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3 reasons treadmills are good

As is often the case in life, the simplest things are often the best. So too with exercise. For example, one of the best forms of exercise running is a direct outgrowth of one of the first things we learn to do walk. And running, often forbidden us as small children (as in "I told you kids, no running!") can reap great physical benefits as we get older.

Indeed, along with swimming, running offers one of the best overall workouts. But running does have its drawbacks. Prolonged running, especially on hard surfaces, can wreak havoc with your lower body. And unless you have an indoor track available to you, extremes of weather and temperature can complicate or curb even the most ambitious running program.

Never one to overlook a potential market, the exercise machine industry has responded with all types of indoor running machines. One that continues to grow in popularity is the home treadmill. Why? Here are three key reasons:

Convenience - Most people prefer not to exercise outside when it is cold, inclement, or dark. Even if you have access to an indoor track or health club, finding a regular time to run during a busy week's schedule can be difficult. Owning a treadmill solves these problems; people who own one can exercise more often. And, since most people are familiar with the basics of walking and running, treadmills are pretty easy to use.

Physical benefits- Exercising on a treadmill has wide-ranging benefits. As Gregory Florez, president of Chicago's First Fitness Inc., points out, "walking or running on a treadmill...has great cardiovascular value for the heart, lungs, and circulatory system. It's a very efficient way to lose body fat, and, since it's a weight-bearing activity, it has musculoskeletal benefits as well." And because running can reduce stress, you actually feel calmer and more relaxed (albeit sweaty).

Low impact workouts - Despite all its benefits, years of walking or running can take its toll on feet, legs and hips, especially if you exercise on hard surfaces like asphalt or concrete. Treadmills, particularly higher-end models with built-in shock absorption properties, can greatly reduce the stress placed on your feet, legs and joints.


Mon. Jan 30, 10:00am

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ooh, as I sell fitness equip, I'll put in my 2 cents: why treadmills are better (generally) than ellipticals.

A treadmill is one size fits all- ellipticals have different widths between the pedals, and being too wide can cause you to have a side to side sway that's not so great as it can overwork certain muscles, and put you out of alignment.

Ellpticals use momentum- one leg goes down, the other goes up. You don't require as much effort to "lift" your leg as you do on a treadmill. Also means you can bounce instead of usuing your muscles properly- diminishes the effectiveness of your workout.

Treadmills do not slow down for you. If you start getting tired, you can slow down yourself on an elliptical. Now yes, you'll see your rotations count drop, but how many people understand rotations compared to distance? Most people find it easier to maintain their intensity on a treadmilll. (though most deny this until you put them to a test...)(as for measuring intensity by heart rate, I do not support the use of little metal pieces you have to hold on to- get a real heart rate monitor than continuously meausures your hr)

If you set the incline high on your treadmill, you will have very little impact, but a really great workout. As most people say they need an elliptical because of the no impact aspect, you can get the same from a treadmill.

Monday, January 30, 2006, 12:29 PM

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to the above poster

Thank you for that info. I had no idea that ellipticals could cause problems if they were too wide and although I think I suspected what you said about slowing yourself down on an elliptical, I was in denial.

I guess I won't be rushing to the elliptical anymore. (Oh, I'll still use it sometimes but it won't be my exclusive workout).

Thanks!

Monday, January 30, 2006, 1:08 PM

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Thanks for this post. Could you possibly clarify what you mean when you say walking or running "is a weight-bearing actitivy, it has musculoskeletal beneifts as well".

Someone (whose opinion I value) recently told me that running does not build muscle, although it is good cardio. Do you know if this is true?

Monday, January 30, 2006, 2:52 PM

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to the last question, im not sure if that is true for everyone. I have built muscle since i have started running i run about 4-5 miles a day though. i don't do any weight training on my legs just that and people have noticed that they have gotten bigger.

Monday, January 30, 2006, 3:13 PM

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I think that whether or not you build muscle has to be related to how fit you are when you start running.. If you had little muscle to begin with, you will probably build some muscles. Also, as the fat goes away, the muscles will become better defined, and therefore look bigger as well... :-)

I like the Treadmill because when I calculated the cost for my hubby & me to join a gym, we figured out that we could pay for a really nice treadmill and still have it at the year's end.. :-) (whereas the gym membership would have to be renewed). Also, we don't have to drag ourselves out into the cold to go to the gym-- we put our TV / DVD player in front of the treadmill and therefore, the time we used to spend being couch potatoes is now spent on our exercise machines! ;-)



Monday, January 30, 2006, 3:24 PM

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