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Most Americans do not get enough exercise. Statistics on the lack of activity most American adults receive on a daily basis are startling. A reported seven out of 10 adults do not engage in any kind of exercise, and of the 62 percent who do, it is not on a regular basis.
Exercise is vital for maintaining good health. Roughly 300,000 U.S. deaths per year are attributed to conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke - all of which can be greatly reduced through a regular exercise regimen.
If you are among the seven out of 10 adults who do not get any regular exercise, there are things you can do to make it easier for yourself. Even 30 minutes of moderate walking, five times per week can be enough to improve your health. One of the easiest ways to ensure getting a walk in that frequently - despite outside weather conditions - is with a treadmill.
If you do not have a gym membership, but wish to purchase a treadmill for use at home, there are a few things to consider.
First and foremost, do you have enough free space to accommodate a treadmill? Most non-folding treadmills are the size of a loveseat, so you will need at least that much space to adequately store it.
Even if you have adequate space, you may want to ask yourself if a treadmill is a better investment than any other piece of exercise equipment. Let's compare it with some other popular exercise equipment to determine if it is a good investment.
Treadmills vs. Elliptical Trainers
Treadmills and elliptical machines are two of the most popular pieces of exercise equipment on the market today. Both provide an excellent cardiovascular workout, but each has very different specifications.
The benefit of a treadmill is that it provides a hard-impact experience, which is good for maintaining bone density. Runners tend to prefer treadmills over elliptical trainers because they can get a more intense workout on a treadmill. If you are used to running, an elliptical will not provide a satisfactory experience.
The downside to a treadmill is the same as its benefit - it provides a high-impact workout. For some people who have knee or joint pain, a treadmill may prove to be a very painful experience. For these exercisers, an elliptical trainer would be best.
That brings us to the main benefit of using an elliptical trainer versus a treadmill. Ellipticals provide an intense leg and cardiovascular workout with minimal impact to the joints. Someone with bad knees would find an elliptical trainer very beneficial in that they would still receive a calorie-burning workout without stressing their joints.
Another big benefit to an elliptical is that you can reverse motion, pedaling "backwards" on it. Reversing the motion allows you to exercise your lower body in an entirely different manner.
Treadmills vs. Exercise Bikes
We've already discussed the benefits and drawbacks to treadmills. Let's talk about exercise bikes in comparison with treadmills.
There are two kinds of bicycles: stationary and recumbent. Stationary bikes mimic the kind of bike you would ride outdoors. They can be very stressful on the knees and joints, so for exercisers who need to avoid that, a stationary bike would not be ideal. They provide a very intense workout, so for those looking to burn the maximum of calories in a shorter period of time, a stationary bike is competitive with a treadmill in that respect.
Recumbent bikes are positioned differently than stationary bikes, taking the stress off of the joints in the lower body. For that reason, they may be more suitable to someone with arthritis in their joints or someone who has had prior knee injuries. Like elliptical machines, they provide low-impact workouts that still burn plenty of calories.
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