Elliptical trainers are slowly becoming more popular than the traditional treadmill in many fitness centers. They are both excellent tools for getting a good cardio fitness workout. However there are some significant differences in these fitness machines and what they accomplish. If you are in the market to purchase a good aerobic trainer, knowing these differences can assist you in your decision making.
Elliptical trainers are very popular due the almost total lack of body impact with the ground. This is very important for people with damaged joints or suffering from arthritis. Treadmills are harder on your joints and many fitness professionals and physical therapist have concluded that you are better off doing your exercise outside. Treadmills have a problem that is little talked about but can be serious if you have joint problems. When your foot hits the belt on the treadmill the belt slips forward. Many times this is because the treadmill is improperly maintained. However this slip forward can cause knee stress and problems.
Elliptical trainers can also cause problems it the trainer does not have a long enough stride for people with long legs and if the pedals do not adjust to your natural foot position. The motion of an elliptical trainer has been compared to running on air. However it is poor training for marathon runners as the motion is relatively unnatural. In this case with good joint health a treadmill would certainly be a better choice.
Elliptical trainers have been hyped for there ability to give the users a better aerobic workout with less perceived effort. They give the user an opportunity to do an upper body workout at the same time as a lower body fitness routine. Basically this means you have the potential to burn more calories using an elliptical trainer during the same period of time than if you were exercising on a treadmill. It goes without saying you will still have to do some strength training to get a complete upper body work out but given that time is a premium this is better than no upper body workout.
Elliptical trainers are a favorite tool for many physical therapists when rehabilitating hip and leg joints. Exercise physiologist also use them when working with elderly patients. One drawback to ellipticals is their height. People with balance problems or fear of falling are not good candidates for elliptical trainers.
Elliptical trainers have an additional feature that make them a unique fitness machine and that is the ability to go backwards. At first you may think this is no big deal but if you do an exercise routine in reverse your quadriceps will some be notifying you of your error. If you have a Life Fitness elliptical trainer you have the ability to change the angle or incline which will further provide exercise benefits. Different exercise programs and features reduce exercise boredom, which means you will more likely continue your exercise and fitness efforts.
Treadmills are great if you are young, fit and without joint problems. They are especially suited for distance runners. However the newer elliptical trainers have taken over in many fitness centers. Ellipticals ability to give you a high intensity upper and lower body workout while protecting your joints has drawn rave reviews. Now may be the time to take an elliptical trainer for a test ride and see if you agree that provide a quality exercise routine.