It’s been getting tougher to run in colder corners. If you aren’t careful, frozen hair breaks off. Exposed skin chaps. The brutal air can compromise vulnerable bronchial passages, leading to illnesss or exercise-induced asthma. Water bottles turn solid quickly, spelling trouble for those trying to stay hydrated on long runs. The slick roads and snowy sidewalks are dangerous, too.
The gym suddenly seems a lot more inviting.
Whether you wish to cross-train or substitute an outdoor run with indoor cardio equipment, a Laguna Beach-based personal trainer recently broke down some pros and cons of the most popular pieces in the Los Angeles Times.
Here are some highlights:
Treadmill: Upside: The cushioned surface is more forgiving than frozen terrain, so you can go further and faster. Downside: It can be mighty boring, plus you can’t condition those quads for downhills. Interesting tidbit: Research has shown that many people can push themselves the hardest on treadmills (versus other cardio machines).
Stair stepper: Upside: Great way to build up a good sweat within 10 minutes; this is tougher than it first looks. Downside: It’s easy to drop proper form, stick out the butt and grab the support bars, reducing its effectiveness. Interesting tidbit: It’s the recommended equipment to prepare for travel; people tend to climb more on a trip.
Elliptical: Upside: Less jarring on the joints; good for anyone suffering ankle, knee or back injuries. Downside: You use less energy too, so it’s harder to burn the same amount of calories as other cardio equipment. Interesting tidbit: It’s easy to cheat on the elliptical by just going through the motions, and letting the machine dictate the movement instead of really pumping the arms and legs to raise and sustain a heart rate.
Stationary bike: Upside: Another good one for those recovering from some injuries. Downside: Has potential to perpetuate poor posture, resulting in back aches. Interesting tidbit: This is the best equipment if you like to multitask (watch TV, read a book) or socialize (talk to someone next to you) while working out.
What’s your favorite cardio machine? Leave me a comment and let me know.