Thinking about investing in home exercise equipment and wondering what the differences are between a treadmill and an elliptical? Wondering if you should get the one with the best value or the cheapest? Or are you wondering if there are health differences based on your lifestyle?
The biggest difference between an elliptical and a treadmill is that an elliptical is a “no impact” machine, which is important to some people and works the upper body as well. And a treadmill allows for more realistic running motion, which can be important if you’re working towards being a better runner.
But one of the main advantages of a treadmill over an elliptical is that the elliptical only allows you to have a fixed stride length along with a forward and backward motion. Many heart conscious people think that the elliptical trainer is a good machine for cardiovascular exercise. However, it doesn’t really address the biomechanics and timing of the ankles, knees, and hips. When using this machine, the function of the muscles of the foot is limited. Treadmills allow you to control the overlap of your feet, while the elliptical trainer keeps your feet a set width apart.
A treadmill is the natural physiological way to walk or run. To live a longer, healthier life, you need to make sure you have what is called a “specific activity.” It can give you specific and generally necessary information on proper foot placement and technique, for example: the sound of each footfall must be very quiet, an elliptical cannot do this. If you want instant feedback with a treadmill, place a mirror in front and to the side of the unit and work on increasing your stride. This will help reduce any harmful stress while maximizing lymphatic flow and drainage in the body.
An elliptical and the treadmill stimulate the lymphatic system and its flow, which is a good thing, of course, but opinions differ due to the natural function of the foot on the treadmill, where it can be considered better. It also allows more variety, intensity and depth to workouts, for example, working both the adductors and the abductors of the hips as well as the lateral steps. The lateral step helps to develop both the internal and external functions of both legs. It also reduces any chance of overuse problems.
The muscles of the buttocks, thighs, legs and feet are used. You can also walk backwards, which is good for people who have a history of leg cramps and stress fractures; This will improve muscle synchronization and the biomechanics of your legs. For people who want more intensity and a challenge, try jumping high.
A very significant difference between machines is the question of balance. A person’s balance is not a factor on an elliptical machine like it is on a treadmill, and balance may even improve over time. Professionals have recommended using tubes on a treadmill, holding them from behind or in front to increase arm strength and upper body fitness. If you are familiar with the cross crawl pattern, it can help you too.
If cost is a factor, of course there are many ways to save money on these machines. From discounted to wholesale prices, inexpensive or cheaper equipment can easily be found online.
In the end, it all depends on which machine you like and, more importantly, which machine you will use the most. Both the elliptical and the treadmill are great exercise equipment and only work if you use them constantly and don’t let them collect dust. In any case, no matter which one you choose, you are sure to benefit by making them an important part of your personal health plan.