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How Treadmills Compare to Other Types of Home Fitness Equipment

According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, over
40 million consumers purchase treadmills each year and the
number continues to grow. Treadmills account for over 1/3 of all
home exercise equipment sales.

So why do so many people choose treadmills and how do they
compare to stair machines, stationary bikes and other home
fitness equipment?


by C. J. Gustafson

When it comes to exercise, people like to walk or run. These are
natural activities for us. They can have practical applications,
such as getting from one place to another. They require less
gear than many other forms of exercise (although you can spend a
bundle on shoes, clothes and other accessories if you really
wanted). And walking or running are great forms of exercise.
They burn calories, work many muscle groups and strengthen
cardiovascular components in the body. Walking is one of the
best or perhaps the only feasible form of exercise for people
with diseases such as osteoporosis, hypertension and chronic
back pain. Walking doesnít require a lot of technical know-how
or instruction. We already know how to do it, and a few pointers
about heart rate and breathing will at least get us on the road.
In general, walking and running are easy and convenient ways to
improve health and fitness and a home treadmill adds to this
overall appeal.

According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, over
40 million consumers purchase treadmills each year and the
number continues to grow. Treadmills account for over 1/3 of all
home exercise equipment sales. So why do so many people choose
treadmills and how do they compare to stair machines, stationary
bikes and other home fitness equipment?

Ease and Convenience

The number one reason people use a treadmill is convenience. It
allows you to exercise even when the weather is bad or the
fitness center is closed. You can exercise in the early morning
or after dinner or whenever the mood strikes you. You can even
use your treadmill in the buff if you donít feel like washing
your workout clothes.

You can read, watch TV, talk with friends, or listen to music or
audiotapes while you exercise on a treadmill. You can keep an
eye on your kids, wait for files to download, take care of
dinner or the laundry and even meditate, think through problems
or make grocery lists.

For those who need to stay in the office until five Ė even when
itís not busy, or who prefer to exercise in the privacy of their
own homes, a treadmill is ideal. Also, in some areas and
neighborhoods, walking or running exposes one to traffic,
muggers or vicious dogs. These hazards are avoided by using a
treadmill.

Another reason people like treadmills is because you can just
hop on and walk without a great deal of preparation and even if
you donít work terribly hard at it, you still accomplish
something. But todayís treadmills make it easy to program in
workout routines that simulate hills or vary speeds to enhance
the effectiveness of your workout or challenge you to work
harder and improve. The control panels are typically user
friendly and many machines have built in heart rate monitors.

Clearly a treadmill provides several advantages over walking or
running outside. And it is often easier and less expensive than
other types of home exercise equipment, but how does it compare
in terms of pure cardiovascular workout and calorie burning?

A Better Burn

According to a study done by the Medical College of Wisconsin
and the VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, a person using a
treadmill for 60 minutes burns an average of 865-705 calories.
Check that against other common exercise equipment:

∑ stair machine 746-637 calories burned

∑ rowing machine 739-606 calories burned

∑ stationary cycle 604-5956 calories burned

∑ cross-country ski machine 678-595 calories burned

Treadmill vs Elliptical Machine

What about the new elliptical machines? An elliptical cross
trainer with handles to work the upper body provides a workout
that compares to that of a treadmill when it comes to muscles
used and heart rate issues. The main difference between the two
types of home exercise equipment is that and elliptical machine
operates more smoothly and creates less of an impact on bones
and joints. This might be good for those with recent injuries or
chronic conditions, but it is the impact that helps maintain or
improve bone density, which in turn strengthens bones and
prevents the loss of calcium.

Most experts agree that a healthy person needs the bouncing and
jarring associated with walking or running to keep bones,
muscles and joints working properly. A treadmill is one of the
few home fitness machines that provide this type of exercise.
And most come with a cushioned platform to minimize impact or
keep it at an acceptable level. As with any form of exercise, it
is a good idea to check with your doctor first if you have
health conditions that may make it difficult or unwise for you
to participate in certain activities.

With a treadmill, the concept is basically simple. If you want
to work harder, you increase the incline or the speed. Usually
this is done with a push of the button. An elliptical machine
can be adjusted to target certain muscle groups, but it requires
some knowledge and usually must be done manually. And because
elliptical machines are relatively new to the home fitness
market, there are fewer models to choose from and they tend to
cost a bit more than the average treadmill. Some people have
commented that they feel the elliptical machines can be more
difficult to use because the motions do not feel as natural as
walking or running. It is a good idea to try out any piece of
exercise equipment before buying to see how it feels and fits
with your needs.

Many people who exercise do so because they know they should,
not because they thoroughly enjoy it. Sure you feel good after
you complete your workout, but sometimes getting motivated can
be difficult. And if you are going to put in the time, you want
to know that what youíre doing is actually helping you burn
calories and become more fit. Treadmills rank at the top of the
list when it comes to home fitness equipment, providing one of
the most effective workouts in proportion to the amount of time
spent. So make your movements count. Try a treadmill.

C.J. Gustafson is a successful writer for Treadmill-Ratings-n-R
eviews.net
, providing tr
eadmill ratings
and reviews on the best
treadmill
models.

Copyright 2004 Treadmill-Ratings-n-Reviews.net

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