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Elliptical Machine or Treadmill: Which Burns More Calories

Elliptical vs Treadmill- which is the better one

Health and Fitness experts recommend everyone to do cardio exercises at least 3 to 4 days a week to lose weight and remain healthy. Treadmills and elliptical machines are two of the most popular workout equipment to achieve your desired fitness goals. Now, which one is better in terms of weight loss? That’s definitely a tricky question to answer. On average, a 150-pound person can burn 668.2 calories by running one hour on a treadmill. That same person will burn approximately 340.9 calories using an elliptical for one hour at a medium level (source). However, that doesn’t mean that a treadmill is better for the weight loss objective. It also has some weaknesses for which it is sometimes referred to as “the dreadmill”.

In this article, we have tried our best to the clear confusion regarding these two machines. Hopefully, all your queries will be answered after reading this.

Treadmill and Elliptical

Benefits of Treadmill

  • Easy to use:

    The treadmill is extremely easy to use exercise tool. It requires almost no effort to operate and easily keeps our body in shape.

  • Multipurpose:

    There are versatile uses of a treadmill. Whether you want to walk at a slow or fast pace, jog or sprint, a treadmill always comes in handy.

  • Best calorie burner:

    If your prime concern is burning calories and losing weight, using a treadmill can be your best bet. Treadmills help to lose weight pretty quickly. Running on a treadmill at 8 mph speed for 8 minutes can easily burn about 200-300 calories from your body. Some research shows that running on treadmills burns more calories compared to running on ellipticals or cycling.

  • Elevates mental health:

    As you might know by now, exercising is not only necessary for improving physical health, it also boosts mental health. An hour of treadmill running will cause your brain to release all those happy hormones (endorphins) and make you happier. It will also boost your brain functions in no time. Effects of depression, mental anxiety, and PMS (post menstrual syndrome) can be curbed to some extent by using a treadmill.

Workout on Treadmill

  • Feels natural:

    Workout on a treadmill mimics regular activities like walking or running outdoors, so your body can be adapted to this exercise form quickly. Your body will be saved from the discomfort of adopting a completely new exercise form.

  • Your cardiac friend:

    A treadmill can become your heart’s best friend. Running or brisk walking on a treadmill regularly helps strengthen your heart and improves blood circulation. A treadmill will also help reduce your bad cholesterol levels and prevent any blockage in arteries, thus reducing the risks of stroke and heart attack. Overall, your cardiovascular health will surely improve.

  • Reliable Progress Tracker:

    Treadmills are a great option for your regular exercise because they are extremely easy to use. Because of the incorporation of advanced hi-tech features, the new models can track your workout time, distance, and pace. So, you can easily track your workout progress. Also, the entire process is accountable, so you can easily rely on it.

  • Ideal for race training:

    Running on a treadmill is less impactful compared to running on pavement. This accounts for lesser stress on your joints, which makes it a great option for race training. A treadmill enables you to focus on your running form, so you can easily transform your running form in outdoor trails or pavements.

  • Strengthens your legs:

    While running on a treadmill, you have got to balance on your alternate legs. So both your legs will have to bear the overall weight of your body alternatively. Also, a treadmill workout works on specific muscles on your quads, glutes, calves, and core, especially if you run on various inclines. Overall your legs will be strong in no time.

Usage of Treadmill

If you prefer running for maintaining fitness, running on a treadmill 3-4 days a week regularly can become your greatest fitness mantra. In no time you will become strong and lean. An extra advantage will be an increased level of stamina. Also, using a treadmill is recommended if you are in for race training. A treadmill will offer more challenges in your training by providing variations in pace and incline.

Benefits of Elliptical

  • Ideal for people with injuries:

    Elliptical workouts have a lesser impact and are easy on your back, knees, and joints compared to treadmill workouts. Your joints are saved from the strenuous impact of a highly intense workout session, while your heart and lower body are benefitted at the same time. So, there are fewer risks of injury, and also it is ideal for people with arthritis.

  • Ideal for beginners’ workout:

    If you are a beginner or have had a workout hiatus recently, you might want to avoid overdoing your workout. An intense workout on a treadmill may put you at risk of soreness and injury. Your body will need time to be adjusted with the workout. Elliptical can ease you into exercise without the risk of stress on your body.

  • Best for full-body workouts:

    Elliptical workouts work on the upper body as well due to pushing and pulling the handlebars. It is equipped with cross-training ability, so works on both the upper and lower body. At the same time, the core is engaged to maintain the body’s balance. Changing the pedaling motion or adjusting inclines or strides can work on different muscle groups and provide a decent full-body workout.

➥ Provided that your goal is to attain a complete body workout, then have a look at the elliptical trainer and exercise bike combo lineup.

  • More cost-effective:

    While taking any decision, money is definitely a concern. If you prefer to spend a lower portion of your budget on your fitness, you can go for an elliptical. Ellipticals come in a lower price range compared to treadmills, so they can be your best cost-effective workout option.

Workout on Elliptical

➥ Here, you’ll get to know more about the advantages of using a cross-trainer, in general.

Usage of Elliptical

If you are an avid fitness freak and are suffering from overexertion or injuries, the weight-bearing effect of running can worsen your condition. In this scenario, elliptical can be your perfect workout option. It will give you a break from your strenuous exercise routine and save your joints from the impact while keeping you active. Also if you are a beginner, or prefer a low impactful workout for burning calories, you can incorporate an elliptical in your home gym.

Difference between Ellipticals & Treadmills

Ellipticals and treadmills are two of the most common machines for performing cardio exercise. Though these two machines help you to reap cardiovascular benefits, they differ in their results and workout forms. Taking a glance at their differences may help you decide which one to buy.

You can walk or run in a moving belt by regulating your pace and incline.Elliptical allows you to move in an elliptical path while keeping your feet on the platform.
High Impact workout machineLow Impact workout machine
Workout forms include walking at a brisk pace, running or jogging.Workout forms include rhythmic striding, stair stepping, and forward and backward motions.
Strengthens the leg muscles,

Ideal option for losing more weight in less period of time,

Offers versatility in workout routine

Works on abs and core muscles

Mimics real life movements
Easy on your joints,

Helps in maintaining fitness after injury

Suitable for preventing overexertion.

Provides upper and lower body workout.

Doesn’t mimic real life movements
Suitable for more advanced level fitness enthusiastsSuitable for beginners or those who returned from a workout hiatus
May cause injuries

Targets fewer groups of muscles

May affect the body posture.
Less dynamic

Lacks the weight bearing effect which is essential for strengthening bones.

Less opportunity for muscle development.

For weight loss ellipticals vs. treadmills

The question naturally arises, which one is better for weight loss – Ellipticals or Treadmills? Losing weight depends on the number of calories burned, but that is not the only concern. Your body type, present weight, workout efficiency, and intensity are also related factors here. If you are a beginner in the fitness arena, you’ll lose more weight whether you exercise on the elliptical or treadmill compared to a person at an advanced workout level.

The Medical College of Wisconsin conducted a study to assess the calorie burning and weight loss effects of the treadmill. The results depicted that on average, 705 to 866 calories were burned by jogging for an hour on the treadmill. On the other hand, a similar study conducted by Health Status for elliptical discovered that approximately 773 calories were burned by an hour-long workout on the elliptical. These researches show that the treadmill surpasses the elliptical in weight-loss effectiveness by a very slight amount. Ellipticals are an excellent choice for beginners who want to lose a significant amount of weight.

The beginners can easily adjust themselves to the resistance levels according to their physique and stamina avoiding excess stress and exertion. Exercising on a treadmill can burn a large number of calories, but it depends mainly on your speed and workout duration. If you are a seasoned exerciser, a treadmill will offer you more calorie scorching. Considering all these facts, we can verdict both ellipticals and treadmills as commendable choices for weight loss. Make your decision according to your physique, stamina, and fitness levels, and goals. The best option would be to incorporate both the machines in your home gym. In this way, you will be saved from the boredom of routine workouts and injuries.

➥ To know more, you can go through the line-up of ellipticals you can use for losing weight.

Features of Ellipticals

The movement forms incorporated in elliptical are rhythmic striding and stair-stepping. Poles are included in some trainers which you can hold and move in forward and reverse motions during a workout. This particular feature works on the upper and lower body and scorches more calories.
The calorie-scorching capacity of any elliptical exercise depends on some features like the ramp height setting, levels of resistance, and stride speed. The elliptical trainer provides a low-impact workout to your whole body without giving pressure on your joints or back.

➥ For more insight, you can have a look at the type & features of ellipticals.

Features of Treadmills

A treadmill is a piece of more versatile workout equipment. It offers dynamic workout options like brisk walking, jogging, or running indoors. Its speed range may vary by model and brand. Less expensive models have speeds ranging from 8 to 10 mph, while moderately priced ones have a maximum speed of 12 mph. A few more expensive models may have a maximum speed of 15 mph. To increase the difficulty of the workout, treadmills also have another intensity setting called the incline ramp. Typically the incline range may differ from 0-10 or 10-15 percent depending on the brand or model of the treadmill. A higher incline ramp will make it more difficult for you to run at a given speed. Some other features which you may consider are the robustness and length of the running surface.

F. A. Q.s

Q1. Is an elliptical better than a treadmill?

Ans.: Both elliptical machines and treadmills can give you a proper aerobic workout. Before deciding if you will buy a treadmill, an elliptical, or some other workout machine, judge your body type, stamina, fitness level, and personal choices.
Some extra benefits might be offered by an elliptical over treadmills, such as

  1. Elliptical machines offer the opportunity of aerobic workouts of less intensity. So, arthritic patients can use these for their fitness purpose instead of treadmills.
  2. Elliptical workouts are less pressurizing compared to treadmill workouts. Consequently, they will exert less stress on your joints.
  3. Some elliptical trainers are equipped with mobile handlebars. Using these you can perform hand exercises as well. This feature is absent in treadmills.
  4. The reverse pedaling feature on elliptical trainers is effective for toning the calf and hamstring muscles.
    What if you are preparing for a marathon? A treadmill will probably be better for you for race training. But even then, if you cross-train with an elliptical trainer, it will increase your flexibility and keep stress fractures at bay.

Q2. Do you really burn that many calories on the elliptical?

Ans.: When utilized efficiently ellipticals can provide intense workouts and burn down calories to shred your extra pounds. To burn more calories on the elliptical, try these tips and tricks.

  1. Skip the manual routine and try new challenging workout programs
  2. Vary your workout motion, change from forward to reverse from time to time, and change your pace from slower to faster. Try to change the stride lengths throughout workout sessions for added variation.
  3. Ensure that your heart rate remains in the range of 75-85% of your maximum heart rate throughout the whole session.
  4. Observe your regular form and consider increasing your resistance level and speed for short periods.
  5. Utilize the handlebars for working out on the upper body.
  6. Listen to upbeat music to increase your activity level.

➥ If you’ve set your sights on shedding some pounds, then, have a look at the elliptical resistance levels for effective weight loss.

Q3. How long does it take to burn 500 calories on an elliptical?

Ans.: Figure out how many calories you will burn through an elliptical workout in 30 minutes. Depending on your weight, age, and metabolism the number may vary. So, you may use the built-in calorie calculator in the elliptical.


In the end, it depends on your body and your goals. The treadmill workout is similar to the natural movement of running or walking outdoors, which makes it a better choice for race training. Again elliptical is better for those who want to improve cardiovascular health with minimal impact. It is also a safer option for people with arthritic or chronic joint pains. As for weight loss, it’s best to choose a workout option that you will actually enjoy. Let your personal choices and fitness goals determine which is best for you.

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Dion Lewis
My name is Dion Lewis.

I’ve been cycling from my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions.

At my college life, I took a part time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally.

Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or a bike gear.

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