Ski Machine Vs. Treadmill

Choosing between a ski machine and a treadmill for your workout depends on your personal goals.
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So you’ve signed up for a gym membership and made your way to the gym for the first time just to discover you have no idea where to start with cardio equipment. Two popular choices in cardio equipment are the ski machine and the treadmill. Which one gives you a better workout? It’s important to consider the pros and cons for each individual cardio machine to get your best workout in for the amount of gym time you’ve allotted.


    Both ski machines and treadmills are cardiovascular workouts. Performing any type of cardio workout is beneficial for your overall health. Cardio workouts have been shown to improve blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, improve balance and stability and also aid in weight loss. Ski machines are beneficial because not only are they a great cardio workout, but they are also considered low impact and limit the stress on your hips, knees and back. Treadmills are excellent cardio workouts that burn major calories and fat. If you are training for an athletic running event, it’s beneficial to perform exercises on the treadmill because they closely mimic outdoor running.

Function and Impact

    The ski machine uses a movement similar to skiing with little to no impact on the joints. Your legs glide on the ski machine tracks and your arms move along with the skiing action. Treadmills, on the other hand, do have an impact on the joints. Their function is much more similar to real-life exercises, such as running, hiking and walking. The difference between running outside versus running on a treadmill is the push-off motion. With a treadmill you run on top of a belt that carries its own pace, while outside running you push off the ground and create your own pace.

Calories Burned

    A 150-pound person can burn 124 calories in a 15-minute period at a moderately hard effort or approximately eight calories per minute on a ski machine, according to You can burn more or less than this average depending on your weight, the intensity of the workout and your overall cardiovascular health. Treadmills yield better results for calories burned, according to On average, treadmills burn 153 calories for a 15-minute workout at moderate intensity for a 150-pound person. This is approximately 10 calories per minute of running.

The Verdict

    Which cardio machine is best for your individual workout depends solely on your goals and health conditions. If you have joint or lower back problems, the ski machine would be the better choice. You can get the cardiovascular benefits you need with the ski machine, but also limit the chance of a potential injury. If you are looking for a workout that burns the most calories per minute, then the treadmill is the better choice. If you are training for a running event, such as a 5K or a 10K, then the treadmill will closely mimic your road running, especially if you raise the incline on the treadmill to 1 percent before starting your workout.

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