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Which Workout: Elliptical or Treadmill?

By Sara Butler

There is so much equipment at a gym to choose from, it can feel overwhelming at times. Two of the most popular machines you'll find are the elliptical and treadmills, but which gives you a better workout? Both are great fitness tools but some differences between them are important to note. Here's what you need to know.

The Treadmill

Using a treadmill targets the lower body which is why you see so many people jogging, running, or walking on them at the gym. They can also be effective at giving your core a workout if you make sure to engage your core muscles as you workout.

You should use a treadmill when:

  • The weather is bad - If you're normally an outdoor walker or runner, then a treadmill is great for training indoors during inclement weather
  • You want to work on pace and speed - Due to the way a treadmill works, where the machines are generating the velocity and not you, raising the speed of the belt forces you to take your speed up a notch, which can be difficult to do outside
  • You want to work on your form - If you're trying to get your running, jogging, or walking form perfected, then using a treadmill allows you to focus on that
  • You want to work on strengthening your lower body - There's no doubt about it, a treadmill is a great way to make your lower body more powerful, especially if you increase the incline

The Elliptical

This machine provides a sort of stationary cross country skiing workout. It targets your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and other important muscles in your lower body but it also brings your upper body into the mix, providing a great full-body workout if that's what you want.

You should use an elliptical if you:

  • Are looking for low-impact cardio - The movements on an elliptical are kind to your joints and are a great option if you need something low-impact due to injury or some other condition
  • Want to isolate your glutes and hamstrings - You can move backward on an elliptical which can target certain muscles in your lower body to make them stronger

A treadmill or an elliptical is a great workout and are both very effective tools to help you reach your fitness and health goals.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Fairfax, Va.

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