Treadmill v Elliptical Trainer

The Elliptical Trainer
According to most health professionals, the elliptical is a very effective cardio machine for those who have joint problems.  As your feet remain on the pedals, the machine provides low impact exercise, ie: is much less stressful on the entire body versus running on the treadmill.  Some machines have moving handles that give an upper body workout as well.  Ellipticals also allow you to pedal forward, or backward, changing the focus on the various muscle groups.
Your posture on an eliptical is important.  Your head should be up, shoulders back and stomach held tight, while looking forward.  Don’t lean on the machine’s handles, or you decrease the work that your body is doing.

The Treadmill
Treadmills are “comfortable” machines because running and walking motions are familiar and comfortable to us all.  On a treadmill, you are training on an even surface, usually with an automated speed, the user need not worry about the resistance, or other speed changes that occur with an elliptical.  Some treadmills have a variety or programs that alter the excercise cycle.
The smooth running surface of a treadmill is designed to reduce the stress of repeated impacts, but can still cause problems for people with joint pain.  Some have complained the treatmill is boring, but I can’t see how it can be any more boring than an elliptical.

My Experiences
I have both machines.  On the tread mill, I walk at a fast speed, as I do not enjoy running (and my knees don’t enjoy running either).  I also find I’m not coordinated to run on the treadmill and listen to audio tapes or language learning tapes.  The walking suits my needs and lifestyle.
On the elliptical, I find the opposite of what most people say – my joints hurt MORE.  I don’t find the motion comfortable, and I am substantially more “bored” on the elliptical than I am on the treadmill.  I understand that my upper body gets more workout, and the various resistance programs help to burn more calories, but it is not as “enjoyable” to me as the treadmill.

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