The Cardio Daze

Walking into the gym can be intimidating to anyone... All of the weights, machines and fit people can make you feel like you’re in a daze, and make you overwhelmed. It’s easiest for some of us to hop on the elliptical and just ride without getting out of our comfort zone, or knowing if it’s actually benefiting us. Do you ever wondering if you’re getting a good workout or actually gettin’ those gains on cardio days? Although there is not one specific machine that’ll do the trick, because every person is different, each one is beneficial for different reasons.

Treadmill:

Most people's go-to. The best part about the treadmill is it burns a lot of calories, and fast, except it’s not effective for a full body workout. Your ability to control its every move can be good and bad. You can pump up the incline and the speed to work yourself hard, which is good for HIIT or for miles of cardio. You can opt out of the challenge and stick with a walking pace at any preferred incline, this is beneficial for those off days from lifting to give your body a rest but still increase your heart rate. Although both levels have benefits, the ability to change the controls comes with consequences. The hardest part about a treadmill workout is your mentality, can you push yourself to your limits or will you stick with the easy route?

Elliptical:

Photo by Alex Lutz (Wisconsin '20)

Photo by Alex Lutz (Wisconsin '20)

Ah, the infamous elliptical. Many people love it because it’s a “full body” workout, but is it actually? The elliptical tends to give your body momentum leading to a less natural movement and not as good of a workout which is why it is so frowned upon by many trainers. This is a great machine for beginners just beginning to exercise and it’s also helpful for those with joint problems, easy on the knees.

Bike:

You’re sure to find many people recovering from injuries riding on bikes and there’s a reason for that. Because of the low-impact workout it provides, it’s good on the joints and very useful for those who are injury prone or recovering from an injury. Although it burns fewer calories than running in a certain period of time, it increases strength and stamina. Similar to the treadmill, you have the ability to control its intensity (on most machines) but only the intensity of your lower body, since you are sitting down for the entire workout.

Stair Climber:

We all feel the burn when walking up any staircase which is why you’d think the stair climber would be an awesome workout but done numerous times. This machine is very effective for the thighs and butt and that’s about it. Unless climbing at an unusually high speed, no cardio is included in the stair climber. Climbing very fast can lead to a grasp on the arm handles making it less intense of a leg workout. The stair master is good for a post arm workout or core session.