Guest Author - Terri Johansen
Do you have a favorite cardio machine? Most of us do whether in our homes or at the gym we head straight for the tried and true. The purpose of aerobic workouts is to raise your heart rate and get your oxygen circulating in your blood. When doing cardio you use the largest muscles in the body and they need that oxygen to prevent fatigue. Not all cardio is created equal. Here is some advice on the top 4 machines used.
The treadmill is the most popular of cardio machines. People will use them more often, for longer, and they tend to stick with it. Treadmills are basic for step on and walk. But there is much more you can do with your treadmill workout.
Adjusting the intensity of your workout is easy with a treadmill, you simply use your incline and or speed. Giving you a variety of workouts such as endurance training and high intensity interval training. They are used by walkers, joggers, and runners. They are a weight bearing machine which means you're building body mass without pounding your joints. Different workouts will help you reduce body fat, lose weight, strengthen your muscles and increase overall fitness. However, the most important factor is consistency.
Elliptical trainers are the second most used cardio equipment. They are non-impact and a good way to burn lots of calories. The machines come in different varieties and provide a wide range of training choices, such as numerous adjustments to give more of a load to certain body parts. You can control the speed and incline and there are a variety of pre-programmed workouts. Many ellipticals now come with moving arms allowing you to workout upper and lower body at the same time.
Bikes are the third favorite cardio machines. The great thing about bikes is there are so many different styles to choose from. There are upright bikes, recumbent bikes, and racing style bikes. They are non-weight bearing; however in a seated position a person will typically not burn as many calories as standing. You will have to work harder on a bike to get the same intensity that you can get on a treadmill or elliptical.
You can do a variety of workouts on the bike by controlling the incline and speed. Some bikes come with moving arms also. Upright bikes are good for mimicking the seat of a mountain bike which will make you use your core muscles more. This position is riding with your hips lifted up off the seat. However, donít look down on the recumbent bike as it has lots of benefits also, mainly which is protecting the back. Overall the recumbent bike can give you just as hard a workout and is the recommended choice.
Stair climber or Stair stepper
If you are looking for an intense workout then this is the machine. They are made to mimic climbing a set of stairs. These machines are often too hard for beginners to use. However they do come with adjustable speeds which increase the intensity. They are set at a constant vertical climb. This is a weight bearing machine that can be hard on the knees for some people.
My advice? Try them all. You will find a favorite, but when you do still change out with other machines occasionally. All machines work sets of muscle groups differently. A good and challenging workout would be to use a different machine each day and rotate throughout the week. Whichever you chose you will burn calories and work up a sweat.
Always check with a medical professional before starting a new exercise program, which includes different exercise equipment. Be healthy, be happy!
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