Elliptical Vs StairMaster: Which One Is Better For You?

Cardio is an important part of any exercise routine. There are many cardio machines to choose from at the gym and many people are confused about which is best for them. Two popular machines are the elliptical machine and the StairMaster. Both offer unique health benefits. The elliptical machine allows you to perform a walking or running motion with minimal pressure on your joints. It is ideal for people with injuries or joint pain (via MyFitnessPal).

"Because they're non-weight bearing, ellipticals offer the lowest impact option compared to treadmills and StairMasters," said NSCA-certified personal trainer and nutritional counselor John Fawkes. "The machine's low-impact, continual gliding motion is the gentlest of them all, making it fantastic for folks recovering from knee or hip injuries." While the elliptical machine is great for people with joint problems or pain, it is difficult to get a strenuous workout on this trainer. It is also healthy to put some stress on your muscles and bones if you aren't injured. If you only use the elliptical for your cardio, you put yourself at risk of decreasing your bone density.

The StairMaster is a great way to burn calories

The StairMaster is similar to the elliptical in many ways, but it has some key differences. This stationary machine has a set of steps that rotate slowly to mimic walking up a never-ending flight of stairs. It's a great way to burn a lot of calories in a short period of time and work your lower body muscles. "The StairMaster is a great alternative to walking on the treadmill if you're looking to lose weight," Rachel Southard, Director of Personal Training Operations for Anytime Fitness, told NBC News. "When you compare low-intensity treadmill exercises, such as walking, to the same intensity of walking on the StairMaster, you burn much more calories on the StairMaster."

So which machine is better? The answer will depend on your current fitness level, health conditions, and workout goals. If you are injury-free and want to burn a lot of calories in a short period of time, the StairMaster will be the best machine for you. However, if you have joint problems or are nursing a lower-body injury, you'll probably want to stick to the elliptical.