The answer is yes! Okay, I’ll explain.

Every opportunity for cardio exercise is good for you, whether it’s walking, jogging, stair climbing, swimming, hiking, etc. But, here on the cusp of spring, we still have many inclimate weather days that don’t quite lend themselves to a lot of outdoor activity. That turns our attention to exercise that can be performed indoors, namely the use of treadmills, ellipticals and stationery bikes.

So, which of these machines is best? Again, I say, ANY option is better than no exercise at all. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests three to five days a week of cardiovascular exercise, assuming the duration is at least 30 minutes to one hour each day.

First of all, any movement that has you standing is a more efficient exercise because you are loading your body’s weight on muscle and bones, thereby breaking down and strengthening. With more muscle recruitment, comes higher intensity of work and greater adaptation for endurance. Understanding that, treadmills and ellipticals take precedent over stationery bikes.

Treadmills are still difficult to upend as the number one because they not only load the weight of the body with each movement, but they also produce impact with every step. That said, the impact factor can be a bad thing for people with existing joint issues. For a less shock effect, the elliptical is a nice option for exercising and still loading the body’s weight. Although the elliptical may not be quite as efficient as the treadmill, it provides a safer option (for joints) and a more effective workout than a stationery bike. Also, the elliptical offers options like forward or reverse and hands-free that help to keep the workout interesting.

I don’t want to dismiss the bike option, though. For many, exercising for a long duration may require a means by which they expend less energy. The bike certainly offers that, as well as joint safety and affords the ability to read to pass the time. And, there’s always the option to alternate cardio equipment if you’re in an environment where you have more than one choice.

Now that you know the ins and outs of your indoor cardio choices, aim for hitting one of those three to five days this week. You’ll see increases in your endurance and decreases in your body fat. Combining this with a resistance training program is a sure way to get in your best possible physical shape. 

Jeff Howerton is a trainer and owner of LEAN personal training, where he and his trainers work with clients to lose fat, develop lean muscle and implement strategies for healthier living. LEAN (615) 279-1900 or

New personal trainer at LEAN offers complimentary session

Adrian Pentecost, Australian Certified Personal Trainer from Sydney, Australia, is new to Nashville and to LEAN Personal Training. He is interested in helping new clients improve their fitness and wellbeing and specializes in areas such as: core strength, flexibility, weight loss, toning, sports conditioning, lower back problems and other injury related rehabilitation.

Pentecost has traveled extensively and trained in Australia, England and the United States throughout the past six years. He would like to use this experience to help modify your lifestyle and improve your overall wellbeing. As a result, he is offering a complimentary personal training session, so give him a call at (615) 279-1900 to schedule your free session.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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