Walk into any gym and you’ll find cardio machines scattered all over the gym floor. From treadmills to stair climbers and ergs, each machine targets and tones a different muscle group. Do you know the benefits of using each type of gym cardio machine? Do you choose your workout based on what’s available to use when you’re at the gym, or stick with one favorite piece of equipment? Learn how and why to use fitness equipment to boost your workout and see desired results.
If your goal is calorie-burning you’ll realize the biggest drop with the treadmill. Simply by walking at a brisk pace, you can burn 100 calories per mile. Add an incline to shed pounds faster. Running on a treadmill, you can burn 600 to 1200 calories per hour. If you’re new to exercise, seriously overweight or have not worked out in a while, you may find that you have difficult keeping your balance on the treadmill. Start slow and gentle while you adapt to the movement of this machine. Increase speed and incline only when you are comfortable, and stop if you feel pain in your joints or knees.
A stationary bicycle also ranks high in calories burned – about 500 to 1000 per hour — but only if you use it properly. Increase the resistance to trigger calorie-burning leg muscles instead of relying on the natural downward motions of the pedals to do the work for you. Aim for resistance of 90 revolutions per minutes (RPMs), which most stationary bicycles show on the display.
If you are just returning to exercise or have muscle or joint pain, an elliptical machine may be the right answer. It’s gentler on the joints than the treadmill. With an elliptical, you can burn 600 calories per hour if using a machine that does not offer arm movement, and 700 to 900 calories per hour on those with arm movement. If you’re new to exercise, hold back on the arms until you get the hang of things. Aim for a stride rate anywhere from 120 to 140 to burn calories and tone your body.
Like the elliptical, the stair climber is gentle on joints. Not all gyms have these but if yours does it can offer an intense workout for your calves and thighs. You’ll burn fewer calories with the traditional stair climber machine, around 400 to 500 per hour. Stair climbers that have moving stairs you climb are more efficient than those that only have pedals, burning the same number of calories per hour as a treadmill.
Again, the erg or rowing machine isn’t something you’ll see at every gym. If yours has one, it can be a fun warm up or a killer full body workout when you’re looking to change up your routine. You can burn 1000 calories per hour on an erg, but may tire of the repetition first. Challenge yourself by rowing all-out for 250 meters then taking it easy for 100 meters, repeating this pattern for your desired workout time.
Exercise is only one component of fitness. You may need to make other lifestyle changes to shed pounds. Incorporate a healthy diet with fresh produce, whole grains and lean proteins to realize your fitness goals.
Lindsey is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area and she writes on behalf of Sears and other deserving brands. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.