Which cardio exercise is best for you?

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I frequently get asked which cardio exercise is best. I always answer with, “which one do you like the most?”

By far, the two most popular cardio machines are treadmills and ellipticals. Typically, there are more of these machines than any other in most gyms. They both provide effective cardiovascular workouts and caloric burning. 

There have been multiple studies comparing the benefits of each. A Mayo Clinic study shows ellipticals burns 50-75 more calories per hour than walking on treadmills. The Medical College of Wisconsin shows running on a treadmill burns more calories per hour than ellipticals.  

The benefits of treadmills create natural running mechanics with compound movements. This is useful for strengthening bones and muscles, which is important for people with osteoporosis. 

Treadmills can be uncomfortable for people with severe osteoarthritis due to joint pain.

The benefits of ellipticals are that it is non-weight bearing and much easier on joints, which is better for people with osteoarthritis. Also, with the use of handles, it includes an upper body workout.

But, let’s be for real. If you don’t like any of these exercises, you won’t spend an hour on them, if ever at all. That’s why I tell people, “which exercise do you like the most?”

Experiment with all the different types of cardio equipment. Maybe, you like several types, so mix it up and have fun. 

For me, I rarely ever get on treadmills or ellipticals. My cardio of choice has always been my bicycle. I love being outdoors, listening to music, feeling the breeze, and sight-seeing through all the neighborhoods and trails. Plus, it still makes me feel like a kid again — “look ma, no hands.”

The late Robin Williams was an avid bike rider. He said bicycle riding was the closest thing to flying. 

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