Which Cardio Is Better for Your Body: Cycling or Elliptical Training?

One of them can actually screw with your performance abilities over time.


Macaela Mackenzie |

We know that cardio is key to keeping up with your fitness goals. But not all cardio is created equal.

Thanks to new research published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, we’ve got a little more knowledge about the ol’ elliptical vs spin bike debate for the next time we hit the gym.

Researchers had 14 participants do the same workout routine on the elliptical and on a cycling trainer – which both use pedalling motions – during two different sweat sessions. While the participants exercised, the researchers tracked their VO2 (aka oxygen consumption) and heart rate, as well as their perceived exertion and a few other metabolic parameters.

They found that on the elliptical, the participants’ VO2 max was higher, which means that they were able to do more strenuous activity for a longer period of time. But their overall efficiency was lower, meaning those cardio participants weren’t getting as good of a workout for the amount of energy they were expending.

Based on these findings, the study authors suggest that cycling might be the better cardio bet – especially if you’re recovering from an injury. The issue is that getting into a habit of low efficiency training (like you’d get on the elliptical) might screw with your performance abilities over time.

Did you know that you can skip the running, swimming and pedalling and still get a great cardio workout? Here’s how to get your cardio workout without running! And if you consider yourself a cardio fiend, try this super-fast 20-minute stress-busting cardio workout!

This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com.

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