Elliptical vs Treadmill : Which is better for your 2023 Fitness Goals?

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Since the outbreak of corona virus pandemic, indoor exercises have increased surprisingly. When it comes to doing cardio everyday at home, a treadmill and an elliptical trainer are the most popular and the best cardio machines to consider. Choosing one is often a tough decision for most people. Therefore, between elliptical vs treadmill, which is better for cardio – calories burned, impact, weight loss?

Walking, jogging and running are all few examples of aerobic exercises and you can do them, on both treadmill and elliptical machines.

Treadmills have a walking or running surface made of a tough moving treadmill belt. The speed of the belt determines how fast you can walk or run on it. To make your cardio exercise tougher, you set up an incline(uphill simulation) and vary the speed of belt.

An elliptical on the other hand uses a platform and pedals, where to place feet during workout. The platform moves in an elongated circular path or ellipses as you exercise.

One thing to note is that both the treadmill and the elliptical are all cardio machines. They all burn calories, improve your heart health and how well your heart and lungs deliver oxygen to your entire body.

Both the best ellipticals and treadmills are stationary exercise machines which use handlebars for stability and balancing during cardio training.

 elliptical vs treadmill - which is better elliptical or treadmill for seniors, bad knees, weight loss, calories burned - readmill-vs-elliptical-fitness-machine
img: Elliptical vs Treadmill Cardio Machines. Which is better elliptical or treadmill for seniors, bad knees, weight loss, calories burned ?

Related:  The Best Ellipticals Under $1000?


Elliptical vs Treadmill : Which is better in Targeting Muscle groups?

Elliptical trainers

With an elliptical machine, you have the options to train both your lower and the upper body muscles. The forward and the backward directional motion helps to work your different muscles.

Ellipticals are great equipment for upper and lower body workout. They work the following muscles – forearm triceps, forearm biceps, chest, shoulders, back, and abdominals. You can also use ellipticals to get the following lower body muscles strengthened – hamstings, calves, glutes, and the lower shin.

Unfortunately, elliptical machines build less muscle than treadmills. If you intend to grow muscles in your thighs and lower body parts, try treadmill or strength training exercises.

A low impact aerobic exercise on an elliptical produces a less amount of muscle development than running on a treadmill. However,  elliptical machines can isolate  and strengthen some specific muscles, which can be harder to work, on a treadmill.


Elliptical vs treadmill which is better?
Sunny and Fitness heavy duty Walking Treadmill : 350 lbs max user weight

Exercising on a treadmill will work fewer of your muscle groups, than ellipticals. But treadmills are the best home gym cardio equipment to build strength in legs muscles, glutes and hips.

Most athletic activities like basket ball, mountain climbing, and marathon require running. It is not uncommon to find professional athletes using high capacity treadmills at home. They walk, jog and run on treadmills to build and strengthen their lower body muscles – calves, hamstring quadriceps, hip flexors and glutes.

You know,strengthening of muscles can help prevent injury. As per the experience of many bodybuilders, you can further build your leg strength by interfacing treadmill workouts with squats and lunges.

A good mix of squatting, running or walking on the treadmill few times a week can grow your leg muscle mass and make them powerful and ready for athletics.

Elliptical training machines work many muscles. These include the upper body muscles in arms, shoulders, back, and chest, and also lower body muscles. A treadmill works, builds and strengthens only your lower body muscles.



Elliptical vs Treadmill : Which is safer with low impact on joints?

People have a misconception that Low-impact cardio exercise isn’t tough, vigorous or strenuous. In relative terms, that may be true, but an exercise does need to be difficult to prove its worth. Low impact exercises can help improve a patient’s physical and cardiovascular fitness, and body composition. Considering friendliness on joints, knees and health, which is better, an elliptical or treadmill then?

Which is better Elliptical or treadmill
Img: Bowflex Max Trainer Series – combines the calories burning power of elliptical and stepper machines

Ellipticals are easy on your joints

The elliptical is a cardio machine that is perfect low-impact walking and running exercises. The point is that a low-impact exercise on elliptical does not put much stress on your knees and joints like the high-impact exercise do.

So is elliptical better than treadmill? Yes, placing less pressure on joints is one greatest benefit which proves that elliptical is safer than treadmill.

You should not worry, you won’t experience any stress if you suffer from health conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis. That goes same to musculoskeletal conditions like bad knees, low-back and hip pains.

The good news is that, you can still workout on an elliptical machine after knee injury or operation. The low impact workout on ellipticals is the fastest way to recover from injury.

Moreover, even with arthritis, and knee, hip or back pains, you can still safely get a high intensity workout on an elliptical.

Treadmill can cause you injuries

Elliptical trainer vs treadmill which is better on joints
Img: Nordictrack T Series 6.5 Si Treadmill – iFit Membership, 300 pound user weight capacity

Treadmill running or jogging is less friendlier on knee injuries than ellipticals. Comparatively, your treadmill can add more stress on to you knees pains, hip pains and leg bones when working out.

That is why treadmills require thorough cushioning than elliptical trainers. Reports have shown elders, children and average age adult suffer injuries including shin splints, and bone fractures, while running on treadmills,

Simpler ways to reduce wrist of treadmill accidents is by cushioning the running deck. But treadmill users are recommended to always start treadmill workout with a little walking to warm-up.

Again, when you start feeling that running on the your treadmill is becoming too hard on yourself, switch to low impact, gentle cardio workouts like swimming, dancing, biking or taking elliptical walks.

Too much cardio can ruin your gains, and doing a high impact cardio on a treadmill can be devastating to your thigh, and leg muscles.

So you need to reduce how much cardio you make each day or miles you walk per week. Alternating walking and running, and wearing treadmill shoes with cushioned insoles can ease or prevent potential injuries.


Elliptical vs Treadmill : which is better rehabilitation or recovery from injury?

When you start to get over 50 years, indoor exercises becomes your best option. Also, when weather becomes lousy, doing indoor workout is a better going outdoors.

In that case, treadmills and elliptical trainer are the most popular cardio machines for home use. Unfortunately, choosing one can be a tough decision if you suffer from injuries, have bad knees, arthritis and back pains.

It is true that walking or running motion are natural activities you can simulate on treadmill and the elliptical trainer. They help as rehabilitation machines, especially if you got a knee replacement. Also, if you do low-impact physical activities for 30 minutes per day, you can quickly recover from Osteoarthritis (OA).

In one study, some people participated in light rehab exercises for less than 120 minutes everyday. After three days, they recovered and had a healthier knee cartilage than people who didn’t.

Both treadmill and elliptical machines

  • are better for building bone density
  • help increase blood flow or deliver nutrients to knee cartilage
  • both led to strengthening of your muscles around the knee.
  • cardio exercises lessens the wear and tear on the cartilage.
  • result in overall body weight loss,. For overweight persons, this reduces stress on your knees and ankles.

Elliptical vs. Treadmill: Which Cardio Machine Is Better for rehabilitation exercises? Lets now check which Is Better for quick recovery from Arthritic Knees, injuries, Treadmill or Elliptical Trainer.

Ellipticals vs treadmills which is better for injury recovery and pain relief
Img: ProGear BT5000 Folding Electric Treadmill – 250lbs, quiet drive and goal setting computer


Jogging or running are low impact rehabilitation exercises for most patients. Unfortunately, running on a treadmill can put more stress on your knees and painful joints than an elliptical trainer. This becomes very serious and damaging when you increase the intensity of the activity.

Increasing your treadmill’s speed, can make you to feel more pressure on your knees. It can also increase pain and cause irritation around your knee joint.

Walking and running create impact and that happens only a treadmill. Such frequent up and down foot motion places too much pressure due to your bodyweight, on your knees joint, leg bone and ankles.

We know that that brisk walking on a treadmill will exerts force on your feet and knee cap like ellipticals. But, ellipticals tend to be more user-friendly and easier on joints than a well cushioned treadmills.
Which is better Elliptical or treadmill
Img: Sunny Health & Fitness Advance Programmed Elliptical Trainer Machine with electromagnetic resistance

Elliptical trainer

Elliptical exercises involve zero-impact movement. This is true since the exercises don’t need you to place foot (make impact) on the platform. With your foot clipped into the elliptical pedal, the energy and force to take up and place your foot down is reduced.

Elliptical places less stress on your joints even when the intensity of the exercise is extremely high. So you should incorporate the elliptical bikes even if you don’t have preexisting lower-body injury. The elliptical training will make a good aerobic HIIT workout that prevents wear and tear on the body.


Elliptical vs Treadmill : Which is better for athletic runners?

Running is known to have the highest risk and rate of injury, more than crossfit, powerlifting, weightlifting and other sports. Profession runners even know that their running regimen, is not without risk of injury. Base on outdoor conditioning and road running experience, both treadmill and ellipticals are very friendly to joints.

When poor whether, and lockdown become an issue, most athletes, who participate in competitive racing sports, shift to home training. A majority of them use elliptical cross trainers and treadmills to do their cardio everyday, for endurance training.

That is why most sportsmen, and marathon runners walk , jog, and do high intensity running and cardio HIIT training at home. So which is better, elliptical or treadmill, to include in competitive training programs?

Elliptical vs treadmill which is best for weight loss
Img: Bowflex Smart Treadmill – 350 LB max user weight capacity, entertainment features Netflix, Amazon Prime Video account.

elliptical vs treadmill - Elliptical vs Treadmill : Which is better for your 2023 Fitness Goals?Treadmills

One thing that makes treadmill a better cardio training machine for athletes is that it has lots of control for intensity levels. Treadmill has good versatility for a tougher, sweaty and high intensity running experience. When you set your uphill incline level and log in your required treadmill speed, the equipment gives exactly what you asked for.

More importantly too, a treadmill offers a variety of cardio training programs. You can select the ones that match your fitness level. With more control over your level of workout on the treadmill, it get more easier to achieve your fitness goals. The goal may include weight loss, recovery , muscle strengthening and more.

The ease of control on its speed and incline make treadmills stands out, from other cardio machines. They are more suited for high intensity interval (HIIT) training and for simulating mountain running.

Tough runners and racers need HIIT workouts to burn more calories, improve on their cardiovascular fitness in a short period of time. Everyday, 5K and 10K racers and athletes run several miles and walk 5000 to over 10000 steps on a treadmill to condition their hearts and leg muscles.
There’s an exception in treadmills being the best for race training exercises for folks training for outdoor races. Treadmills offer a lower-impact running experience, than training on a pavement or rugged terrain.

Even when you set a higher incline and make your uphill running as tougher, treadmill are still less impacting. They’re built to absorb some of impacts from your feet, hips, back and knees.

Related: How many calories can you burn walking 5000 steps a day?

Elliptical vs treadmill
Img: Schwinn Elliptical Machine – has wide cardio workout intensity options with 25 resistance levels and 29 workout programs.


Elliptical trainers are the best fitness equipment for a full-body training workout. It combines and works both your arms and legs in a single motion. You need an elliptical machine to strengthen your upper body for boxing games. That is also true if you are doing activities involving throwing of heavy objects.

More importantly too, the elliptical handlebars don’t just help with stability and balancing. The handlebars also help you push and pull to work against a resistance, and getting a full-body workout.

The good thing is that, using the elliptical empowers and strengthens your triceps, upper back, shoulder, and chest muscles. Training and growing forearm muscles is what boxers, wrestlers and basket ball players want.

You want to do cardio exercise in the long term, without your knees and ankles exploding,  elliptical trainers are better. Go for them.


Elliptical vs Treadmill : Which is best for weight loss?

Weight loss is one of the problems heavy and overweight people struggle with it everyday. Wondering which cardio machine(elliptical or treadmill) is best for weight loss?

The truth is, there is weight loss depends on you dieting to create calorific deficit and which machine you choose as good for burning calories. Both elliptical and the treadmill are great fitness tools for weight loss.

And all you need is to combine a healthier diet and the right machine for you, and learn how to create your own cardio workout routine to lose weight.

Which is better for weight loss elliptical or treadmill?

If you are overweight or obese, dealing with excess fats is not easy at all. how to get skinny is not a days task, but a long term goal. So which cardio machine do you recommend, treadmill or elliptical for weight loss?


Elliptical Trainer vs treadmills : Which do you recommend treadmill or elliptical for weight loss
Img: NICEDAY Elliptical Machine, Cross Trainer . Has Hyper-Quiet Magnetic Driving System, 16 Resistance Levels, 400LB users weight limit.


If you have preexisting injuries, go for low impact cardio. An elliptical machine will be the best fitness machine for to help you reach your weight loss goal doing low impact workouts.

Basically, an elliptical is quite effective to burning fats and losing weight faster. The reason is that elliptical cardio exercises works the core muscles(lower and upper parts) of your body in a single training session.

These Many muscles burn more calories in a short time. If there’s a calorific deficit, you would start losing overall weight by doing cardio HIIT routines on ellipticals

Ellipticals trainer vs treadmill. Which is better, elliptical vs treadmill for fat loss
Img: Nordictrack Commercial Series 1750 Treadmill – 10″ HD Touchscreen, iFit Connection, and 360 pound user weight limit


Treadmills also help to burn more calories but slowly as compared to elliptical and cross trainers. Overall, when it comes to burning calories, ellipticals and treadmills are very similar in terms on quantity but not in pace.


Which Machine Burns Belly Fat: Treadmill or Elliptical?

Belly fats is such a burden to some people but which cardio machine will burn it, treadmill or elliptical? Both machines will both burn belly fats, but working out on treadmill and elliptical bike won’t target only your belly muscles.

Should I buy treadmill or elliptical to lose belly fats? To make it clear, neither elliptical no treadmill can spot and reduce only belly fats.

The elliptical and the treadmill will not target a single muscle, but they will torch calories and burn your overall body fat. Losing fats all over your entire body parts will eventually result to burning those heavy fats on your belly.

Related: How to lose weight on fingers and make them skinnier and more beautiful


Why am I not losing weight doing cardio on elliptical and/or treadmill?

There are so many cardio mistakes the people make, which end up working against their set goals and objectives. Too much cardio can cause you to start gaining muscle mass instead of burning the fats and shedding a few pounds.

It is true that People lose weight at different paces, but if you aren’t losing any pound of weight, the reason is that:

  • you are pushing too hard,
  • taking no break(or rest between cardio days),
  • no inclusion of strength training in the weight loss routine and
  • you are likely consuming high calorific foods.

Remember the rule of thumb is “no calorie deficit, no weight loss”. Without proper calorie deficit, you can hit it hard and get no result. Don’t break your bones trying too hard, don’t live a miserable lifestyle with poor dieting, the strategy is simple than most people make it look.


Here’s How to quickly and effectively lose weight in a healthy way

The whole idea of weight loss is a long term goal which does not depend on elliptical or treadmill. Both are best cardio fitness machines to lose weight at home. Weight loss depends on a combined formula to burn more calories than you are consuming. before you can do that, first determine how much calories you need each day.

At the least, that will give you an idea of how many calories you need to burn doing everyday cardio exercises. It also will help you understand how much you need to take in from foods, everyday, to create an overall calorie deficit.


Elliptical vs Treadmill : What is the best exercise machine for seniors?

 Fitness can turn 70 years old adults into people who are over 70 years young. Once you get to 50+ years, consult your doctor before beginning a fitness exercise program. Beware, that fitness workouts will get tougher and and may challenge your heart & lungs.

There’s one main reason to carefully choose the right fitness machine for elderly person. These guys over 50-60 years sometimes stubbornly overlook the obvious when working out.

As a result, the equipment can cause and make them to suffer severe health problem. Making mistakes on cardio machines can further exacerbate their pre-existing health condition.

Consequently, elders need more guidance from personal trainers at home. It’s too expensive to hire a personal trainer. So if you select a safer piece of equipment – one that’s right for seniors’ fitness level, they’ll need no guidance.

It is not scaring for seniors with have decent mobility to exercise regularly on cardio machines. But, old people with knee, arthritis, back pains, hip pains and other forms of mobility issues, need special machines.

Elliptical  Vs Treadmills for seniors - What is better for exercise treadmill or elliptical? - which is best elliptical or treadmill for seniors - which exerise machine is best for seniors - elliptical trainers or treadmills
Img: Elliptical  Vs Treadmill for seniors:  What is better for seniors treadmill or elliptical?

What is the best exercise machine for seniors?

Choosing between high vs low impact machine depends on how active a grandparent may be. Again, safety is paramount when you consider the diminishing stability and balancing due to aging.

Sometimes, senior citizens don’t feel comfortable flinging free-weights around. So, which of the standard aerobic machines (ellipticals vs treadmills) is better for the elderly adults then?

Ellipticals : Are ellipticals good for seniors?

Asking whether ellipticals are good for seniors, the answer is YES. Elliptical is puts less strain, stress on the limbs of people living sedentary lifestyle. The machine also boost quick recovery from injuries and offers relief for back and hip pains.

Low-impact elliptical workouts help elders to improve cardiovascular fitness, and basic bone health. It may get harder for an aged adult to be getting up and doing to the gym everyday, as part of my knee-replacement rehab.

It is true that an elliptical trainer uses whole body and sometimes, requires a greater range of motion. But Ellipticals are low impact, so they’re going to act very kindly to knees and arthritic legs for someone over 50 years.

Comparatively, the effort level needed to work out on elliptical machines is pretty higher than for recumbent bikes. Seniors lose strength as they age out, so elliptical may not look good, yet they are more joint friendly than treadmill.

People feel slight back pain when aging over 70 years. Old adults can safely use elliptical machine thanks to the handlebars. Ellipticals offer an added stability and balancing – a nice feature for seniors with mobility problems.

Treadmills :  treadmill good for elderly?

Treadmills are cardio machines too with better workouts. They burn more calories, improve cardiovascular endurance and improve basic bone health of users. But the main aspect of treadmill that scares seniors is the high impact on limbs, bones and joints. Luckily, most modern treadmills have highly cushioned running surfaces to absorb impact.

Experience shows that running is a more impactive activity. It is a cross training exercise that’s more prone to many injuries than other athletic sport. As a result, a treadmill workout is best suited for seniors who have decent mobility and active lifestyle.

Walking running on Treadmills are customizable or limited to speed and incline settings. Seniors may miss to check the obvious, and over adjust the speed or incline, leading to a hard fall. Most affordable treadmills lack these safety features.
One compensation for seniors safety on treadmill is the handlebars and the safety keys. Unfortunately, not all treadmill have those stability bars or armrest. So when shopping treadmills for seniors, safety features should come first.

 Elliptical machine VS Treadmill : Which burns more calories per hour?

The number of calories burned on cardio machine varies and no one individual will burn at same rate as another.  How much calories you burn on a treadmill or elliptical each day, depends on your weight, speed, duration, resistance,  intensity, fitness level and metabolic rate.
An overweight runner will burn more calorie faster just by getting started with an exercise program.

Both treadmill and elliptical burn calories. Base on the number of muscles activated during workout, and the effort required to exercise, its easy to believe ellipticals burn more calories than treadmills.



According to expert experience,  160-pound runner, exercising on the treadmill at 4 miles per hour burns up to 324 calories in 60 minutes. This  amount of calories per hour burned will get pretty higher if he runs on a higher and steeper incline.


The same 160-pound individual doing a low intensity exercises on elliptical  will burn nearly 328 calories per hour. The number will skip into 400 -500 calories if he decides to train at high intensity.

So for cross trainer vs treadmill, which burns more calories?

Although, treadmills touch less muscles, and elliptical engages both upper and lower muscles, treadmill and elliptical workout performance is the same in terms of calories burned.

Research has found that when it come to calories burned, oxygen consumption and heart rate, the performance of elliptical and treadmills are almost similar.

To be too accurate, treadmill burns slightly more calories than an elliptical bike. If you average the calorie burned over 30 minutes workout duration, the difference is negligible.

It is hard to decide which cardio machine is better for you. I recommend you go for the one that is the most sustainable for your health and fitness goal.

Avoid basing your decision on calorific difference. It calories shouldn’t be your deciding factor between elliptical and treadmill. But a  combination of the two will change your dream, fitness lifestyle and body composition.

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 Which cardio machine is best for you then, elliptical or treadmill?

Let us figure out how to decide which cardio machine is best for your home training, fat burning exercises or weight loss. It is no doubt that the type of machine you order, just depends on your physical health, fitness and lifestyle goals.

While both treadmills and elliptical trainers burn calories and improve your cardiovascular endurance, ellipticals offer some benefits that treadmills don’t. In the same way, treadmills have benefits that elliptical machine can’t offer.


When to use an elliptical machine

Choosing an elliptical machine is best choice

  • when you suffer from musculo-skeleton health problems and wants a machine for a good cardiovascular workout that is easy on joints. Elliptical exercises don’t place stress, strain and pressure on bones and joints. That is great advantage if you suffer from Musculo-skeletal conditions.
  • If you don’t want to suffer risk of injury due to taking a sudden hard fall, during cardio home exercises.
  • Because they let you enjoy both upper and lower body workout. This is true for elliptical machines with arm handlebars. they will work out your triceps, biceps, chest, abdominals, hamstring, glutes, calves.


When to use a treadmill

A treadmill will make the best cardio machine for your home if

  • you don’t have injuries, joints, hips, knees, and back pains
  • achieving a specific fitness goal is your objective. Consider a marathon runner, or a basket ball athlete, training for a competition or race. Doing a a 5K or 10K everyday, is possible on a treadmill than on an elliptical.
  • building muscular strength in your legs muscles and glutes is goal.
  • working your calves, hamstring, glutes, thighs and lower body muscle groups is your overall goal.


Wrap Up

What will you suggest me , a treadmill or an elliptical machine?

Consider the benefits and disadvantages of using a treadmill and that of ellipticals. One is not better over the other and non of them is less useful than the other. Actually, a treadmill is a better alternative to elliptical and elliptical is a better alternative to treadmills. Which one you choose will get you through, to achieve your fitness goals. But both are complementary  and If you can afford the two machines, do it. They will change your lifestyle in a healthier way.

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