Don Stevens, MillerCoors Fitness cener
Which cardio exercise machine will burn the most calories? If I had a dollar for every time I hear this question
from a client, I'd have a pretty fat wallet! In
today’s article, I'll compare the calorie-burning effects of some
popular cardio machines that you’ll find at the gym, and give you a FIT TIP for each.
Upright vs Recumbent Bicycles
Since the pedaling motion incorporates the big and powerful muscles
of the legs.
on your intensity, bicycling can burn 500-1000 calories per hour, which
ranks it among the highest calorie burners, so long as you use it
Upright vs. recumbent bicycles (the type that you sit
in)? Though the back rest on a recumbent bicycle can relieve stress on
the lower back, neck, elbow and wrist, this type of bicycle should be
used only if you have pain in these joints when you’re seated on an
upright bicycle. That is because you don’t make any of those
calorie-burning core muscles work when you’re on a recumbent bike.
FIT TIP: Want to burn more calories on the upright and the recumbent bike choose a resistance that is high enough to really
stimulate those calorie burning leg muscles, and that
makes you breathe hard in order to achieve 90 RPM, or revolutions per
minute; most indoor stationary bicycles show this number on the computer
TREADMILL vs ELLIPTICAL
Running is a full body workout that burns 600-1200 calories per
hour. As a matter of fact, running up an incline on the treadmill is the
best way to boost your metabolism for hours after you’ve finished that
Walking on the treadmill burns far less calories--about 300-400 per
FIT TIP for the treadmill: If you’re using a
treadmill, then either jog or use an incline, but avoid the common
mistake of choosing a ridiculously high incline, then holding on to the
handrails to keep up. You may look like a champion Everest ascender, but
the fact is, the rails should only be used if you have extreme balance
difficulties, or must stabilize yourself to change a setting. Remember
to pump your arms.
Unfortunately, the computers on most elliptical trainers
overestimate the actual amount of calories burned, especially in
individuals who lean against the railing for support. You can generally
burn about 600 calories per hour on the elliptical that don’t include
arm movement, and slightly more on the ones that do. Using the
elliptical burns fewer calories than running because once you get the
parts on an elliptical moving, they’re pretty easy to keep moving, and
so you expend less energy.
When it comes to calorie burning, the two most common mistakes made on the elliptical trainer are:
excessive leaning against the rails on the trainer (on those ellipticals that don’t have arm movement);
inadequate resistance (similar to the same problem on the bike).
So to get the most benefit, try to use the rails as little as
possible, and challenge yourself with the resistance settings. Shoot for
a cadence or stride rate of 120-140.
: for the elliptical: Choose a resistance that is actually
high enough so that the machine isn’t doing all the work for you. If you
don’t feel your muscles contracting during the forward and back stroke
of the elliptical, they probably aren’t!
There are many additional forms of cardio; but for
maximum calorie burning benefit no matter which form you choose, be sure
to incorporate a form of cardio that is inefficient or unfamiliar to
your body. So if you always walk, try switching to cycling or using the
elliptical; or if you always run, try the rowing machine. Keep throwing
those cardio curve balls at the body, and you’ll burn more calories and
lose that weight. Of course, most importantly, have fun when you’re
exercising. And clean the sweat off that machine when you’re done.