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Treadmill vs. Eliptical

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Old 10-23-2008, 07:44 AM   #1
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Treadmill vs. Eliptical

I was using the treadmill for awhile just set on manual. Doing about 50-55 minutes. I would jog at 5 mph about 10 minutes, walk at 3.5 mph for 10, jog another 10 and then walk at 3.2-3.5 mph the rest of the time. I set my weight for the treadmill 10 lbs less than I weigh to get a more accurate reading on the calories burned as I had heard from someone here. The calories I showed burning at the end was 300 or a little more. I would be totally drenched after doing this.

Recently I started doing the eliptical for 45 minutes on fat burn mode. Now I set this at 10 lbs less the same way I did for the treadmill. The only thing is the calories burned after only 45 minutes is 400 or a little more. I'm confused as to how I could be burning that much more in a shorter time. I also do not sweat nearly as much as I do when I work out on the treadmill.

Do you think this is accurate? Is the eliptical a better workout or should I go back to the treadmill because I sweat more on that? I would think that since I was sweating more on the treadmill.... that would mean a better workout? But why less calories???

Last edited by lam41565; 10-23-2008 at 08:33 AM.

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Old 10-24-2008, 11:53 AM   #2
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Re: Treadmill vs. Eliptical

You know, I have wondered the same thing. I have heard that about 100 calories per 10 minutes is average when jogging at around 6mph.

I am a big fan of the treadmill and find it more challenging than the elliptical, since I used to the elliptical all the time and got so used to it. I usually run at 7-8mph for about half an hour and feel like I really work hard. If I use the elliptical and go for longer, it feels easier to me. I can add resistance, but then it just feels like more of a strength training workout than cardio, and I want the good cardio workout since I already lift weights.

I find that the treadmill doesn't always take into account when a person starts to jog and when they are walking. I have seen people jog at a slow 4mph, while many people walk at this pace. If you are jumping up into a jog, surely that burns more calories. I often find that MANY elliptical machines give a different reading of calories. I recently used one for about 40 minutes that said I burned 50 calories the entire time!

I would go for what YOU feel works for you. The calorie counter may not be accurate. If you enjoy one more than the other, go for it! Or mix it up! I have been switching off between the two because my bones start hurting if I use too much treadmill (I did too much one day and got hurt).

Old 11-01-2008, 05:23 AM   #3
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Re: Treadmill vs. Eliptical

I am a runner who is recovering from a tear in my posterior tibial tendon. I had surgery and therefore have not been able to run for about 3 months now. I recently have been Ok'ed to use the elliptical. I had never used an elliptical before but was ready for some physical activity so I tried it. I was very suprised at what a good workout I feel I can get on the elliptical. I agree that keeping the resistance low so it is a cardio workout and not a strength workout is key in making it more like running. I have a heart rate monitor of my own I have worn because I didn't feel the machine was accurate (even keying in my age and weight). If I keep my heart rate up, I can work up quite a sweat and also feel like my upper body gets some work. The fact that you work the upper body increases the calories burned. I enjoy the elliptical and will probably continue to do it even when I can run again, the added value being you don't beat your body up as much as running outside! So I think the "mix it up" advice is good and works for me too. Choosing either method of exercise, however, produces health benefits so doing something is great in the long term!

Old 11-02-2008, 02:38 PM   #4
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Re: Treadmill vs. Eliptical

I think you're right to go by your own heart rate, sweat and perceived level of exertion. Doing intervals of higher intensity exercise definitely increases the number of calories burned. Not just for those few minutes, but for quite a while afterwards. The machine can't average that in.

Each machine's calculations are based on a lot of assumptions and averages that might not be at all accurate or relevant to you. My gym has two different brands of treadmills, and they give me completely different calorie counts for the same basic workout. So I think it would be even harder to make a comparison between different types of machines, especially if they don't require you to enter your age and weight.

I was taught that you get a better workout for your muscles if you vary your activities. When you do just one thing, your muscles learn to do it efficiently (burning fewer calories). Even small change help. For instance, if you normally use a treadmill, you'll give your legs a better workout if you walk outside on the sidewalk one day instead. (It's better for developing balance too.)

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