Walking vs. Elliptical, Which Is Better?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 16, 2014 1:49 AM GMT
    NYT: According to a number of recent studies, elliptical training results in greater activation of muscles in the buttocks and thighs than walking does, and less activation of muscles in the calf. Elliptical training also places greater strain on the lower back than walking because of how the muscles fire, a consideration for people with back problems.

    It also involves less weight bearing. According to a study published this month in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, walking causes 112 percent of someone’s body weight to strike the ground with every step, while only 73 percent does in elliptical training. This slighter jarring is an advantage for people with sore joints, but less so for those who hope that exercise will improve bone health.

    If, however, you wish to burn calories, walking and elliptical training seem indistinguishable.

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/11/ask-well-elliptical-training/?ref=health
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 16, 2014 3:10 PM GMT
    walking, because you actually get to live your life while you're doing it
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    Apr 16, 2014 3:51 PM GMT
    Either is better than nothing. I've not noticed back pain from using the elliptical but I'll have to pay more attention as often it shows up a day or two after some activity.

    Walking is always, in my opinion, the optimum because of the fresh air and visual pleasure. I think it goes well beyond just the physical benefits of exercise in general. Of course if your walking is a trip to the local bar, then the exercise might be nullified however, the emotional aspects might end up being enhanced! If the night ends with a broken heart, perhaps the elliptical would have been a better option! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

    So many things to think about while exercising. icon_eek.gificon_eek.gif
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    Apr 16, 2014 4:59 PM GMT
    It really depends on the brand and model of elliptical, they're not created equal. In fact, I find major differences in the mechanics of movement - some affect the herniated discs in my low back and neck, some don't.

    It's like the juicing versus blended smoothies argument where one camp says one gets more nutrients from one method or another - you can find online evidence supporting any premise so a best case scenario would be to do both as I do.
  • CSPYNY

    Posts: 187

    Apr 19, 2014 1:27 PM GMT
    There's definitely a difference in the various brands of the ellipticals. I go to three different gyms - there are two different style of "life fitness" and cybex. One of the styles I find is very intensive ... the other two are relatively easy.

    Two years ago I switched to an office job and put on some weight. Since taking it off again, I seem to have developed back problems and I have always had bad knees.

    Elliptical trainers are great for both, for me! If I go on a 5 or 6 mile walk (about an hour), it's very painful for my back. An hour on the elliptical and nothing hurts!
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Apr 22, 2014 2:39 AM GMT
    cspyny saidThere's definitely a difference in the various brands of the ellipticals. I go to three different gyms - there are two different style of "life fitness" and cybex. One of the styles I find is very intensive ... the other two are relatively easy.

    Two years ago I switched to an office job and put on some weight. Since taking it off again, I seem to have developed back problems and I have always had bad knees.

    Elliptical trainers are great for both, for me! If I go on a 5 or 6 mile walk (about an hour), it's very painful for my back. An hour on the elliptical and nothing hurts!


    You should see a chiropractor about the back issues. It could be as simple as the shoes you're wearing to possible bulging discs. Better safe than sorry.
  • CSPYNY

    Posts: 187

    Apr 23, 2014 12:51 AM GMT
    I probably should. My fear with any doctor is that they'll start pushing pills at me for no reason.
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    Apr 23, 2014 6:24 AM GMT
    Definitely be careful if the crank/wheel thing is in the front, not in the back as Precor designed theirs.

    I bought an off-brand elliptical once. While it was cool that the rails and tracks (for your feet) folded up (crank mechanism at the front), having my toes higher than my heels caused ankle problems.

    Sold that thing and bought a real Precor.. then sold that because it was boring to use, and bought a spin bike.

    Thank god I didn't buy the Precord AMT 100 when they first came out. The second-gen AMT 800 doesn't mess with my knee joints as much.

    Home gym equipment doesn't really work for me. I have to get away from the distractions...
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    Apr 24, 2014 2:22 AM GMT
    RobertF64 saidDefinitely be careful if the crank/wheel thing is in the front, not in the back as Precor designed theirs.

    I bought an off-brand elliptical once. While it was cool that the rails and tracks (for your feet) folded up (crank mechanism at the front), having my toes higher than my heels caused ankle problems.

    Sold that thing and bought a real Precor.. then sold that because it was boring to use, and bought a spin bike.

    Thank god I didn't buy the Precord AMT 100 when they first came out. The second-gen AMT 800 doesn't mess with my knee joints as much.

    Home gym equipment doesn't really work for me. I have to get away from the distractions...


    The wheel on mine is in the middle and it was great at first but now it hurts my knees so I prefer to use the gym machine which doesn't hurt now or just walk.
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Apr 24, 2014 8:04 AM GMT
    Walking outside, up and down hills, with a dog that keeps the pace up...

    The elliptical is probably only better for the ass for people how don't activate their glutes. If you just let your ass hang there it will never stay perky.
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    Apr 25, 2014 5:29 PM GMT
    I have a friend who is on the eliptical for at least an hour plus at least 5 times a week and you can't tell it by looking at him. He seems to have gotten bigger. I think one of the main reasons why is that eventually it becomes more about momentum. You basically just end up bouncing. I have read several articles that state the eliptical is one of the most useless machines in the gym. I will say in regards to a resistance workout for glutes the only time I get anything out of it is going reverse hands free in combination with stair climbing and rowing.

    In regards to walking, the productivity depends upon the speed and terrain. A brisk walk for over an hour would be better cardio and walking up hills could make it a better resistance workout. Wearing a weighted vest would make it even better.

    But in the simple spirit of the thread, I would have to call it a tie.