Tired of Using the Same Cardio Machines at the Gym? Mix It Up!

several people on elliptical machines at a Planet Fitness
Switch up your cardio routine to keep things interesting and fun at the gym.

by Steven Auger

As the adage goes, variety is the spice of life. That applies to the gym, too!

People have all sorts of favorite exercise routines. Some folks just love cardio, but even the most ardent of cardio devotees can watch their interest wane if they never mix it up. If you're a cardio-junkie that tends to stick to one machine, maybe it's time for a change of pace. Here are five cardio machines at the gym you can try.

1. Treadmill

The main staple of any gym's cardio section is the treadmill. Whether you walk or run, treadmills allow for year-round use. Inclement weather, daylight and high-traffic roads are non-issues when you're looking to log miles on one of these machines.

The National Education Association offers a few ideas for adding some variety to treadmill workouts and keeping things interesting. You can mimic the challenge of running (or walking) outside by slightly bumping up the elevation or by periodically increasing your speed by 0.1 to 0.3 miles per hour. Use the incline function to mirror steep hills. While taxing, running uphill can help you seriously improve your fitness level.

2. Elliptical Machine

Rivaling the treadmill in popularity is the elliptical machine. Use it to simulate walking, running or hill climbing without taxing your joints the way a treadmill can.

Ellipticals have many benefits. First, it's a full-body workout, as both the upper and lower body come into play. The machine is also known to improve balance and mobility, and it's often recommended for people recovering from certain injuries, as noted in the Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy.

3. Rowing

You don't have to be in a boat to reap the benefits of rowing. Using the rowing machine at the gym provides a great warm-up, as it gets the blood flowing and loosens you up for the main portion of your workout — but it is also a great finisher, allowing you to close out a difficult workout with one last challenge, Men's Health reports.

For cardio lovers, rowing is a perfect complement to running or biking, as it doesn't put the same stress on your joints. For runners, rowing can also make you more explosive if you incorporate sprints into your routine.

4. Stair Climber

Designed to mimic a mini-escalator with handrails and revolving stairs, a stair climber helps strengthen your lower body and your core while blasting calories. The main focus of the machine is to climb a never-ending flight of stairs, but there are different drills you can do to break the monotony.

As explained by SELF Magazine, climbing one stair at a time works the front of your legs and climbing two steps at a time works the back of your legs. Try alternating sets between one and two steps while increasing the level as you go.

5. Stationary Bike

A stationary bike is similar to a treadmill in that its indoor usage negates concerns related to weather issues, time of day and traffic. Additionally, its health benefits are just as plentiful, according to Spinning.com. Indoor cycling is another low-impact calorie-torcher that improves heart health with each pedal stroke.

With this machine, you can build muscle definition, strengthen your core and improve your mental focus. Ride at your own pace by controlling the resistance and speed at which you pedal.

If you've been bored with your current workout routine, try mixing it up with some of the other cardio machines at the gym for something new, fun and exciting!

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.