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Busting the Top 4 Cardio Machine Myths

Don't Let These Myths Sabotage Your Success

39 Comments



  • Well I like walking and the treadmill. I can walk for sn hour or more and then still get on the treadmill. They are both good workout. - 6/28/2013 4:16:53 PM
  • I am a great fan of the treadmill I keep my weight off and keep my heart and lungs in shape power walking and running on the treadmill. I don't understand why you would put down the use of the treadmill over walking outside. I can't walk on pavement it's hard on my hips and the air because we live in a place of high elevation makes it difficult to breath easy when running or walking outside. The treadmill is the best piece of equipment to lose weight. I would recomend it to all you people who want to lose weight and keep it off its also very convient to have your own as oppose to going to the gym. I just bought my first elliptical my plan is a half hour on the elliptical and than 20 min to 30 on the treadmill some light weights three days a week. I am living proof of this routine, in the gym or at home. I love to eat and I do enjoy food . I am still slim at 55 yeras old. I bike outside during the summer if the weather allows me to. Happy friday to you all going for my run now. - 10/19/2012 12:29:03 PM
  • REVEND
    Walk is best workout for losing weight. I do 40 to 50 minutes walk daily. These are best cardio machines and you have shared great myths. I will keep this information in my mind. - 7/20/2012 3:18:15 AM
  • THEMOTIVATOR1
    Years ago I challenged myself to lose weight right here at Spark people. So I increased my miles on the treadmill 2 miles to 5 miles 4-6 days a week. I started out power walking at 4.3 mph. I would set the speed up to about 5.3 and jog for about a half a mile stop, stretch, take drink of water and put the speed back up to find that 5.3 wasn't fast enough and cranked up to about 6 mph. After 4 months I was able run the mile around 7 minutes. I lost over 40 pounds and hope I never ever find it. I ate lots of fruits and vegetable and cut out the junk food. It was hard work but it paid off. Why some people make life harder than it has to be is a mistery - 4/21/2012 8:56:31 PM
  • K_RENEE
    This is a lot to take in at once... :-/ - 4/19/2012 10:17:06 PM
  • HELOVESME4
    I can walk for an hour outside...but on the treadmill I'm doing my best to get 30 to 40 minutes in! I now only use the treadmill when I cannot get outside (due to weather...or whatever). If I can't get outside....then something is better than nothing. - 4/19/2012 5:15:31 AM
  • Great reminder about the intervals. My hrm always says I burn more than the machine says... could my hrm be wrong?! - 12/13/2011 8:18:58 PM
  • Gripping something can also affect your heart rate--another reason to beware the heart rate monitors on cardio equipment. - 12/13/2011 8:03:17 PM
  • Regarding running outside versus running on a treadmill: When I first started running, I used the treadmill and went at a fairly slow pace, about a 10 or 11 minute mile. When I went outside, the change from treadmill to ground was awful! I could hardly run at all!

    Then, before I went to boot camp, I decided that my goal was to run my incoming assessment in 12 minutes, or an 8-minute mile pace. It killed me on the treadmill, but when I took it to boot camp, I easily ran my first 1.5 mile assessment in 11:57, my second in 11:07, and my third in 11:00. My husband and I started running outside together because I was much quicker, and I got my time down to about 10:30.

    Then it came time for my assessment in late October in Newport, RI. I kept trying to run it on the treadmill, but a 7-minute mile pace was completely unsustainable. I couldn't do it! So I ran my assessment outside and though it was 42 degrees outside and windy, I still managed to finish in 10:42.

    I don't want wind to be a factor in my next assessment, so I'm slowly working on running on the treadmill as fast as I can run outside. The key difference is that my pace must stay the same on the treadmill; outside, I can slow down a little bit if I need to or speed up a little bit as my body desires, averaging out to a 7:00 pace.

    In regards to the calorie count, I just ignore it. I'm not even sure I trust the SP numbers, but they're the best estimate I have. If I need to drop some weight, I just watch my portions and toss in some more cardio.

    As long as I'm running, my weight is manageable. It's not my favorite form of cardio, but I get the best results, and I'm kinda good at it. - 12/13/2011 4:28:29 PM
  • The artical said:

    Treadmills allow you to run at a variety of paces and inclines while avoiding any nasty weather. However, if you're preparing for a running race or walking event, you need to know that the treadmill does not challenge you as much as doing the same activity outside. In fact, the motion of the treadmill belt actually slightly helps pull your feet back, thereby allowing you to shorten your running and walking stride and put forth less energy. Less energy means fewer calories burned. In addition, the treadmill is set at a totally flat or slight decline, which also makes your run or walk easier than it is in the great outdoors. Therefore, if you're used to running or walking on the treadmill, you'll be in for a big wake-up call when you head outside and find that you can't run as fast or as long without becoming winded.

    Does this mean I invested in a treadmill for nothing....I don't know about what the article said but walking outdoors even on hills and rough terrain does not make me sweat like the treadmill does....but would like some fresh air once in a while.

    Good Advice - 2/8/2011 11:47:35 PM
  • One other vital thing that the treadmill cannot simulate is changes in direction. When out running, it's good to choose a route with lots of changes in direction rather than just running in straight line.

    Even running in weaving manner as if following a big squiggly line does much more for all your muscles and core than just straight line running. Also weaving between a line of bollards.

    And for yet more variety, the occasional leap across a ditch or patch of long grass is very liberating. You feel like a wild animal rather than a gym clone!

    Having said all that, cardio machines have a valuable role if you use them imaginatively, example: vary the incline/speed on the treadmill every 2 minutes, or do fast/slow intervals.

    And on the elliptical, do 5 mins forwards, then 5 mins backwards, and so on. - 9/11/2010 11:08:35 AM
  • You had me until almost the very end when you said to trust the SP numbers. When I compare the calories burned from the cardio machines at my gym with the SP values, the SP values are always higher, sometimes A LOT higher. When I started on the elliptical the difference was huge. Only now, after doing it for 8 months, are the numbers on the machine even close to the SP values. I am going to a women's gym and I know some of the machines are specifically for women, maybe that's the difference. - 9/11/2010 8:37:25 AM
  • EXCELLENT! Thanks for putting this together. Great points & advice. - 8/21/2010 1:18:28 AM
  • ALICOTTER
    You make a lot of good points. However the article says it is about cardio machines, while all you talk about is the treadmill. Wouldn't be more truthful to say this is about treadmills. I really hate the treadmill, I do not enjoy it and will only do 10-15 mins max and only if I have to. While I love the elliptical and bike, and would talk the stair machine over the treadmill any day despite how are they are. Again much of what you point out about calorie counters etc applies to all. I look forward to you writing on more than just the treadmill. - 7/9/2010 3:41:33 PM
  • Thanks for the info. The Arc Trainer at my YMCA is notorious for giving you a calories burned total that is insanely high - I'm talking 800 cals burned in just 1 hour at a mediocre pace. I always try to go by the amount of miles traveled instead. Also, I use the Run Keeper App, and it is slightly more accurate than the equipment. - 7/9/2010 8:26:26 AM

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