Is The Elliptical As Good As Running?

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Last Updated on December 17, 2021 by Andrew Blakey

Is The Elliptical As Good As Running?

Today we’ll be answering the question – is the elliptical as good as running?

While I had my own opinions regarding the matter, I wanted to create a full post just about this topic so we can really dive deep into the benefits of using one vs the other.

For those of you who don’t know what an elliptical is, refer to the next picture!

Is the elliptical as good as running on a treadmill?

The Elliptical

The elliptical is a great way of moving your body, getting the blood flowing, and getting a solid workout in when performed correctly and to an intensity that is sufficient.

That being said, there was a study back in 2005 that spoke about how their participants when told to work at the same intensity on both the treadmill and elliptical, ended up actually working at a lower heart rate on the elliptical vs the treadmill.

What does this mean? It means that you need to be conscious of how hard you’re working and ensure that by using the elliptical, you don’t assume you’re doing the same amount of work as on a treadmill or running outside! So is the elliptical as good as running? Lets go through the pros and cons and find out!

The Elliptical May Be Better For Some People

When you compare both running and the elliptical, one thing that jumps out right away is that the elliptical places much less stress on your joints.

Now this can be both a pro and a con depending on how you look at it!


  • For people who are recovering from injuries or have issues with their joints, the elliptical provides a safe alternative that places much less stress on the joints of the body.


  • Not everyone enjoys running. If you’re someone who is more likely to do a workout if it involves an elliptical, than you may have better success by utilizing the elliptical more often!


  • You won’t get the same adaptations that providing stress on the body from running can develop.
Is the elliptical as good as running

running vs the ellipticalRunning

Whether you’re running outside, on a track, or on a treadmill; all three methods give you great health benefits that can really take your life to another level.

The treadmill can allow you to obtain many of the same results as running outside (however, not all).

Using a treadmill is also a great way to burn some calories fairly quickly compared to lower intensity exercises such as walking or hiking. According to VeryWellFit you can burn about 100 calories per mile!   

Now just like the Elliptical, treadmills and running outside have their own list of pros and cons!


  • Allows you a consistent and fairly safe running surface.
  • You’re developing motor patterns and movements that you’ll use throughout your entire life.
  • Can be done anywhere at any time (if not using a treadmill).


  • Places more stress on the body compared to the elliptical, which may be an issue for some people.
  • Many people have poor running form which can increase their chances for injuries.

So Which Is Better?

When we go back to our original question of – is the elliptical as good as running?… There are a lot of things to take into consideration.

For people who have existing injuries, or have joint problems – the elliptical is probably the way to go.

For otherwise healthy individuals I would say that it’s important to focus on your running form and to ease into it gradually in order to maximize the likelihood of sticking with it and avoiding any sort of injuries!

Is the elliptical as good as running? I wouldn’t say that one is better than the other, what I would say is that if you’re able to do both without pain and you enjoy the elliptical more; mix it up and enjoy the benefits that both methods can provide!

That being said, while cardio is extremely important, it’s also important to strengthen your bones and body through weight bearing exercises which can be found in another blog post!

girl running

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