The first question you need to answer when choosing between an elliptical or treadmill is, what am I trying to get out of this machine? Am I looking to loose weight? Build Muscle? Endurance training? Etc. Knowing you primary goal can help you make the decision.
Next, test drive both of them. Decent elliptical and treadmills can often cost upwards of $1,000 and are often hard to return - even if they company has a good return policy, you may end up having to lug a gigantic box either to their brick and mortar store your your local UPS drop off site (which might be a good workout if that's what your looking for).
See which machine seems to fit more naturally with you. Do you want something that closely mimics outdoor jogging? Most hardcore joggers don't feel like an elliptical comes close to the feeling of running or sprinting. Also, it it likely that you will be able to get a higher calorie burn with a treadmill. Remember that moving your body weight requires more effort than not moving it. There's no two ways around it. Your body will burn calories at a higher rate on treadmill.
But; that's not to say that an elliptical can't compare. Many users find that elliptical are lighter on the joints. Besides for the long term health benefits, this will like to lead to longer and more effective workout sessions. However, some people find that elliptical workouts are especially hard on their knees. Every body is different so it's really important to try it before you buy it.
As always, talk to a doctor before starting any new workout program or machine.
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