If it’s been some time since you shopped for a treadmill or elliptical, you’ll find that while most machines look familiar, plenty has changed. The technology built into many new models can track workout history, set goals, and tailor workouts. And yes, it can keep you engaged even when you feel like you’re, well, running in place. Here, three types of tech you’ll find on new models, as well as models from Consumer Reports' tests that sport these features.

Data Tracking

Almost all new treadmills and ellipticals provide key metrics at the end of a workout: time spent exercising, distance traveled, and calories burned. But some models store that data much longer than others or upload the information to the cloud so you can track your own history.

LifeSpan Fitness offers you access to the LifeSpan Club, which allows you to create a workout calendar, track months of workout history, and even generate assessment reports as you work toward goals like losing weight or lowering your body mass index (BMI). In addition to using its website, you can access the data via an app. A $30 Bluetooth adapter will even connect many LifeSpan treadmills and ellipticals to your smartphone, automatically tracking your workout data each time you exercise.
Treadmills with this feature: LifeSpan TR4000iLifeSpan TR2000eLifeSpan 1200iLifeSpan TR200
Ellipticals with this feature: LifeSpan E2i


Looking for exericise equipment? See our full ratings and recommendations of treadmills and ellipticals and information on other exercise gear.
 

Personalization

In the past, tailoring a workout meant little more than playing with speed, incline, or resistance settings on a machine. Some spiffier models came programmed with workouts—many still do—but the newest treadmills and ellipticals offer even more personalization.

Precor uses its Preva app to track progress and set goals, like training for a 5K or half-marathon. Once you’ve selected a goal, compatible machines will use an algorithm to custom design workouts as you train for it. They’ll even track the history of personalized workouts, so if you find one that’s exceptionally engaging, you can call it back up from your history to do it over and over again.
Treadmills with this feature: Precor TRM 243

Entertainment

Once upon a time, relief from the tedium of walking or striding in place was limited to reading a magazine on a rack mounted to your treadmill or elliptical. Not anymore. Many models use WiFi (or wired connections) that allow you to browse the web, stream video, or check email right on your machine’s screen.

iFit, a subscription-based app and service, works with compatible machines (including NordicTrack and ProForm) to let you download new workouts, post updates to social media, and even use Google Maps to simulate runs in exotic places around the world. (The scenery is shown on your screen or on a connected smartphone or tablet.) You’ll pay $99 for an annual subscription to the service, but that fee also entitles you to a wearable fitness tracker, which connects to the same app as your treadmill or elliptical, and automatically updates your profile with steps taken and stairs climbed while on foot for a more complete picture of how much you’re moving each day.
Treadmills with this feature: ProForm Pro 2000, NordicTrack C1650, NordicTrack C990, ProForm Sport 7.5, ProForm Power 995i
Ellipticals with this feature: ProForm Pro 12.9,  NordicTrack SE9i, ProForm Endurance 720E, NordicTrack C9.5