I'm confused about the elliptical machine and the treadmill at my gym. Which machine would give the best and fastest results for losing pounds and losing inches from my hips and thighs?
I sweat a lot more using the elliptical and burn more calories. But someone told me that using the treadmill will actually firm up the body more than the elliptical. On the elliptical, I set the resistance at number 7. On the treadmill, I run at 4.5-4.7 mph. I exercise about five times a week and want to be as productive as possible.
While treadmills and elliptical trainers are two of the most popular pieces of cardio equipment out there, each has its own perks and pitfalls. For an expert's point of view, we asked Faith Kromer, fitness director at Quest Fitness in Ellicott City, to weigh in on the subject.
Kromer says that while both pieces of equipment help increase bone density, burn calories and promote cardiovascular health, the elliptical machine is impact-free and often has an upper-body option (similar to the arm benefits of cross-country skiing).
Running on a treadmill can put more stress on your joints and lower back, but many athletes feel you get the best bang for your buck with a good treadmill run.
You may be getting a better workout on the elliptical trainer because your body can tolerate it more - you can push yourself harder without the impact. To burn more calories on the treadmill, consider increasing the machine's speed or incline. Kromer also recommends consulting a personal trainer.
Ultimately, she says, "pick the machine that you like the best and can tolerate for at least 30-40 minutes for a good cardiovascular and fat-burning workout."
I exercise 3-4 times a week with a mix of running and weights. Over the past six months I've had a handful of small injuries, including a sore right shoulder and tight lower back. What can I do to prevent setbacks like this in the future?
Minor sports injuries can be frustrating, particularly when they keep you sidelined. Here are 10 steps to take to keep your body injury-free:
Warm up and cool down.
Buy new shoes.
Practice good form.
Rest when your body tells you to.
Increase time, distance or intensity by no more than 10 percent weekly.
Spread out your workouts: exercise daily rather than being a weekend warrior.
Don't show off. Trying to bench press too much weight to impress your gym crush is a bad idea.
Get treated. Have a doctor evaluate any nagging injuries.
Now that the weather is finally cooperating, I'm determined to get out and run more. The problem is that I'm not as disciplined as I should be. I think a running group would help inspire me. Where can I sign up for one? Also, my 70-year-old mother wants to find a similar club for walkers. I live in Baltimore and she lives in Annapolis.
When it comes to squeezing exercise into a busy schedule, motivating yourself can be difficult. Here are some running and walking clubs in Maryland. For information on others, drop by your local running store. Many stores have close ties to these clubs.
Annapolis Striders: www.annapolisstriders.org.
Baltimore Road Runners Club: www.brrc.com.
Baltimore Walking Club: www.baltimorewalkingclub.org.
Chesapeake Bay Running Club: www.cbrcmd.org.
Howard County Striders: www.striders.net.
Prince George's Running Club: www.pgrc.org.
Seneca Valley Sugarloafers: www.sugarloafers.org.
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