Elliptical Pros and Cons, is it the Way to Go? - FitStyleLife

Elliptical Pros and Cons, is it the Way to Go?

For people with nagging injuries or those who can’t easily put pressure on their feet without being in pain, the elliptical might be a great option for burning calories and losing weight. That said, it’s still not the exact same thing as running. How does it differ? What are its benefits? Negatives?

Lack of Weight Bearing

This is a good thing for those who can’t physically handle putting weight on their feet, but it also keeps them from strengthening their bones in the same manner as running. Weight-bearing exercises are especially important for older individuals as a means of preventing osteoporosis.

Going Backwards

Achieving a reverse stride is good for activating different muscle groups. It also places a greater emphasis on your quads. Running doesn’t quite work like this. You can’t run backwards for long.


I believe it was back in the 80’s when we’d see fitness people first start incorporating hand weights into their running routine. Nowadays, many elliptical machines incorporate pole extensions for upper body strengthening. You multi-task everyday at work, so why not multi-task during your workout?

Dynamic Capability

With a treadmill, dynamic is the name of the game. You can easily adjust speed and incline to simulate a light jog through the hills or a massive trek through the mountains. Ellipticals may have an incline feature but it’s typically not as good as it is on a treadmill.


Given the lack of variability with ellipticals, it’s safe to say they favor a more consistent exercise. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. Some people prefer their workouts to be consistent over strenuous. You can still achieve adequate fitness or weight loss goals this way, if you’re committed to a schedule.

Calorie Burn

What is the average calorie burn for an hour on the treadmill? Usually between 705 and 866. Comparatively, using an elliptical trainer for an hour will burn around 773 calories. Again, the elliptical is all about consistency, whereas the treadmill leaves room for variation. If you’re looking to burn the most calories in the shortest amount of time, the treadmill is the way to go.

For a Joint Pain-Free Experience…

If you have joint pain, use the elliptical. If you especially hate running, use the elliptical. You’ll likely have to work harder to achieve the same burn, but at least you won’t have to see a doctor, and you’ll enjoy life just a tad more than you would running.

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