informed decision and choose the best machine for you.

Treadmill Benefits:

Great for runners, walkers and joggers:

The treadmill is still the machine of choice for those who prefer running, jogging or even walking.

It's obviously a smarter choice for the dedicated runner/jogger than an elliptical trainer. Plus it can help you train even in the winter months when you don't want to run outside.

Suitable for any exerciser:

Walking is a simple form of exercise that anyone can do - from beginner to seasoned athlete. It doesn't take much coordination.

You don't have to be supercoordinated to figure out how to use a treadmill whereas elliptical trainers can sometimes be a little tricky to use - especially for beginners.

Provides workout variety:

A treadmill also provides workout variety of a different kind than the elliptical trainer. A treadmill allows you to walk, run, jog, walk uphill, do intervals and programs. You can even build in upper body handweights to work your arms, back and shoulders.

Elliptical Trainer Benefits:

Lower impact on your joints than a treadmill:

What is interesting is that this lack of impact on the joints allows the user to burn roughly the same amount of calories as treadmills with the impression of putting out considerably less effort.

So you burn the same amount of calories while feeling like you did less work. (This is called the 'Rate of Perceived Exertion')

This lower impact also makes the elliptical trainer a great choice for those with knee or hip problems, the elderly or even rehabilitation patients.

Provides an overall body workout:

With the dual-action upper body arms as well as the foot pedals, you are getting an overall total body workout. Whereas the treadmill mostly focuses on the lower body, the elliptical works your entire system for an overall cardiovasculer workout.

Excellent workout variety:

One feature that is often overlooked on an elliptical is the opportunity to move in both a forward and backward direction.

When you go backward you are targeting a different set of muscles than when you go forward (hamstrings vs. quadriceps). This helps add variety to your workout and keeps you motivated.

So those are some advantages of both elliptical trainers and treadmills. Is one machine better than the other? It really depends on who you are and what YOU enjoy doing.

Here's the bottom line:

If you enjoy using a specific exercise machine more than others, you will exercise more often - which means more calories burned, more weight lost and a better body achieved. That is the best exercise machine for you.

One final note: Remember that whichever machine you choose - with exercise equipment you basically get what you pay for. Many people buy cheap equipment and then pay for it later in the form of equipment repairs, joint problems and painful injuries. Make sure you buy a high quality brand name machine with a solid warranty that was built to last.

Kathryn O'Neill is the chief editor for Elliptical Trainer Review

For more elliptical buying tips, brand reviews, and best buys visit

Reprint Rights: Feel free to reprint this article on your website or in your ezine as long as the 'About The Author' section is included and ALL LINKS ARE CLICKABLE


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