Two most common cardio machines you would find in gyms are the elliptical and treadmill. Though both the cardio machines can provide an effective cardiovascular workout to the body and aid you in burning calories and enhance aerobic capacity of the body, there are some differences between these two. Let us take a look on the differences between elliptical and treadmill here.

Elliptical Vs Treadmill: Differences Worth Knowing

Elliptical Vs Treadmill: Differences Worth Knowing

Elliptical Vs Treadmill: Differences Based on the Features of the Equipments

Features of the Elliptical: This equipment allows the users to combine two movement styles in one exercise routine. The two movement styles include rhythmic striding and stair stepping. In the former movement style, the user stimulates the action of cross country skiing by moving the handle bars on the elliptical back and forth while the workout so as to burn more calories in one complete body routine. Here, the calories burned depends on the ramp height's settings, the level of resistance and the stride speed or on how fast the legs move while the workout.

Features of the Treadmill: The treadmill allows the users to walk, jog as well as run indoors. The equipment can be set to varying speeds ranging from 1 mile in an hour to 15 miles in an hour. For a more challenging workout, users can also adjust the treadmill's ramp up to about 15% incline.

Elliptical Vs Treadmill: Differences Based on the Suitability of People

Elliptical are mostly suitable for overweight persons who have greater risk of injury to joints during high-impact exercise, for the people with an injury to weight bearing joints, suitable for older persons, individuals with chronic illness (like chronic fatigue syndrome) that call for gentle exercise.

However, treadmill is suitable for runners and anyone training to run outdoors.

Elliptical Vs Treadmill: Differences Based on Noise They Make

Elliptical is much quieter than treadmill, as it is low impact in nature.

However, because of the motor and the impact of the user hitting the belt in a treadmill makes it noisy.

Elliptical Vs Treadmill: Differences Based on Calorie Burning

Elliptical is better and more efficient in burning calories and fats with less effort, as compared to treadmill.

However, it is also that as the intensity required in treadmill is higher, it has slightly greater calorie burning ability over the elliptical.

Elliptical Vs Treadmill: Differences Based on the Impact on Joints

In case of elliptical, the feet remain in contact with the pads throughout movement. Thus, there is almost no impact in case of elliptical training. Moreover, use of the upper body also keeps joints mobile. However, it targets the ankle joints and thus, people with ankle problems may find it awkward while exercising over an elliptical machine.

However in case of treadmill, there is a continuous pounding of your feet which can stress your joints with time. This is the reason why there is an increased chance of injury with treadmill. The more you use it, the more the risk of getting injured is. There are greater wear and tear on ankles, hips, knees and spine with treadmill.

Elliptical Vs Treadmill: Differences Based on the Muscles Worked on

Elliptical offers you to simultaneously work on the upper and the lower body.

However, treadmill is mostly lower body workout and it targets the core muscles like the quadriceps, gluteus, hamstrings, hips and calf muscles along with the leg.

Elliptical Vs Treadmill: Differences Based on their Benefits in Toning Bottom

The elliptical trainer targets the hips, thighs, hips and bottom. It may work on the bottom muscles very less. Here, by changing stride length and direction, the user can change the number of muscles targeted.

However, running on a higher incline setting on treadmill will tone the whole lower body and the bottom. The incline actually adds resistance to the workout and places you in a position that actually taxes your glutes. Treadmill is also a powerful fat burner.

Elliptical Vs Treadmill: Differences Based on Being a Beginner's Friendly Equipment

Elliptical is thought to burn roughly the same amount of calories like treadmill users with the considerably less effort.

However, because of the high impact nature, treadmill may be slightly more difficult for beginners. Thus, it is essential to start more slowly so as to give the body enough time to strengthen joints and avoid unwanted injuries.

Elliptical Vs Treadmill: Differences on Safety Use

Elliptical is a safer workout and is a great cardio workout. However, treadmill has a risk of injury, especially for the beginners.

Elliptical Vs Treadmill: Differences on Ease to Use

At the beginning, some individuals find the elliptical motion and combination of upper and lower body exercises, pretty difficult to master and there are individuals who find the elliptical motion awkward.

However, in case of treadmill you do not require any coordination to use the machine. You can easily use the treadmill if you can walk, jog or run.

Elliptical Vs Treadmill: Differences Based on Adjustments Available on the Equipments

In case of Elliptical machine, one can change the intensity and the incline. One can also change the direction from forward to reverse motion. One can also change stride length. There are dual action handlebars, which add variety to the upper body workout.

In treadmill, one can change speed and incline.

Elliptical Vs Treadmill: Conclusion

Now, we know the differences between elliptical and treadmill. We are also quite aware that both are great cardio exercise equipments. Both of these equipments can be beneficial for you in various ways if you put proper effort on your workout and if you are keeping safe. Make sure you talk to a fitness trainer and go for your workouts if you are a beginner.

Choose the best option for you that suits you and your fitness equipments. But keep safe!

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Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: September 11, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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