Both elliptical machines and treadmill can give you a great aerobic workout – both do a great job of building up your VO2Max as well as promoting fat loss. It’s really a personal choice as to which you prefer.
But, in some cases, ellipticals might offer some advantages over treadmills. For example:
- Ellipticals are usually equipped with movable upper body handles or poles, similar to ski poles. These allow you to exercise both your arms and your legs – increasing your workout over a treadmill.
- If you have bad knees, hips, or back issues, an elliptical machine can be less stressful on these areas over running on a treadmill. Keep in mind, though, that walking on a treadmill exerts about the same force as using an elliptical machine.
- Most elliptical machines can be pedaled in reverse, which allows you to work your calf and hamstring muscles a bit more than does forward motion.
If used correctly, you should not experience knee pain on an elliptical that you might have experienced previously on a treadmill. An elliptical machine is generally considered low impact compared to a treadmill, and may be a good alternative to jogging, whether on a treadmill or outside. if you have an underlying knee problem, such as degenerative arthritis, using an elliptical trainer may not reduce that pain over a treadmill. With certain knee injuries, using a stationary bike might be a more appropriate option than using an elliptical machine. Talk to your doctor about what exercise is right for you if you have any injuries or health concerns.
if you’re training for a 5K run or other road race, you may be better off using a treadmill for your training regime, as a treadmill is probably a better tool to prepare you for running events. But even if running is your main aerobic fitness activity, cross-training with an elliptical machine or other low-impact exercise equipment can help keep you fresh and prevent overload injuries.
If you use an elliptical machine, remember to maintain good posture to help ensure the most effective workout. Keep your shoulders back, your head up and your abdominal muscles tight. Look forward, not down at your feet. And don’t lean on the handles — let your lower body support your weight.