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Same workout on elliptical, treadmill?

Published: Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 10:52 a.m. CST

The term “elliptical” refers to the pattern the pedals make when the machine is viewed from the side. The first elliptical machine of any meaningful value was unveiled in 1995. Since then, it has become an increasingly popular piece of equipment for aerobic training.

But how does it stack up against the ever-popular treadmill? Studies have shown that the physiological responses of using an elliptical and treadmill are similar (such as maximum heart rate, maximum oxygen intake and the respiratory exchange ratio). So why does it feel so much easier to use an elliptical? The reason is probably because it’s a non-impact activity that doesn’t involve the pounding associated with a treadmill.

Many elipticals have an upper body component that allows users to address all major muscle groups, not just those in legs and hips. Using this type of elliptical can produce an even greater expenditure of calories.

How do you pick the machine that’s right for you? Choose one you enjoy and will continue to motivate you.

Fitness Challenge

Make it your goal every month to try an exercise class or modality you haven’t tried before. The more you “mix it up,” the more motivated you’ll stay.

The Newton YMCA offers a wide variety of classes for every level of fitness, from beginner to advanced. Come try a Saturday morning cycle class or an evening Zumba class; or for those early birds, challenge yourself with an early morning Boot Camp class. Stop by the Y to pick up a class schedule.

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