Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

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Barkingsparrow
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Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Barkingsparrow »

I've suffered from back issues on and off through the years and my PT blames my usage of treadmills as a root cause, and strongly recommends that I power walk outside instead - but we did not discuss any alternative for the winter months. I know some fitness trainers who never use treadmills either, for the same reason. What are good alternative cardio options for the winter months that others may utilize? I've only use a treadmill for years and would like to hear from those who use other machines.
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Brianmcg321
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Brianmcg321 »

I like recumbent exercise bikes. I use regular bikes outside.
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runner3081
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by runner3081 »

Octane fitness zero runner or something like a Precor AMT Open stride.
livesoft
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by livesoft »

Power walk outside in winter? I don't have any problems backpacking in winter. You might want some decent clothes and perhaps snowshoes, but those cost a fraction of a treadmill. I prefer cross-country skiing though.
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texascrane
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by texascrane »

Concept2 indoor rowing machine

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ResearchMed
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by ResearchMed »

Barkingsparrow wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:58 am I've suffered from back issues on and off through the years and my PT blames my usage of treadmills as a root cause, and strongly recommends that I power walk outside instead - but we did not discuss any alternative for the winter months. I know some fitness trainers who never use treadmills either, for the same reason. What are good alternative cardio options for the winter months that others may utilize? I've only use a treadmill for years and would like to hear from those who use other machines.
You might ask for suggestions, as the PT may have some idea about just what it is about the treadmill specifically, etc.

Other ideas: Elliptical (less pounding/impact), any sort of bike (recumbent or not, but the design/angle might be important for back issues).

What is it that is "okay" about power walking but not "treadmill" - ask the PT.

Good luck.

RM
Last edited by ResearchMed on Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Doodadooh
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Doodadooh »

If you can spend more time standing than sitting then you probably don't need anything else.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by lightheir »

Bikes are a good alternative, mainly because they are mainstream and have very good indoor AND outdoor options. (Outdoor road and mtn biking is a blast - wayyy more fun than running imo!)

If you go elliptical keep in mind that your fitness gained there will be so elliptical-specific that it won't translate well to nearly anything else. Good runners (not elite) find it a very poor substitute for maintaining running form in the absence of run volume, but it's better than nothing.

If you still want to 'run' but have joint/back issues, pool running is a great substitute (if you can get pool time nowadays...) for cardio and even the muscular endurance, and you can run a lot less road miles and sub in pool running for many of them to reduce impact.

If you just want to get your HR up and don't care how you do it, almost any 'cardio' activity works - pick one that you find fun and convenient. This includes zumba classes, hiking, aerobics classes,etc.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Swansea »

Folks around here used to walk in the malls during the winter months.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Blue456 »

Barkingsparrow wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:58 am I've suffered from back issues on and off through the years and my PT blames my usage of treadmills as a root cause, and strongly recommends that I power walk outside instead - but we did not discuss any alternative for the winter months. I know some fitness trainers who never use treadmills either, for the same reason. What are good alternative cardio options for the winter months that others may utilize? I've only use a treadmill for years and would like to hear from those who use other machines.
HIIT (high intensity interval training). Look it up on YouTube. There is also swimming.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by CanaBogle24 »

I’m a big proponent of rowing machines. Good full body workout that lets you get your heart rate up and even squeeze a pretty intense workout into ~10 minutes if you want to!
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Barkingsparrow
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Barkingsparrow »

ResearchMed wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:16 pm
Barkingsparrow wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:58 am I've suffered from back issues on and off through the years and my PT blames my usage of treadmills as a root cause, and strongly recommends that I power walk outside instead - but we did not discuss any alternative for the winter months. I know some fitness trainers who never use treadmills either, for the same reason. What are good alternative cardio options for the winter months that others may utilize? I've only use a treadmill for years and would like to hear from those who use other machines.
You might ask for suggestions, as the PT may have some idea about just what it is about the treadmill specifically, etc.

Other ideas: Elyptical (less pounding/impact), any sort of bike (recumbent or not, but the design/angle might be important for back issues).

What is it that is "okay" about power walking but not "treadmill" - ask the PT.

Good luck.

RM
It's more likely related to my specific physical makeup and age rather than the treadmill per se. I should have stated that the advice was specific to me. My posture is fine when I power walk but on a treadmill I have trouble maintaining that posture and over time, my back starts to get sore. And I do diligently work on my core, stretches, yoga poses for the back, but it just seems I'm one of those that constantly fight keeping the back healthy.
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Barkingsparrow
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Barkingsparrow »

Swansea wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:49 pm Folks around here used to walk in the malls during the winter months.
I've actually done that in the past. The local mall has a track marked out with distance, etc.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by jibantik »

texascrane wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:16 pm https://www.concept2.com/indoor-rowers
+1. Unbeatable all-around, single-machine workout.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by RJC »

Peloton. It has been a game-changer for us.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by ScubaHogg »

Rower.

Spin class.

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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by SmileyFace »

How is walking outside better for your back than walking inside on a Treadmill? Seems to be the same experience to me unless your treadmill belt is too short for your stride (which can be solved by getting a treadmill with a longer belt) - but I could be wrong / missing something.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by cnblure »

Jump rope.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by bloom2708 »

A spinning bike is compact and gives you a great workout.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Mr.Chlorine »

I grew up a swimmer (hence the name). Currently use a rower or stair master but both might be too strenuous on your back.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by MDfan »

RJC wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 1:19 pm Peloton. It has been a game-changer for us.
We had a Peloton and I really liked it for the first year. Then I started having pretty constant back pain and my doctor told me that he's had other people who did spin classes alot with the same type of back issues. Something about it being hard to maintain the correct posture and it adds up over time. Anyway, we sold the Peloton (recouped almost 90% of price) and I started walking 4-5 days a week. The back pain is gone. I might actually look into one of the treads like the Nordic Track for power walking in the winter. I know others who absolutely swear by their Pelotons but it just wasn't for me.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Hockey10 »

I have found that walking outside in the winter on cold days is very relaxing. The best scenario is when there is a small amount of snow on the ground and I go hiking in the woods at a nearby park. Bundle up, go outside, and get some fresh air.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by RobLyons »

I'm surprised no one has mentioned elliptical machines. Super low impact, fully adjustable resistance and height, can get a light or very strenuous workout, can be used by anyone. I also have back issues so I feel your pain!

https://www.soletreadmills.com/elliptic ... roQAvD_BwE
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by dcdowden »

I have back problems as well, and I find a recumbent bike to be a very comfortable way to do cardio exercise indoors. I am in my later 60's.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Doom&Gloom »

Brianmcg321 wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:59 am I like recumbent exercise bikes. I use regular bikes outside.
+2 to recumbent exercise bike

Works great for my back issues.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by General Disarray »

It may not be the treadmill that is causing your back issues, but your running form, sneakers, underlying issues, or something else. For me, I notice that my back tends to hurt more if I run on a decline (downhill).

Instead of giving up the treadmill, can't you just throw in some yoga and other stretches? I have some back issues, and doing extended child's poses (at least 10) helps. There are other back exercises that can help. Ask your physical therapist. About 4 years ago, I had some serious back pain, and my physical therapist prescribed a bunch of back exercises. They helped tremendously. I do the exercises during the occasional flare-up of back pain.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Ramjet »

Alternative cardio: jumping rope, body weight circuit, battle ropes, stationary bike, rowing machine, swimming at local fitness center, pilates class, walking with weighted vest
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by JAZZISCOOL »

"my PT blames my usage of treadmills as a root cause"

Interesting. I have never heard that treadmills cause back issues. I'm curious as to the reason?

Obviously walking on the ground is more natural in terms of how humans evolved vs. a TM. Plus walking outside is more interesting IMO.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by wfrobinette »

jibantik wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 1:09 pm
texascrane wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:16 pm https://www.concept2.com/indoor-rowers
+1. Unbeatable all-around, single-machine workout.
I just got on the 2 month or so waitlist.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by retire14 »

Do you have access to a gym or you will be buying the equipment yourself?

You need to try different equipment to find what will work for you. All the low impact machines : rowing, stationary bike, elliptical will work. But for me, I enjoy stairmaster the best as I can work up my HR quickly. But that machine is not popular at my gym as others.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by rgs92 »

Ellipticals are good. I never had any strains with them.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by epicahab »

Gotta be swimming, right? Works every muscle in the body, low impact.
That assumes you have a gym or a YMCA you can safely use.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Blake7 »

+1 for rowing machines.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by MarkerFM »

Another vote for elliptical and recumbent bike. We have both in our home gym in our summer home. Octane makes nice home ellipticals that don't need a lot of headroom. I've also used their derivative machines (lateral ellipticals, etc.) at our club and I'm not a fan. Have not used their recumbent ellipticals-they look interesting. I have back issues if I'm not careful, and rowing machines are not good for that.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by epicahab »

The older one gets, one has to protect their body and nervous system by engaging in low impact exercise. That includes NOT over stretching. So many people stretch like a maniac and that simply weakens their muscles and nerves before they even start working out.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Barkingsparrow »

JAZZISCOOL wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 3:02 pm "my PT blames my usage of treadmills as a root cause"

Interesting. I have never heard that treadmills cause back issues. I'm curious as to the reason?

Obviously walking on the ground is more natural in terms of how humans evolved vs. a TM. Plus walking outside is more interesting IMO.
Primarily posture. I have a hard time maintaining a correct posture on a treadmill, especially with incline. As you say, a TM is not natural. I find it boring to get on a treadmill unless I do intervals - varying the speed and incline. Maybe it's the slight bounce/compression on my joints from the TM, or I just have a weaker back then some and cannot maintain posture.

I don't have that issue walking outside on a natural surface. And I've hiked multi-day trips with a backpack w/o no issues whatsoever. Sometimes I get off a TM and my back feels slightly stiff.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Barkingsparrow »

epicahab wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 4:09 pm The older one gets, one has to protect their body and nervous system by engaging in low impact exercise. That includes NOT over stretching. So many people stretch like a maniac and that simply weakens their muscles and nerves before they even start working out.
I don't think a treadmill is low impact. And I have a specific program from the PT for stretching with limits so as not to overdo it. He's got me off weights for the most part and onto rubber bands for strength. Or has me been doing a lot less weight and more reps. Anything to avoid stressing/straining muscles.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by livesoft »

Running at 170+ steps per minute, not over striding, and not plodding on one's heels is not really high impact I would think.

I don't know your age, weight, shoes, etc, but running technique could play a role in what's going on with the treadmill.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by z91 »

I've got a Peloton. Running is probably the "best" thing cardio-wise but it does take a bit of a toll on your body. Same with biking if you can't get it setup correctly. It's worth getting a professional to checkout how you're sitting on the bike to make sure you're comfortable and sitting in an optimal position.

Otherwise check out the "kettlebell swing" workout. It really pumps your heart, and it doesn't take very long. Great for building muscle as well.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Independent George »

If you're having back problems, you might consider adding some strength training to your cardio - specifically, squats, deadlifts, and other posterior chain exercises. Start at low weight (or body-weight only), and gradually build up strength to help your back.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Beehave »

Barkingsparrow wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 1:06 pm
ResearchMed wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:16 pm
Barkingsparrow wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:58 am I've suffered from back issues on and off through the years and my PT blames my usage of treadmills as a root cause, and strongly recommends that I power walk outside instead - but we did not discuss any alternative for the winter months. I know some fitness trainers who never use treadmills either, for the same reason. What are good alternative cardio options for the winter months that others may utilize? I've only use a treadmill for years and would like to hear from those who use other machines.
You might ask for suggestions, as the PT may have some idea about just what it is about the treadmill specifically, etc.

Other ideas: Elyptical (less pounding/impact), any sort of bike (recumbent or not, but the design/angle might be important for back issues).

What is it that is "okay" about power walking but not "treadmill" - ask the PT.

Good luck.

RM
It's more likely related to my specific physical makeup and age rather than the treadmill per se. I should have stated that the advice was specific to me. My posture is fine when I power walk but on a treadmill I have trouble maintaining that posture and over time, my back starts to get sore. And I do diligently work on my core, stretches, yoga poses for the back, but it just seems I'm one of those that constantly fight keeping the back healthy.
Two questions / suggestions:

(1) Have you tried various inclines on the treadmill? I find it comfortable to use a 2.5% incline. Different inclines result in emphasis on different muscles and also affect your stance or posture.

(2) You mention stretches and yoga poses for your back. There are specific strengthening exercises that I have found extremely helpful. I walk outdoors now (changed over when Covid closed my gym), but used treadmill for years after bad disc problems with no pain which I attribute to dedicated effort to strengthen the rear, front, and sides of my core in addition to other stretches and poses.

Obviously, everyone is different, so I hope this is helpful.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Cruise »

Have good knees and stairs in your house? That is a really good workout.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by JAZZISCOOL »

Barkingsparrow wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 4:15 pm
JAZZISCOOL wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 3:02 pm "my PT blames my usage of treadmills as a root cause"

Interesting. I have never heard that treadmills cause back issues. I'm curious as to the reason?

Obviously walking on the ground is more natural in terms of how humans evolved vs. a TM. Plus walking outside is more interesting IMO.
Primarily posture. I have a hard time maintaining a correct posture on a treadmill, especially with incline. As you say, a TM is not natural. I find it boring to get on a treadmill unless I do intervals - varying the speed and incline. Maybe it's the slight bounce/compression on my joints from the TM, or I just have a weaker back then some and cannot maintain posture.

I don't have that issue walking outside on a natural surface. And I've hiked multi-day trips with a backpack w/o no issues whatsoever. Sometimes I get off a TM and my back feels slightly stiff.
Interesting, thanks.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Ramjet »

Barkingsparrow wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 4:19 pm
epicahab wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 4:09 pm The older one gets, one has to protect their body and nervous system by engaging in low impact exercise. That includes NOT over stretching. So many people stretch like a maniac and that simply weakens their muscles and nerves before they even start working out.
I don't think a treadmill is low impact
Compared to what? It's certainly lower impact than running on concrete
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Ramjet »

Independent George wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 4:56 pm If you're having back problems, you might consider adding some strength training to your cardio - specifically, squats, deadlifts, and other posterior chain exercises. Start at low weight (or body-weight only), and gradually build up strength to help your back.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by RudyS »

How tall are you? Do you hold onto the tredmill as you run/walk? Do you bend over a bit on the treadmill? I'm 6'3" and find I cannot use the provided cross bar or side rails and still stand erect. If you have to hold onto something, use the top of the control console.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by VeganBH »

I'm an avid runner/biker - and know my way around a treadmill. But the funnest cardio DH and I discovered about two years ago is the ElliptiGo long-stride "bike" - it's similar to the elliptical machine you may be familiar with at the gym (which I never really enjoyed) - but SO much more fun - and a great workout.

It's low impact, easy on the joints (and back - unlike regular bikes for us) - and a great workout. Best thing: you can ride it outside (just like a road bike) - or buy an indoor trainer for it and ride in doors. If you're lucky, someone near you might be selling used, and you can try it out. Otherwise, you can only buy through the company ElliptiGO dot com. I have no ties to the company - just a fan. :D
Good luck finding something that works for you!
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Sandtrap »

Also spine issues.
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by catdoctor »

RJC wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 1:19 pm Peloton. It has been a game-changer for us.
+1
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Re: Cardio alternatives to treadmills?

Post by Chuck107 »

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