Exercise! Love it or hate it, let's motivate each other to just DO IT!

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Old 08-01-2011, 12:18 PM   #1  
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Question Elliptical v. Treadmill

I started working out by walking. I also did treadmill. I avoided the elliptical because I found it to be harder on my knees and also (for me) harder work!

What I was wondering was: if I go by the calorimeters on the two pieces of equipment, it seems that the treadmill is the "better" of the two for calorie burn. But I have trouble with that, because I can walk on the treadmill for an hour (assuming I don't die of boredom first! ) whereas I'm just now to the point where I'm able to do 10 minutes on the elliptical. (i mix the two for my workout ... we have a workout room at my job and I shift back and forth between the two for a combination that equals 40 minutes).

So which is truly the better workout?
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:33 PM   #2  
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It really depends on the level of intensity you're able to achieve. At the same level of intensity, both machines help you to burn the same number of calories. (Yet another reason to ignore the false readouts on the machines!). If you prefer the treadmill, do the treadmill. If you like to mix it up with the elliptical, do that. The important thing is that you do it and that you keep challenging yourself to work harder.

(Really, it makes no difference. It's all about how hard you're working.)
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:44 PM   #3  
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The eliptical bothers my knees too.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:04 PM   #4  
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I would think that the elliptical would be better than walking in terms of calories burnt in a shorter time...what time durations are you using to measure the calorie burn on each (i.e. calories burnt on 10 mins elliptical = calories burnt on 1 hour treadmill?) Calories are calories, but if the intensity is low--like with walking--then you might not be raising your heart rate nearly as much as if you were going all-out on the elliptical. Pushing up your heart rate is what will give you the stamina you need to keep going harder and faster and improving your workout so that you can get past a plateau by using increased intensity rather than increased time spent.
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:52 PM   #5  
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Red face Thanks!

I very much appreciate the responses.

First off, as regards intensity and pulse rate: I've achieved some cardio improvement, but getting on the elliptical blows me out. I'm at a full 80% pulse rate (not only trusting the onboard pulse meters) within 5 minutes of a real effort on the elliptical. By that, I mean moving up to level 3 and forcing myself to move -- I use music for that (Aretha's "Think" is a great motivator! )

Comparing the two caloriewise: Today, I did the back and forth thing -- 10 minutes on elliptical, 10 on treadmill. Now I can work harder on treadmill, but by most people's standards, I don't suppose I'm doing that much. It's just a lot for me. Let's say I average a 3.5% incline and a speed of 3.3. (I seem to have a lot of '3's here!) 10 minutes on the elliptical is (by the machine's measure, which includes my weight and age) - 40 calories. The same time on the treadmill is 110 calories (by the machine's measure).

But to me, the elliptical workout feels like much more effort, and I've noticed that it seems to help firm up my upper arms and legs -- although I suppose that could be wishful thinking on my part.

Again, appreciate the feedback. Thank you all.
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:57 PM   #6  
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The elliptical is probably doing more to tone you than the treadmill is. But I find it easier to raise my heart rate on the treadmill. I really would recommend that you get a heart rate monitor, then you would know for sure which works the best for you!
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:18 PM   #7  
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For me the elliptical is better.... meaning I can go "faster" and therefore work up a sweat easier without bothering my knees. I can easily do 4-7mph on the elliptical for 45 minutes and be dripping. Even when I run on the treadmill 4 is my max. (I'm only 5'). Calorie wise tho go with whichever feels best and you are most likely to do for at least 20 minutes. I like to mix them up. Lately I do 20 min on the ellipitical and then run for another 20 on the treadmill.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:32 AM   #8  
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Studies have suggested the best indicator of how many calories you are burning is how many calories you FEEL you are burning, not the machines themselves . So if you feel more exhausted, like you're getting a better workout, with one machine over the other, go for it! It differs for different people.

That said, cross-training with different exercises throughout the week, or after every few weeks, is a good idea to keep your body "guessing" and not let it get too comfortable with one type of exercise.

Good luck!
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:44 AM   #9  
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@patchymama - I like mixing them up, too. Partly because I feel as though I work harder (differently, maybe?) by switching off, partly because it keeps me from getting bored and partly because (as @indiblue points out) it keeps my system guessing.

@indiblue - you are so right. I also swim and do water aerobics, lift weights, walk outside and (when winter comes, I hope) cross-country ski. I assure you my body is very confused!
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:45 AM   #10  
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@Loli - I think the idea of a heart rate monitor is great. Do you have any recommendations?
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:20 PM   #11  
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well i don't trust the calories...but it says i burn waay more when i walk at a 15 incline at 4.5 on the treadmill doing intervals...it says 500-600 in a half hr where as the elliptical...barely 300

i know the #'s are prob wrong but still no matter what the #;s are the tread burns more for me..

i used to love the elliptical but i got sooo bored with it.. i still do it though...but it's def not my fave machine anymore
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