Sports Medicine: Selecting Your Cardiovascular Exercise Machine

by Jsantos, March 28, 2014

Sports Medicine: Selecting Your Cardiovascular Exercise Machine

Addressing the issue of what type of aerobic exercise is most appropriate for you is, at best, easier said than done. In reality, all forms of aerobic exercise do not offer the same features and benefits to you. Some are safer than others. Some are more engaging. Some enhance more than one component of fitness at a time. Some are more expensive. Some involve a slightly longer learning curve. Some aerobic products require more upkeep, a factor, which will come into play if you are planning on purchasing a particular machine for home use. Some withstand a greater use.

Whatever the array of differences, the key point to remember is that in order to make your exercise results more compatible with your overall exercise efforts, you need to make an informed decision about what type of aerobic exercise is best for you. Such a decision involves diligently evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of each of your exercise options and determining the relative impact of those on your interests and needs.

One of the most substantial problems you will find when attempting to identify what type of aerobic exercise will best meet your interests and needs is the seemingly endless amount of misinformation that exists concerning aerobic exercise modalities. Collectively, the judgments can complicate your search for the most appropriate way to exercise aerobically. Lets talk about some of them:

Is Walking is always the best exercise?

Except for severely deconditioned individuals, walking has a negligible effect on your level of aerobic fitness. All factors considered, what will benefit you most is an exercise modality that stresses you sufficiently so that you can achieve a training effect. It is recommended that you exercise at 55% to 85% of your predicted maximum heart rate (220 minus your age). For the vast majority of people, walking does not raise their heart rate into their training zone.

Does treadmill offer the same benefits as a stair-climbing machine?

While treadmills are certainly one of the most popular pieces of indoor aerobic exercise equipment, they do not offer the same benefits as stair climbing machines. For one, exercising on a treadmill exposes your musculoskeletal system to a certain amount of orthopedic stress, stress that is much more substantially controlled on independent, step-action stair climbing machines. For example, it has been estimated that the amount of trauma to your skeletal joints ranges from two to three times your body weight each time your foot hits the treadmill’s belt during running. On the other hand, research has shown that exercising on stair-climbing machines only places a force of 1.2 times your body weight at any exercise speed.

Exercising on a treadmill also includes an inherent risk of falling off the back of the moving belt, if you do not keep up with the belt’s preselected rate of speed. The only other fairly significant injury risk factor associated with treadmills involves the problem of relatively high-speed restarts on AC-driven machines. A system where the treadmill is set to restart a certain level once has been set to do it.

Decided? On our next post we will continue the list so you can evaluate all of the different possibilities and take the best possible decision.



Orthopedic Corner | Leon Mead MD Orthopedic Doctor | 730 Goodlette Road North, Suite 201  Naples Florida 34102 | Phone: (239) 262-1119

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