I define cardio machine addiction as performing the same routine on typical cardio machines (treamills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes) on a regular basis without achieving any results.
Back when I belonged to a gym, I was extremely excited to have all of the equipment available for my use. However, after a few weeks, I started to realize that I was only utilizing the cardio machines. In my mind, I figured exercise was exercise and I didn't need to lift weights or try anything different. So every day, I got on a treadmill, ran for 20 - 30 minutes and left. Every now and then I'd switch up and use an elliptical or stationary bike, but I never strayed from the cardio machines.
In the end, I didn't have much to show in terms of results after all my many months of going to the gym. Maybe you find yourself in the same situation. You may feel that you are doing enough because you go to the gym and use a couple of the cardio machines. Chances are you, may not be seeing results either.
Cardio Equipment Is Useful
Even if you don't go to the gym to use a treadmill or elliptical, you may have one in your home collecting dust. That is often the case when people decide to start exercising again but lose motivation after several weeks. I still believe that any form of exercise is better than none at all, but you are doing yourself a disservice by not changing up your workouts every few weeks.
Our bodies can adapt to the same workout and over time, there is no reason for change. We no longer challenge our bodies with the same, boring, workout routine. Imagine you have used a treadmill for months, doing the same workout of either running or walking - at the same pace and same incline every time. You are probably not burning more calories than you take in and your heart rate is probably not increasing very much either.
A Better Use of Cardio Machines
You probably have noticed that some machines have various settings that will change your routine for you. For example, on stationary bikes, their are settings that will increase and decrease the level of difficulty as you pedal. Make use of these settings and challenge yourself.
Another option for treadmills is to walk at a moderate pace, then up the speed and run for as fast as you can for about 20 - 30 seconds. Drop the pace back down and walk for about 1 - 2 minutes and repeat for as long as you can. You can perform this same routine on an elliptical machine as well.
You will notice that your heart rate will increase, you will definitely sweat more, and you will feel challenged. Any form of exercise is beneficial but pushing yourself is often where the results come from. Also keep in mind that adding in strength training can help build lean muscle.