This is the ultimate question most fitness enthusiasts face when deciding on which piece of cardio fitness equipment to buy for the home. The treadmill has long been the more traditional piece of stationary equipment used for indoor aerobic workouts. However, with the rise in popularity of elliptical machines over the past five years and changes in technology, the need to compare the two is a must, to discover which offers the greater benefits to fitness and health.

Let’s start with the treadmill.

The treadmill allows for the user to simulate walking, jogging or running. These motions are vitally important for keeping a healthy body, building stamina, burning calories and strengthening muscles. This is of great advantage to running fanatics who enjoy this training experience but do not like running on hard ground all the time. The ability to change the incline and intensities are also big advantages as these allow the user to diversify with their workout plans.

The big disadvantage of treadmills is that by simulating walking, jogging or running, the more intense the workout, the greater the impact on the leg joints and bones. Over time this can lead to distress and wear on the vital joints, leaving them susceptible to injury.

Now let’s look at elliptical machines.

What stands out with ellipticals is that they offer a much better variety of workouts than treadmills. The dual action handles for arms and foot pedals for legs create the oscillating motion that gives a quality cardio workout with the maximum amount of efficiency. Both the upper body and lower body are used so calorie burn is similar to that of a treadmill but the most beneficial advantage is that there is much less impact and non-jarring on the vital joints and muscles in the body. Another significant difference between the two is that ellipticals offer a reverse motion so the user can target different muscle groups. What’s more is that elliptical machines also offer settings to change incline and intensity.

For the same exertion of energy there typically is no difference in heart rate and calorie burn between the two. Accomplishing a complete body workout and not just the legs is a true benefit and with the variety of workouts available with ellipticals, the user can remain motivated and diversify with their cardio workouts. Treadmills should not be knocked off their pedestal just yet. Everyone will have their preferences. Although overall, elliptical machines are more enjoyable and fun to use. Fitness and health is improved just as good as with treadmills but in the long run elliptical machines will cause less distress on the body itself.