The first thing to realize in the elliptical vs treadmill workout debate is that you should only choose an exercise equipment based upon your endurance and fitness goals. For instance, two people with similar body types may benefit from different exercise equipment-one may see better results with an elliptical machine whereas the other may benefit more from a treadmill.
In general, if you're just starting out or have low endurance, an elliptical machine offers several advantages over a treadmill. This is because working out on an elliptical machine is considerably less stressful on the back, hips and knees compared to jogging on a treadmill. If you use a treadmill to walk (and not jog) the stress on the back, hips and knees are about the same as an elliptical machine.
Other notable advantages in the elliptical vs treadmill workout debate include the ability to exercise both your upper body and lower body at the same time. Unlike a treadmill where the upper body is stationary, an elliptical machine has moveable handles that can be used to exercise the arms. In addition, an elliptical machine also allows you to exercise your calf and hamstring muscles more efficiently by pedaling in reverse.
When comparing an elliptical vs treadmill workout, there are many factors that make the former more suited to beginners and those with a passive lifestyle, and the latter more suited to fit and athletic people. In an elliptical workout, your feet never leave the pedal, meaning you automatically reduce the stress and strain on your ankles and knees. Treadmill manufacturers, however, have addressed this issue expertly, and are now designing and offering treadmills that have cushioning to minimize joint strain. This means, running on a treadmill is somewhat less intensive on your ankles, knees and back, compared to running outdoors.
Recognizing your endurance and physical condition is very important in deciding between an elliptical vs treadmill workout. Young, fit people will generally find it easier to run on a treadmill as opposed to older people who may have not lead an active lifestyle in a while. This is because working out on a treadmill involves walking, jogging or running, and if you're not in peak physical shape, these activities will tire you very easily. In addition, if you have joint problems, a treadmill may not be a viable option because it puts a great deal of stress on your ankles and knees.
While a treadmill workout is more intense and more stressful on the body compared to an elliptical machine, on the flipside, it also burns more calories and gives you a thorough workout in lesser time. That is why serious runners will probably find a treadmill more suited to their workout routine, compared to the low-impact routine of an elliptical machine.