Is The Elliptical As Good As Running

When it comes to cardiovascular workouts, running has always been a go-to choice for fitness enthusiasts like myself. The feeling of the wind against my face, the rhythmic pounding of my feet on the pavement, and the endorphin rush that follows a good run are all reasons why I love this activity so much. However, there are times when I can’t hit the pavement due to weather conditions or physical limitations. That’s when I turn to the elliptical machine at my local gym. But is the elliptical as good as running? Let’s dive deep into this question and explore the similarities and differences between these two popular forms of exercise.

The Benefits of Running

Running is an effective way to burn calories, improve cardiovascular fitness, and build strong leg muscles. It engages multiple muscle groups including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Running also increases bone density, helps with weight management, and can even improve mental health by reducing stress and boosting mood.

The Advantages of the Elliptical

The elliptical machine, on the other hand, offers a low-impact workout that is gentle on the joints. This makes it a great option for individuals who have knee, hip, or ankle issues. The elliptical mimics the motion of running without the same level of impact, making it a suitable alternative for those recovering from injuries or looking to reduce joint strain. Additionally, the elliptical allows for backward pedaling, which targets different muscle groups and adds variety to the workout.

Comparing the Intensity

When it comes to intensity, both running and the elliptical can provide an effective workout. The elliptical offers adjustable resistance levels that allow you to increase or decrease the intensity based on your fitness level and goals. In contrast, running outdoors or on a treadmill requires you to adapt to the natural terrain or set the pace manually.

While running does burn slightly more calories per minute compared to the elliptical, the difference is not significant. The exact number of calories burned will depend on factors such as body weight, speed, and duration of the workout. It’s worth mentioning that the elliptical can be an excellent choice for high-intensity interval training (HIIT) due to its ability to ramp up the intensity quickly.

Personal Preference and Variety

Ultimately, the choice between running and the elliptical comes down to personal preference. Some people thrive on the freedom and outdoor experience that running provides, while others prefer the controlled environment and convenience of the elliptical machine. Personally, I enjoy the versatility of both forms of exercise.

Switching between running and the elliptical adds variety to my workout routine, helps prevent boredom, and challenges my body in different ways. On days when I want to push my limits and feel the rush of outdoor running, I lace up my shoes and hit the pavement. On other days, when I want a low-impact workout or when the weather doesn’t cooperate, I head to the gym and hop on the elliptical.


So, is the elliptical as good as running? The answer is both yes and no. While running may offer a more intense calorie burn and a true outdoor experience, the elliptical machine provides a low-impact option that is easier on the joints and offers versatility in terms of resistance and intensity. Ultimately, the best workout is the one that you enjoy and can stick to consistently. So why not incorporate both running and the elliptical into your routine to reap the benefits of both forms of exercise?