According to Consumer Reports, the treadmill is great for a quick workout, and it’s also a perfect option for training for your next half marathon. A 2019 study in the International Journal of Research in Exercise Physiology compared the treadmill, step mill, rower, upright stationary bike, elliptical trainer, and five other cardio machines to see which required the most energy.
The study recruited 16 people aged 18–25 to test all 10 cardio machines. The researchers measured the heart rate and energy expenditure of all the participants while they exercised at different intensities. At varying levels of effort, the treadmill and stair stepper both surpassed the others in terms of heart rate and the amount of energy required. The AirDyne cycle, elliptical trainer, and upright stationary bikes required significantly lower amounts of calories per minute.
The study pointed out that at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes, you can burn 378 calories on a treadmill and 354 calories on a stair stepper. This study used the step mill, which is a revolving staircase that requires you to pick up your feet after each step, rather than a step machine, where your foot stays on the stepping pedals.
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