Which Is Better: Treadmill or Elliptical? 

Both treadmill and elliptical are great equipments for cardiovascular execrises. (Image by Ryan De Hamer)
Both treadmill and elliptical are great equipments for cardiovascular execrises. (Image by Ryan De Hamer)
Tooba Hashmi

It's certainly no surprise that the elliptical trainer and treadmill are two of the most popular cardiovascular exercise machines for indoor exercises. Both replicate a natural running or walking action and can improve your cardiac fitness, depending on the intensity of your training.

What is the difference between Treadmill and elliptical?

Treadmills are exercise machines that allow you to walk or run on a moving belt. You have control over both the pace and the incline. However, on an elliptical, you stand on a platform and move in an elliptical or extended circle.

Although these machines have some similarities, they also have some significant differences. There is no straightforward answer to which of them is a better choice. It depends on your training objectives, physical condition and other factors.

When it comes to working out, both machines have advantages and disadvantages. Continue reading to find out which one could be a better fit for you.


Treadmill is best for monitoring progress

The main advantage of jogging on a treadmill is that it's easy to use and is micro-programmable. In other words, everything you need is right on the screen in front of you.

Treadmills are wonderful data-gathering instruments. These days most treadmill models allow you to track time, distance, segment time and pace, making it easy to keep track of your progress.

The data is reliable, so it's a terrific way to hold yourself accountable and track your progress week after week. Most treadmills also include a selection of training programmes for you to pick from.

It may be simpler to achieve your fitness goals if you have greater control over your workout. Treadmills are ideal for high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, as you can easily change the speed and incline. HIIT workouts are beneficial for burning calories, lowering body fat and boosting cardiovascular fitness in a short amount of time.


Treadmill is great for training legs

The quadriceps, hamstrings and calves can all be strengthened by running or walking on the treadmill. Your hip flexors and glutes will be sufficiently trained during a treadmill workout. Squats and lunges should be done many times a week in addition to your treadmill routines to help strengthen your legs and prevent injury.

Elliptical is easy on your joints

The elliptical machine is a low-impact exercise machine. If you can't stand the jarring motion of walking or jogging, an elliptical can be a decent alternative.

Low-impact movement is less taxing on the joints than high-impact exercise. If you have a musculoskeletal ailment like lower back discomfort, knee or hip pain, or other health conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis, the elliptical is a safer option.

Although low-impact exercise can appear to be gentle, it nonetheless gives a good cardiovascular workout. A 2017 study on aerobic exercise suggested that a 24-week low-impact training regimen increased the participants' body composition, physical fitness and cardiovascular fitness.


Treadmill is best for marathon preparation

Treadmills have a larger impact than ellipticals, but they have a lower impact than running on the pavement.

Treadmills are known for being a high-impact training equipment. Running on a treadmill produces less impact on the body, particularly the feet, knees and hips, as a treadmill is designed to absorb some of that impact.

Unlike the elliptical, which moves in a predefined rhythm, treadmill allows you to focus on your running technique, which is great when you actually run on the road or trails. This is a significant benefit for those training for outdoor races.

Elliptical works out your upper and lower body

Arm grips are available on several elliptical machines. You may move your legs and push them back and forth at the same time. The grips' resistance helps to strengthen the muscles in your shoulders, chest and back.

At the same time, the machine can help you to build lower-body muscles, such as glutes, hip flexors and quadriceps. This machine can help you work different muscles. You'll work out and strengthen your calves and hamstrings if you walk backward instead of forward.

How do you pick the right machine for you?

Choosing between a treadmill and an elliptical depends on your fitness and physical health goals. Both machines help you burn calories and get a decent cardiovascular workout.

The elliptical machine can provide some benefits that the treadmill cannot. The elliptical, for example, may be a better alternative if you're prone to injuries or have a musculoskeletal ailment. That's because it allows you to get a solid aerobic workout while exerting less stress on your bones and joints, potentially lowering your chance of injury when exercising. Elliptical is also a better choice for many because, as it allows you to have a complete upper and lower body workout at the same time.

However, if you're looking to lose weight, the treadmill is a better option. It may be a better alternative for you than the elliptical if you are not susceptible to injuries or joint problems, or if you want to achieve a specific goal, like strengthening your glutes and leg muscles when preparing for a 5K or 10K marathon.

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Edited by Bhargav


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