Cardio training

Choosing the Best Cardio Machine for Your Specific Fitness Goals

Choosing the Best Cardio Machine for Your Specific Fitness Goals

gym-room-1180016Without a doubt, cardio workouts are some of the best things you can do if you want to live a healthy life. It promotes health and fitness by burning fat, improving cardiovascular performance, reducing the chances of heart disease, improving metabolism and releasing feel-good chemicals such as endorphins to help keep us motivated to continue a workout. That’s why the fitness industry features so many different types of cardio equipment: to help you burn that unwanted fat and improve your quality of life.

However, not all cardio equipment is created equal. Besides the quality of the machine itself, different cardio equipment such as treadmills, ellipticals, rowing machines and exercise bikes promote different forms of  cardiovascular health based on the cardio exercises you are doing. In addition, each cardio machine has a different impact on your body meaning the best approach is to use each machine rather than sticking to only one. That being said, we know that you are probably on a budget so we have created a comparison of different forms of cardio equipment, what results they produce, and what impact they can have on your body. Use this list to help you decide what is the best cardio machine that suits your specific fitness goals.

Treadmills

fitness-957115_1920The Good: Treadmills are the classic cardio machine. Nearly everyone has used one at some point in their lives to help lose some weight. They give you the ability to run, jog or walk indoors on a smooth surface, minimizing the chances of sprained ankles or tripping. Many treadmills feature an elevation setting, giving you the chance to run “uphill”, increasing the difficulty of your workdout. Others have programmable circuits that allow you to create a random “running route” to challenge your cardiovascular endurance. As far as effectiveness goes, the treadmill has lasted so long because it gets results. Running remains one of the fastest ways to burn calories and requires very little in terms of form or technique. Treadmills are also incredibly easy to use. Literally, anyone can get on a treadmill and start walking. Finally, they offer you the chance to multi-task. Many people like to watch TV, movies or read a book while walking on the treadmill toward their workout goal. If you are going to watch TV, you may as well be burning calories while you do it!

The Bad: Unfortunately, the treadmill also features some negative side effects. Running may be easy to do and extremely effective at burning calories, but it is also one of the most impactful exercises on your joints. Ankles and knees are particularly vulnerable to a running regimen and precautions should be taken to ensure that your joints are not jolted excessively. Insoles and proper running shoes are suggested for treadmill use. Shoes should be replaced regularly (approximately every 500 miles). Treadmills are also fairly expensive pieces of machinery – any treadmill worth buying is going to be about $1,000. Lastly, treadmills only provide you with one health benefit – cardiovascular endurance. Depending on the types of workout you are performing, you will not build much muscle using a treadmill.

 

Treadmills

Benefits Downsides Ideal users Non-ideal users
Cardiovascular endurance Extremely impactful on joints Overweight adults Elderly (potential for slips and falls)
Burns 200-700 calories per hour Limited workout potential Young adults Young children
Builds leg muscle Potential danger for slips and falls - -
  • Product
  • Specification
  • Photos

Extra-large high-resolution blue backlit LCD monitor Charging USB port and data export to NautilusConnect.com or myfitnesspal.com Everything to meet your fitness goals: 0 to 12 MPH, 0 to 12% incline, ...

$754.37 $734.67

Binding

Sports

Brand

Nautilus

EAN

0708447907905

EAN List

0708447907905

Label

Nautilus, Inc.

Manufacturer

Nautilus, Inc.

Model

100393

MPN

T614

Package Dimensions

1270, hundredths-inches, 7750, hundredths-inches, 20700, hundredths-pounds, 3000, hundredths-inches

Package Quantity

1

Part Number

T614

Product Group

Sports

Product Type Name

SPORTING_GOODS

Publisher

Nautilus, Inc.

Studio

Nautilus, Inc.

UPC

708447907905

UPC List

708447907905

Ellipticals

The Good: Ellipticals are a relative newcomer to the cardio game compared to treadmills. They were specifically designed to counteract the pounding your joints take when walking and running. This makes the elliptical a healthier choice than the treadmill when it comes to joint health, but the debate continues as to whether they provide better exercise (more on this later). Ellipticals push the body by forcing you to use your legs and arms in a concerted motion. This gym-455164_1920increases your heart rate much more quickly than running will, resulting in a more complete body workout. They are also very easy to use while watching TV or a movie. Overall, Ellipticals give you a secondary option to perform a running motion without hurting your joints as you would running on a treadmill. The downside to this is you also burn fewer calories.

The Bad: The elliptical has a lot of downsides: it does not allow for different ranges of motion, it has the potential for slips and falls, and worst of all, it is terrible at tracking the proper number of calories burned workout. When you use an elliptical, your arms are constantly cycling back and forth. This increases your heart rate, which is what most machines use to estimate your calories burn rate. However, your arms have less mass than your legs, so this heart rate counting actually tricks the machine to think you are working harder than you are. This means that estimating the number of calories you burn on the elliptical is more of a guessing game than a science The elliptical was designed to make workouts more accessible – it was not designed to give you the best bang for your workout buck. Long story short: ellipticals are easy to use and easy on your joints, but they also have the least impact on your physique.

 

Ellipticals

Benefits Downsides Ideal users Non-ideal users
Cardiovascular endurance Inefficient workouts Overweight adults Elderly (potential for slips and falls)
Burns 200-700 calories per hour No muscle building benefits Young adults Young children
Easy on your joints Potential danger for slips and falls - -

  • Product
  • Specification
  • Photos

Extra-large high-resolution blue backlit LCD monitor Charging USB port and data export to NautilusConnect.com or myfitnesspal.com Everything to meet your fitness goals: 0 to 12 MPH, 0 to 12% incline, ...

$754.37 $734.67

Binding

Sports

Brand

Nautilus

EAN

0708447907905

EAN List

0708447907905

Label

Nautilus, Inc.

Manufacturer

Nautilus, Inc.

Model

100393

MPN

T614

Package Dimensions

1270, hundredths-inches, 7750, hundredths-inches, 20700, hundredths-pounds, 3000, hundredths-inches

Package Quantity

1

Part Number

T614

Product Group

Sports

Product Type Name

SPORTING_GOODS

Publisher

Nautilus, Inc.

Studio

Nautilus, Inc.

UPC

708447907905

UPC List

708447907905

Exercise Bikes

The Good: Exercise bikes are some ofgym-1046961_1920 the best cardio machines on the market, hands down. They improve your cardiovascular ability, but also help to build muscle, improve posture and increase your metabolism. They are extremely easy to use and don’t cause any harm to your joints. They are also one of the most accurate cardio machines for estimating calories burned. To make your reading as reliable as possible, look for a machine that measures METS (metabolic equivalents) and watts (power output). Health benefits differ based on whether you are sitting or standing while pedaling.

The Bad: There aren’t many negatives when it comes to exercise bikes. The primary concern is that your arms don’t gain anything from an exercise bike workout like they might from an elliptical or rowing machine. Bikes also burn fewer calories than most machines because they support your weight during cardio workout. This is actually a positive for many people starting their workout regimen since it allows them to workout longer and gain additional health benefits.

 

Exercise Bikes

Benefits Downsides Ideal users Non-ideal users
Builds leg muscle Does nothing for arms Overweight adults -
Burns 350-800 calories per hour Burns fewer calories than most cardio machines Young adults -
Easy on your joints - - -

  • Product
  • Specification
  • Photos

Extra-large high-resolution blue backlit LCD monitor Charging USB port and data export to NautilusConnect.com or myfitnesspal.com Everything to meet your fitness goals: 0 to 12 MPH, 0 to 12% incline, ...

$754.37 $734.67

Binding

Sports

Brand

Nautilus

EAN

0708447907905

EAN List

0708447907905

Label

Nautilus, Inc.

Manufacturer

Nautilus, Inc.

Model

100393

MPN

T614

Package Dimensions

1270, hundredths-inches, 7750, hundredths-inches, 20700, hundredths-pounds, 3000, hundredths-inches

Package Quantity

1

Part Number

T614

Product Group

Sports

Product Type Name

SPORTING_GOODS

Publisher

Nautilus, Inc.

Studio

Nautilus, Inc.

UPC

708447907905

UPC List

708447907905

Rowing Machines

rowing-187859_1280The Good: If you want an exercise that challenges you every single time, the rower is the best cardio machine for you. Rowing is by far one of the best workouts you can do and promotes muscle building, fat loss and general health. If used correctly, the machine will burn more calories than any other on the market. Unlike the elliptical, your arms are getting a serious workout when you row, meaning your increased heart rate actually means you are burning more calories. Your legs and back are also used when you row, meaning your entire body is engaged to promote a complete workout. The biggest challenge of rowing is maintaining proper posture and form during the workout. Failure to do so can result in injuries.

The Bad: While rowing machines are by far the most effective fat burning cardio machines on the market, they have their drawbacks. There’s no point in beating about the bush: rowing workouts are hard. They are some of the hardest workouts you will ever do. That’s why they are so good at burning calories and getting you into shape. It is important, however, that you maintain proper body posture and technique while rowing. Failure to do so can result in injuries to the lower back, shoulders, legs and ankles. This is why we strongly suggest you get proper training before getting your own rowing machine. Last but not least, rowing technique can be very difficult for obese individuals and this can increase the chances of injury. When it comes to health and wellness, rowing machines have the highest payoff. However, they are also the riskiest to use.

 

Rowing Machines

Benefits Downsides Ideal users Non-ideal users
Complete body workout Very tiring workouts Young adults Extremely overweight individuals
Burns 450-900 calories per hour Chance of injury if used incorrectly Trained individuals Elderly
Builds muscle and cardio endurance Difficult for overweight people to use - People with back injuries

That does it for our list of the best cardio machines for your specific fitness goals. Review this list and our bestsellers comparison tables to determine which of these pieces of equipment suits your needs best.

  • Product
  • Specification
  • Photos

Extra-large high-resolution blue backlit LCD monitor Charging USB port and data export to NautilusConnect.com or myfitnesspal.com Everything to meet your fitness goals: 0 to 12 MPH, 0 to 12% incline, ...

$754.37 $734.67

Binding

Sports

Brand

Nautilus

EAN

0708447907905

EAN List

0708447907905

Label

Nautilus, Inc.

Manufacturer

Nautilus, Inc.

Model

100393

MPN

T614

Package Dimensions

1270, hundredths-inches, 7750, hundredths-inches, 20700, hundredths-pounds, 3000, hundredths-inches

Package Quantity

1

Part Number

T614

Product Group

Sports

Product Type Name

SPORTING_GOODS

Publisher

Nautilus, Inc.

Studio

Nautilus, Inc.

UPC

708447907905

UPC List

708447907905


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Our Top Picks
Home rowing machine with compact footprint--23.5 x 46 inches Adjustable gas-shock resistance Monitor shows time, stroke count, and calories burned
Additional limited-time savings reflected in current price Dimensions: 34W x 20D x 12H in. Steel frame construction
Foldable recumbent exercise bike with quiet V-belt double-drive transmission system Precision-balanced flywheel; 8-level adjustable magnetic tension control system Easy-to-read ...
Compact elliptical trainer with adjustable strap tension and workout computer Natural elliptical motion reduces stress on joints; large pedals with ridges prevent foot slippage ...
Ergonomically designed for all body types, features adjustable height Isometric non-stick grips Personal workout timer starts and stops when you do
Adjustable magnetic tension control system Easy to read LCD display monitors heart and workout Maximum weight capacity: 300 lbs.
Increases muscle strength Improves circulation Improves general fitness
Moves up and down with a side-to-side action Heavy-duty steel construction Exercise bands provide upper-body workout
Indoor rowing is an effective full-body, low-impact workout; Flywheel design minimizes noise while maximizing a smooth feel Includes the Performance Monitor 5, giving you ...
Adjustable tension controls Durable steel construction 250-pound weight capacity
Heavy Duty and High Durability steel frame construction with up to 400 lbs weight capacity. 20% more steel than the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike for more maximum ...
Durable: Built to Last with high quality gear box components for years of reliable operation Quiet: Twin belt, high velocity flywheel Unique: Desk features non-slip surface, easy ...
Dual track two LCD window system allows you to monitor up to 13 different display feedbacks Schwinn Connect goal tracking and data export keep you up to date on reaching your ...
Magnetic mini stationary bike with handle for easy portability Safety pedal straps, pedals work well with both feet and hands 8 Level micro tension controller
Wind-resistance-powered rowing machine Smooth rowing stroke with electronic performance monitor Easily folds and wheels away for storage
Blue backlit Dual Track LCD display - two LCD windows display the status up to 13 workout details Bluetooth LE connectivity and Charging USB port Everything to meet your fitness ...

Best Selling Cardio Machines


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Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine
$134.99
Buy on Amazon
FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical
$102.54
Buy on Amazon
- 31% Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike
$189.00 $130.99
Buy on Amazon
- 43% Exerpeutic Aero Air Elliptical
$139.99 $79.99
Buy on Amazon
Maxi Climber Total Body Workout

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Buy on Amazon
Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike with Pulse
$201.01
Buy on Amazon
Confidence Fitness Slim Full Body Vibration Platform Fitness Machine, Black
$249.99
Buy on Amazon
Sunny Health & Fitness Twister Stepper
$47.69
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Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5
$945.00
Buy on Amazon
Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer
$52.00
Buy on Amazon
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2 Comments
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