Do Ellipticals Burn As Many Calories As Running

When it comes to burning calories and staying fit, two popular choices are running and using an elliptical machine. As an avid fitness enthusiast, I have often wondered whether ellipticals burn as many calories as running. Today, I am going to delve deep into this topic and explore the similarities and differences between these two forms of exercise.

Understanding the Mechanics

To compare the calorie-burning potential of running and using an elliptical machine, it’s important to understand the mechanics of each exercise. Running is a weight-bearing activity that requires you to propel your body forward by using your legs and feet. This high-impact exercise engages multiple muscle groups and increases cardiovascular endurance.

On the other hand, an elliptical machine mimics the motion of running but eliminates the impact on your joints. It simulates a running motion by using pedals that move in an elliptical path. This low-impact exercise is gentle on the knees and joints, making it a popular choice for individuals with joint issues or injuries.

Calorie Burn Comparison

Now, let’s explore the calorie-burning potential of each exercise. The number of calories burned during any workout depends on various factors such as age, weight, intensity, and duration. Generally, running has a higher calorie-burning potential than using an elliptical machine due to its weight-bearing nature.

According to a study published in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, an average person can burn approximately 11.4 calories per minute while running at a pace of 6 miles per hour. On the other hand, using an elliptical machine at a moderate intensity for the same duration burns around 9.1 calories per minute.

It’s important to note that the calorie burn during an elliptical workout can vary depending on the resistance level, incline, and speed settings. By increasing the resistance and intensity, you can match or even exceed the calorie burn of running.

Additional Benefits of Running and Elliptical

While the calorie burn is an important factor to consider, it’s worth mentioning that both running and using an elliptical machine offer additional benefits.

Running is a high-impact exercise that promotes bone density and strengthens the lower body muscles. It also boosts cardiovascular health and helps in weight management. However, it can put strain on the joints, especially if proper form and adequate recovery are not maintained.

On the other hand, using an elliptical machine provides a low-impact workout that is easier on the joints. It works the entire body, engaging the upper and lower body muscles simultaneously. The elliptical motion also allows for a longer workout duration without excessive fatigue or joint discomfort.


In conclusion, while running generally burns more calories than using an elliptical machine, both forms of exercise have their own unique benefits. Running offers a higher calorie burn and helps build bone density, while using an elliptical machine provides a low-impact workout that is easier on the joints.

Ultimately, the choice between running and using an elliptical machine depends on personal preference, fitness goals, and any existing injuries or limitations. So, whether you prefer the freedom and intensity of running or the joint-friendly motion of an elliptical, both can be effective in helping you stay fit and healthy.