The Best Cardio Machines to Use

Cardio machines such as treadmills, stair climbers and elliptical machines provide an effective workout because they not only burn calories, but they strengthen the heart and lungs, resulting in improved cardiovascular health. Cardio machines also provide a different option for people who do not feel comfortable in an aerobics class or exercising outdoors. There are several different types of machines to choose from, and what you use may depend on your goals and how much you enjoy it.


Although there are several different types of cardio machines, few compare to the treadmill in terms of ease of use, calories burned and the health benefits, according to the health information website My Optum Health. Because walking is a useful form of exercise for people with chronic conditions such as osteoporosis and even for pregnant women, treadmills have become increasingly popular among people who want to get fit. Many treadmills also offer a variety of workout programs that allow you to go at your own pace, so there is little room for boredom.

Elliptical Machine

Perhaps one of the best benefits of an elliptical machine is that you can get a full-body workout through low-impact movement. According to Elliptical Trainer Review, elliptical machines are especially beneficial for older adults and for those who tend to develop shin splints or other joint problems. Unlike other types of machines where you move in one direction, an elliptical can go forward or backward, giving you the ability to work different muscle groups.

Stair Climber

Stair climbers essentially emulate walking up a flight of stairs, and there are many benefits to using this machine, if you maintain correct posture and do not lean in toward the machine or on the handles, according to Stair Climbers. Stair climbers not only elevate your heart rate similar to that of the other machines, but they will tone your buttocks and leg muscles. Most models have a monitor that will track your heart rate and tell you how many steps you have taken. The monitor also will allow you to adjust your speed and resistance.

Stationary Bike

Perhaps the biggest benefit from a stationary bike is that it prevents low back pain and puts little stress on the spine, according to the sports training website Jump USA. Riding on a stationary bike loosens leg muscles that might not otherwise get used and prevents them from becoming stiff. There are two different types of stationary bikes. The upright bike allows you to stand up to add more resistance to your workout, and comes in single or dual models, which can provide a more effective cardio workout, burn more calories and may be a better choice for people with hip or leg injuries, according to the website Fitness Attitudes. The recumbent bike has a reclining position that takes pressure off the back and works the abdominals and hamstring muscles. Most models come with preset programs that can calculate your heart rate and adjust the intensity as needed.

Rowing Machine

The health information website Weight Loss for All suggests that rowing machines have the greatest calorie burning potential because they work the large muscle groups of both the upper and lower body. This type of exercise is especially effective if you are new to exercise and want a low risk of injury, because it is easy on the joints. In addition, because of the greater calorie burn, you may be able to spend less time on this type of machine and burn just as many calories as you would spending a longer period of time on another type of exercise machine.

About this Author

Heather Holtschlag is a certified personal trainer specializing in women’s fitness. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She previously worked in public relations and most recently followed her passion for fitness by becoming a certified trainer.