The great debate: treadmill vs. elliptical

The great debate: treadmill vs. elliptical

If you go to the gym, you may notice that the treadmills and the elliptical machines are almost always the items with a waitlist or sign-up sheet. Since they are both so popular, you may not have had a chance to try both of them out, or maybe you are wondering why they all seem to do the trick. Treadmills and elliptical machines are popular because they are like a workout multi-tool; each machine offers you the ability to get a strong cardio workout without having to worry about traffic, toxic fumes or fighting the weather. They both involve a variant of what people already know how to do: walk and run. Thus, it is easy to hop on one of these machines and know what to do without having to read the owner?s manual first. However, both of these machines, the elliptical and the treadmill, have unique traits that make them appeal to different types of people.


A treadmill is the perfect piece of fitness equipment of the person who likes to feel completely free during a workout. You don?t have to hold onto anything, and your legs are not attached to anything. If you are an avid runner, you can still feel that split second of weightlessness between each footfall. The freedom of space and air is yours, as long as you stay on the belt of course. The treadmill is the best machine for people who don?t like to be tied to a machine. Indeed, some treadmills even come without side bars so that you can truly move however you feel like moving.

To make your workouts more effective and intense, the treadmill?s two main variables are speed and incline. You can use the treadmill to help set and keep a pace for you, and it will tell you exactly how fast you are running each mile. You can adjust the incline up or down to simulate walking in your neighborhood or a hilly road. With these adjustments, you are able to vary the intensity by workout out different muscles than you would on a standard even surface

The treadmill is a great weight-bearing workout machine. With each step, you are supporting the entire weight of your body, which helps keep bones and muscles strong. If you are an avid runner, you are supporting your weight with the added force of gravity to boot. And you will keep supporting that weight, because the motor keeps that belt running until your workout is over.


An elliptical is the perfect exercise machine for the person who has joint issues, injuries or simply doesn?t like all the jarring jolts of running. Your feet stay connected with the machine so you don?t have to worry about all of the extra force on your joints. However, the motion of the machine is similar to the movement your muscles make when running, and works many of the same muscles. If you want a full-body workout, many elliptical machines also feature moving arm bars so that you can work your upper and lower body together.

If you want to vary your workouts, the elliptical allows for increased resistance and speed. Like the treadmill, increasing your speed will help get your heart rate up, and the elliptical can calculate what your increased speed equates to into miles splits. Increased resistance allows you to work your muscles in a more anaerobic fashion and work on strength as well as endurance.

Ellipticals do not usually feature a motor, so you can start and stop as needed, or adjust your speed without having to push a button. This is nice for people who truly want to feel in control of their workouts. One additional advantage of elliptical machines is that they are able to work in reverse, so you can exercise equal and opposite muscles. Reverse strides are a good way to stretch and ensure that you are getting a good balanced workout of all muscle groups.

Whether you get a treadmill or an elliptical will depend on you personal preferences, the space in your home and your budget. Whatever you decide, Sears will be with you every step of the way to help you select a machine that will keep you fit and having fun.

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