Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Best Cardio Machine?

I think this is an age-old question, but today I want to address what I consider to be the pros and cons of some of the main cardio machines out there. Each one has their benefits of course, but I think that each can also be used for different situations. So let's get started:

Treadmills

Ah, the ever popular idea of running in place. I've read many articles that state that running on a treadmill is the best way to burn fat. And, in many cases I would have to agree with them. Some of the really nice things about treadmills is that they give you the same feeling as running in the country, but without the country smell. So the big pros to doing your cardio workout on a treadmill is that it is a great fat burner and cardio monster. Some of the down sides are that you experience the same impact that you would doing regular running, which depending on the condition of your knees might not necessarily be a really good idea. I experience another problem with treadmills, and from what I've gathered I'm the only person that I know that has this problem: for some reason whenever I do regular running or run on a treadmill, the skin on my legs gets incredibly itchy to the point that it burns and I have to stop running. The only way that I've found to counteract this is to lotion up my legs about 30 minutes before I go running (either outdoors or on a treadmill) and even then the burn might still show up. I should probably look into getting that checked out...

Elliptical Trainer

One of my personal favorites, the elliptical trainer gives you a really good workout with out the impact that the treadmill does. That is probably the biggest benefit to the elliptical. One of the problems that sometimes comes with an elliptical is that it is fixed in the way that it moves. If you've ever sat back and watched people run, you'll notice that different people move differently when they run. I have yet to notice a standard when it comes to every-day joggers. But on an elliptical, you have to fit the machine and that can become somewhat uncomfortable. In the gym that I go to there are only 2 elliptical machines that I like to use because my knees always hit the joints on the other ones because of my height. Other than that, I love using elliptical trainers!

Stationary Bike (Upright)

Another classic, the stationary bike has been around for a long time. For those of us with somewhat bad knees, these are great for staying low impact and also getting a good workout for the quad and other legs muscles. My wife and I both have some knee problems, and the doctor always says that riding a stationary bike is a great way to help that out. Overall the stationary bike is a great alternative for your cardio workout.

Recumbent Stationary Bike

This seems to be a relatively newer version of the old bicycle, and at first I have to admit I really didn't like it. What I've found since then is that it is a very deceiving cardio machine. Let me explain: when I first used a recumbent bike I felt like I wasn't getting much of a workout. Since then, I've found that over time you can work up quite a sweat with a recumbent bike. In fact, that's what my cardio workout was this morning and after about 30 minutes I was sweating really good! The other great feature of the recumbent bike, is that it is the easiest cardio machine to get a workout and some good reading at the same time!

So, when it comes to doing a cardio workout, I've found that its very important to mix up what you do on a rather consistent basis. Cardio is one of those things that can become very boring, so have some fun with it!

3 Comments:

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At 1:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really only read the running on tredmills part... I actually have the same problem as far as the itching. I've looked into it, and it's the pants or shorts or whatever. It rubs against your legs... >.< But yeah, I'm doing a science thing and this helped, a lot ! :) thank you!

 
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