There are plenty of reasons women often opt to hit the local gym rather than strap on their running shoes and hit the local trails. Poor conditions, temperamental weather and chronic joint conditions are all viable reasons to try different exercise machines. Some of the most common machines in the gym simulate running. Not only do they burn calories, they can also give you an aerobic workout that will strengthen your heart, boost your mood and help you manage chronic conditions such as high cholesterol and blood pressure.
If you're trying to get a run in at the gym, the treadmill is your go-to machine. Depending on your body weight and your pace, you can burn between 600 and 1,200 calories per hour on a treadmill. Because treadmills often come pre-programmed with hill running routines, you can increase your effort and also boost the beneficial effects of your workout by changing the incline settings. If you avoid road running, however, because of the impact it has on your joints, treadmills might not soften the blow as much as you'd like and thus could lead to injuries.
Ellipticals and Adaptive Motion Trainers
If you want to take some of the impact off your joints, elliptical machines and adaptive motion trainers might be better alternatives to help you meet your weight loss goals or manage chronic injuries. When you use these machines, the motion you make with your legs mimics running. The smoother path of motion, unlike running, can reduce joint stress considerably. AMT trainers allow you to adjust stride length and resistance and they can even simulate climbing to scale your workout to your fitness or rehabilitation needs. Keep an upright posture with your shoulders back when exercising on these machines to reduce the risk of injuries.
Though cycling does not mimic the motion of running, it has some similarities. It strengthens bones and burns a significant number of calories. Hopping on the stationary bike may also be better than running for building strong, solid legs. The stationary bike is often recommended for people suffering from chronic joint pain because it has low impact on the feet, knees and ankles.
Choosing the right exercise machine for you depends on your fitness goals and whether or not you're experiencing any chronic conditions. If you want to get more out of your cardio routine, consider adding interval training to your regimen. You can apply interval training to any of these workouts by alternating between periods of high and low intensity. Treadmills, ellipticals and AMT machines usually come preprogrammed with hill routines or other resistance workouts that can more closely simulate the conditions of outdoor running. Balance your exercise routine with a healthy, lean diet if you want to lose weight and tone your muscles more effectively.
- MayoClinic.com: Aerobic Exercise -- Top 10 Reasons to Get Physical
- MayoClinic.com: Exercise for Weight Loss -- Calories Burned in 1 Hour
- Fitness Magazine: 3 Ways to Burn 500 Calories
- ACSM.org: Selecting and Effectively Using an Elliptical Trainer or Stair Climber
- Better Health Channel: Cycling and Your Health
Steven Kelliher is an experienced sports writer, technical writer, proofreader and editor based out of the Greater Boston Area. His main area of expertise is in combat sports, as he is a lifelong competitor and active voice in the industry. His interviews with some of the sport's biggest names have appeared on large industry sites such as ESPN.com, as well as his own personal blog.