The best cardio machine for runners

APR 13, 2022

Minute 1: What’s the most effective cardio machine?

If bad weather keeps a competitive rower off the water, they can simply switch to an indoor rowing machine workout. By the same logic, shouldn’t a runner just jump on a treadmill for those cold and rainy days? Thankfully for those of us who get bored quickly on a treadmill, the answer is “not necessarily.” There are benefits to incorporating a variety of cardio machines into your routine. Hitting different muscle groups, lowering impact, and promoting recovery are just a few of the perks you can expect by following the suggestions in: “What is the most effective cardio machine in the gym?” When it comes to protecting your joints, it's hard to beat the elliptical. Not only can it lower your risk of injury, but you’ll engage your arms and upper body more so than when you run. If full body engagement is your goal, the aforementioned rowing machine will take things even further than an elliptical. Rowing engages the back, forearms, triceps, and legs, which can improve your form when you transition back to running. When it comes to developing your core and glutes, the StairMaster reigns supreme. In fact, stair climbers offer that rare combination of low impact and high intensity. Read more in: “10 Stair Climber Benefits & Workouts.” If you want to dive a little deeper, check out “Cardio Machines That Improve Running (That Aren’t the Treadmill)” or this guide from Runner’s World: “7 Best Home Cardio Machines for Heart-Pumping Workouts.” #MachineLearning


Minute 2: How to take the perfect shower

For those of you who like to take long, hot showers, you may want to dial it back a bit. It’s not just to save the environment and pinch a few pennies, since the length of your shower can have a measurable effect on your skin health: “This Is the ‘Ideal’ Amount of Time to Spend in the Shower.” Most dermatologists recommend keeping your showers under 10 minutes, and that’s especially true for anyone suffering from itchy skin, eczema, or psoriasis. Longer, hotter showers can strip the skin of its natural oils. One change you can make for healthier skin is lowering your shower temperature. Look at “10 mind-blowing benefits of cold showers.” The cold temperatures can close pores on your skin, keeping unwanted pollutants out. It will also strengthen arteries and improve your skin’s ability to respond to injury. The benefits don’t just stop at skin, though. Famous cold water disciple Wim Hof says “A cold shower a day keeps the doctor away.” The cold hitting your body will raise blood flow and heart rate, causing your stress levels to drop as your body is better able to deliver nutrients and oxygen where it needs to go. #ShowerPower


Minute 3: Should a cooldown be part of your workout routine?

Most athletes understand that launching into intense exercise without warming up is like driving a car without a seatbelt: You’re asking to be injured. On the other hand, you don’t hear as much about cooldowns, which makes us wonder, are they as vital to a healthy exercise routine? Apparently we’re not the only ones asking: “Do I Really Need To Cool Down After Working Out? Experts Break Down the Myths—And the Real Benefits.” It turns out, research doesn’t indicate that cooldowns reduce our risk for injury and soreness. However, they can still be quite useful, as they provide a time to gradually reduce your heart rate and reflect on the physical challenge you’ve just completed. Cooldowns also provide opportunity to develop your mobility, which can have a major positive effect on your running. Try out “The 10-Minute Cooldown That Can Change How Runners Recover.” One technique that does have scientific evidence behind it is foam rolling. Check out “Why, When, and How to Use a Foam Roller.” The increased blood flow to your muscles provides them with more oxygen for a faster recovery, which is why you should reach for a foam roller after you finish your workout. #RoleOfRecovery


Minute 4: Take your walks up a notch

Walking may seem as easy as, well, a walk in the park, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it doesn’t carry big benefits. “No pain, no gain” makes for a good t-shirt, but a poor workout philosophy. This week we came across an article that poses a question we hadn’t consider before: “Does walking build muscle?” Walking can certainly help keep your cardio in shape, and if you’re a beginner, you may even see some muscle growth. The only way to develop your muscles over time, however, is by consistently increasing the resistance you face. In walking, that can be achieved by adding inclines and weights to your strolls. Carrying a heavy backpack up a hill or steep trail can be as good a workout as a run, and a few weeks of that will build up your calves, quads, and hamstrings. It may sound bizarre, but you can even switch up the direction you walk for some unexpected benefits. Take a look at “The Benefits of Walking Backward” to see how you could improve your balance, coordination, and stability. Along with the physical benefits, walking can provide a nice mental boost. We’ve covered how you should walk, but to see when you should walk, among other tips, check out “What is the healthiest way to walk? We ask an expert.” #WalkThisWay


Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • We mentioned recently that Dave McGillivray, race director of the Boston Marathon, will be making his 50th trip down Boylston Street on Monday. Every year after a full day on his feet managing the race, McGillivray jumps in a police cruiser to travel from the finish arena back out to the Hopkinton starting line where he begins his 26.2 mile journey down an empty course. To commemorate his 50th race, this year Dave is raising money for his new charity, the Dave McGillivray Finish Strong Foundation. As a lifelong underdog athlete and author, it’s not surprising that the charity helps kids discover a passion for physical activity, reading, and acts of kindness at a young age. We just made a small contribution, but it looks as if Dave is still a little shy of his goal. So whether you’re a Boston Marathon veteran or just someone who likes helping kids, we’d encourage you to make like an undertaker and dig deep. Link to the donation page is here.

  • Last week, we mentioned the space race among shoe manufacturers looking to incorporate new technology into their products. Now it looks as if apparel brands are also borrowing from space age R&D to make faster, lighter, and more versatile clothes than ever before: “Space Inspo: How NASA is Influencing Trail Running Gear.”

  • Have you ever thrown your 10K PR into a race pace calculator, only to receive a predicted time for a longer event that’s way faster than what you actually run? If so, you’re not alone. Part of the discrepancy is genetic, as some folks are born better at shorter distances. But some of the discrepancy can be traced to errors in training. Professional runners understand how our bodies' energy systems work, and they know how to train them effectively to overcome “the wall” endurance athletes so often hit. Dive into the science behind your aerobic engine in “WATCH: 3 ways pro athletes run faster for longer.”

  • We have been incorporating cherry juice into our diet for several months, based on the belief that it carries some “superfood” qualities. There are doubters out there, however, which prompted Outside magazine to dive into the issue recently: “Tart Cherry Juice: Recovery Drink or Snake Oil?” There are lots of details in the piece, but this quote sums it up well: “We know cherry juice works, so why aren’t more athletes using it?”

  • Some say 13 is an unlucky day of the month but if you're a New Balance fan you hit the jackpot today. For the next 24 hours (sale ends 11:59 April 13th) New Balance is running a flash sale and taking 40% off their best summer apparel items. Must use code 24HOURS at checkout to save.


Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

We hope you haven’t tired of us throwing down the gauntlet for the latest viral fitness challenges. If you’re willing to risk a bit of embarrassment, it can be a lot of fun to see where you stand against other athletes in some offbeat maneuvers. The latest one we’ve seen challenges you to grab a workout bar, loop it between your arms and back, and lie on your stomach with your arms pinned behind you. Then, see if you can work your way up to your feet without dropping the bar or using your hands. It’s harder than it sounds, although the guy in the video below makes it look pretty easy.