You show up at the gym, ready for a satisfying sweat session, and you’re presented with rows and rows of machines. How do you know which one to choose? You probably already knew that cardio is good for your heart and your metabolism, but not all exercise is created equal. Take a look at some of the benefits and disadvantages of various cardio machines and compare for yourself.
Treadmills are probably the most common cardio machine, and for good reason: it’s a solid calorie burner with different speeds and inclines. However, the repeat motion of running can be hard on the knee and ankle joints.
If you want something a little easier on your joints, the elliptical is the way to go. You also have the advantage of controlling your speed as you go, though that may be a bad thing if you tend to slack off as your workout wears on. Elliptical machines typically build less muscle and burn less calories than treadmills, too.
Another option to ease joint pain is the stationary bike. With a wide range of intensity options, the stationary bike can make a challenging workout for beginners and more advanced exercises alike. However, the sitting position can be painful and stationary bike workouts tend to burn less calories than treadmills and elliptical machines.
The stair master offers a really intense workout that can engage several muscle groups at once. They also can add variety to your routine as they are less common. Be cautious of wrist strain, as experts say people often lean on their hands too much while using a stair master. You always need to be aware of your form on a stair master machine.
No matter which cardio machine you choose, the most important factor is the effort you put in. You can have a great workout on any of these machines if you push yourself to reach your potential.