Are Ellipticals Good for Exercise?

“Are ellipticals good for exercise?” If you’re looking for a great way to burn calories, lose weight, tone up, increase endurance levels and stay fit, Ellipticals are a GREAT choice. These exercise machines are one of the best because they are good exercise for all ages, and all fitness levels, and low impact.

image of an elliptical machine

They make a great addition to any home gym, or as your only piece of cardio equipment at home. Ellipticals come in a variety of prices, models, options, and some can even be folded up for easy storage.

Ellipticals are sometimes known as cross trainers, stair masters, and elliptical exercise trainers.

Are Elliptical Trainers Good for Exercise?

Ellipticals make a great way to exercise to stay in shape, increase endurance levels, burn calories, and lose weight, just to name a few benefits. I think if you were only going to have one piece of exercise equipment, this is the best choice.

What is an Elliptical Machine?

Are ellipticals good for exercise

Ellipticals are a fairly new piece of exercise equipment and are in the aerobic or cardio workout category. It is a stationary exercise machine that provides a full body, low impact exercise. As you can see from the image above, you use both the pedals and handles for your workout.

It’s called and elliptical trainer, or machine, because unlike an exercise bike or bicycle, the pedals carry your feet backwards, forwards, and up and down at the same time. Bike pedals always continue in a perfect circle.

The elliptic motion gives you a workout as if you were climbing stairs, walking, running, and even skiing. Because there is very little pressure on the joints as you workout, there is little risk of injuries to any of your joints.

Check out my reviews of the best ellipticals for home.

Do Ellipticals Burn Calories

Elliptical exercise machines are actually one of the best machines for burning calories and losing weight. And they can be a fun as you vary your speed and the tension settings on the machine.

This cardio machine can burn close to 800 calories an hour, depending on your own body weight and the machine your choose. Even though there are some models don’t have the moving handles, most work both your upper and lower body.

Most elliptical trainers these days are equipped with a control panel that can keep up with calories burned and heart rate. That gives your the opportunity to keep your workout at optimum levels for the highest calorie burn.

However, one of the outstanding benefits of this trainer, is the fact that you don’t have to workout with high intensity levels. You can get quite a good non impact cardio workout with light intensity in accordance with the speed of your workout and the resistance you set the machine at.

Are Elliptical Trainers Low Impact?

Because your feet never leave the pedals, you never experience any impact at all.

If you are familiar with the once very popular stair stepper, I can tell you it was great for raising your heart rate and burning calories. However, the stepping up and down over and over was extremely hard on ankles, knees, hips and lower back.

Then came the elliptical machine to over come this impact on joints. It is designed to pretty much completely eliminate stress on your joints while exercising.

The motion is very fluid, and mimics perfectly the natural way a body moves when not using a machine. It’s very low, or no impact, while providing a less stressful workout than either a stair stepper or treadmill.

Anyone, regardless of age, can get a good low impact and full body workout and is great for anyone who tends to get shin splints or has bad knees.

The exercise is somewhere between walking, running, or riding a bike as most of the work is done your legs in a standing position. The kicker is that it adds a arm and upper body workout as your arms help with the movement.

Ellipticals are about as low impact as they come. In fact, it’s the safest exercise machines for anyone with bad or injured knees. That’s because even though your knee bends during the exercise, you never pick your feet up; they remain firmly on the foot pads at all times.

Benefits of Ellipticals for Exercise

Burn More Calories in Less Time

Ellipticals workout your lower and upper body simultaneously so you are burning far more calories than with any other exercise machine. And the interesting thing about this workout is that studies have proven that you actually exert less effort while exercising.

Who wouldn’t want to use less energy and burn more calories? Because you are burning calories at a high rate, your workouts don’t require so much time either.

Low Impact and Safe Exercise

As much as I like treadmills, there have been many injuries associated with their use. On the other hand ellipticals are much safer to use because they are both very little impact and safe to mount and dismount.

That makes them the perfect choice for anyone of any age, and especially for people with knee, back or joint problems. You can get a tremendous workout for fitness and not worry about injuring yourself or adding to injuries.

Fun to Use

On a treadmill, you basically have two options: run or walk. And they are so boring to use, the vast majority of home machines are never used.

On the other hand elliptical exercise is much more fun and interesting to use because you use both your arms and legs. The best ellipticals have different movement programs and programs that can vary the intensity and speed of the workout.

Excellent for Cross Training

Because you can program ellipticals for different speeds, inclines, and going backwards and forwards, they are excellent for cross training.

They will make climbing steep slopes and even stairs so much easier, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Space Savers

Another benefit of a home elliptical is saving space. Unless you have a folding treadmill, it seems to be bigger and bulkier and takes more space.

Elliptical trainers provide you with more space and allow you to add additional exercise equipment if wanted.

Check out my reviews of the best ellipticals for home.

Elliptical Trainers vs Exercise Bikes

There is a multitude of varieties of fitness equipment to get a good workout. In fact, there are so many options to choose from, it gets difficult to know which one is best.

But there is one thing for sure, every home gym needs cardio exercise equipment. Cardio exercise is the best when it comes to burning calories and strengthening your cardiovascular system.

It can be a difficult decision to make when it comes to whether the exercise bike or an elliptical trainer is the best choice. Both are made to raise your heart rate and burn a lot of calories. So, which is the best for you?

Ease of Use

When it comes to being easy to use, it’s probably the exercise bike. All you need to do on a exercise bike is sit on the seat and start pedaling. Most every adult in the world knows the basics of riding a bike, so an exercise bike workout comes natually.

The elliptical machine takes a little bit more coordination because you are standing on your feet, pedaling, and moving the handle bars at the same time. So, your very first time on an elliptical may seem a little awkward.

Ease of Use: Winner – Exercise Bike


When it comes to working out, a lot of people look for ways to get it done without being uncomfortable. And the exercise bike may be more comfortable because you are sitting during the workout.

Some recumbent exercise bikes are so relaxing, you may not get a good workout? The seats often have a backrest that provides great support.

With an ellliptical machine your body is in a standing position, and focused on exercising your entire body. The time is focused on your workout and not comfort.

Comfort: Winner – Exercise Bike


If you are interested in the best workout in the shortest time, it’s simply hard to beat an elliptical machine. Where the exercise bike is only working the legs, the elliptical is providing a full body workout.

As you walk, you are exercising your lower body. Holding on to the handles and moving your upper body at the same time you are stepping is a full body workout guaranteed to get the heart pumping and blood flowing.

The calorie burn is far more on an elliptical than a exercise bike, and it provides better cardio workouts and muscle toning.

Workout: Winner – Elliptical Trainer

Impact on the Body

Cycling can be difficult for your body and knees. The constant retraction and extension of the muscles can be hard on knees and result in injury. And it takes a lot more energy to ride a bike than to pedal a elliptical machine.

You will find using the elliptical very close to walking. Except that you never lift your feet off the pedals as you would lift them off the ground when walking.

This means there is no impact on your knees, ankles, hips or back. Therefore there is no pain associated with the workout.

Impact on the Body: Winner- Elliptical Trainer

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes Ellipticals So Popular?

Ellipticals have been around for about 20 years, which is pretty new compared to other exercise machines. However they have never stopped gaining in popularity because they are so effective for burning fat, calories, and no impact cardio exercise.

What is Low Impact?

The term “low impact exercise” means that compared to high impact exercises, your body comes into contact with the ground or flour less often with less stress. With elliptical trainers your feet never leave the foot pads. Compare that with walking or running, and you can see why there is virtually no impact on joints while exercising.

Are Ellipticals Good for Weight Loss?

Yes! Because Elliptical machines are aerobic exercise machines you will burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. Because you are using arms and legs at the the same time, you are activating all muscle groups to burn calories fast and effectively. This full body exercise is so good that you will sculpt and tone legs, buttocks, hips, arms, chest, and back.

Are Ellipticals Good for Bones?

Osteoporosis and bone density is an important part of the best health. And keeping strong bones depends on engaging in regular weight bearing exercises. Most people think of weight bearing exercises as free weights or weight machines, however elliptical machines fill the bill quite well. Elliptical exercise provides a great weight resistance workout as well as cardio exercise.

Who Are Ellipticals Good For?

One of the best things about an elliptical exerciser is that they are great for anyone, regardless of fitness level. They are very easy to use because it simulates walking, running, or the sliding motion of skiing. They even make great exercise for pregnant women and older people because they provide a low impact workout.

Are Ellipticals Good For More Advance Fitness Levels?

If you are already working out and are at a more advanced fitness level, don’t worry about these machines giving you all the challenge you want. You can advance the tension level and vary your speed for more challenging workouts over and over.


Most all fitness experts agree that elliptical trainers provide just about the best total workout you can get. Ellipticals have movable handle bars that mimic the natural movement of cross county skiing and burn a lot calories with each exercise session.

Treadmills and other home cardio machines can be extremely hard on joints. However, Ellipticals are a great way to get a thorough workout without risk to joints, tendons, and ligaments.

Check out my reviews of the best ellipticals for home.

You’ll get a more intense workout while exerting less effort and feels like walking or running on air. It may take a time or two to get used to the elliptical motion, but once you do, you will never go back to other cardio machines.

If you’re still wrestling with the question “are ellipticals good?”, the bottom line is that ellipticals provide what could be the best total body workout for just about any body.

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