Nowadays, fitness enthusiasts are made to choose between the elliptical trainer and the treadmill machine when it comes to calorie-burning exercises. Thus, it is not surprising that treadmills and elliptical trainers occupy the number one and two spots in the fitness equipment industry, respectively.
Still, the question remains: Which of the elliptical trainer and the treadmill machine burns more calories? The answer may surprise you as studies have shown that elliptical trainers burn more calories than treadmills provided that the same number of minutes, the same level of intensity and the same frequency of use are applied.
The theory behind this finding is that the elliptical trainer engages more muscle groups than the treadmill machine, that, burning more calories. Keep in mind that the elliptical provides for a total body workout, thanks to the foot pedals and handle bars, while the treadmill machine focuses on the lower body portion only.
It is for this reason that more and more treadmill users are either wholly switching to elliptical trainers or alternating both machines to benefit from the best of both worlds, so to speak. Still, the treadmill machine appears to be holding on to its number one popularity due in large part to the fact that the actions required on the machine are very natural to bipedal humans – just walking or jogging.
Anyways, the calories burned on an elliptical user vary with the period, the intensity and the physical condition of the exerciser. If you put in 30 minutes of exercise on moderate intensity on an elliptical machine, you can burn the following calories based on your weight:
- 120 pounds – 310 calories
- 150 pounds – 385 calories
- 180 pounds – 500 calories
Now, contrast these figures for a 150 pound individual using the treadmill for the same amount of time at a walking pace of 2 miles per hour (189 calories), 3 miles per hour (297 calories), and jogging (477 calories).
If you think that you will opt for jogging, you have to consider that it is a high-impact exercise that can do damage to your joints. You have to balance the three components of more calories burned against impact on the joints and effort exported to burn said calories. In majority cases, the elliptical trainer wins the contest.
If you want to increase the number of calories burned on an elliptical trainer, you can apply the principles of high-intensity interval training. Basically, you alternate one-minute active rest periods where you revert to moderate intensity with two-minute passive rest periods where high intensity is observed. You can also move your arms in a semi-circular motion to engage more muscles or use weights to increase resistance on the arms.
However, before you go swiping your credit card for an elliptical machine, you must consider other exercise factors as well. You have to determine your exercise goals since a machine is only there to help you achieve it. So, if you are comfortable with running, then a treadmill machine will do especially if you use it for high-intensity interval training, too.
Ultimately, the success of any exercise machine in the general scheme of calorie-burning depends on the proper use, proper technique and proper amount of time spent on the machine itself. So, just get on either the elliptical trainer or the treadmill, or alternate the two, in order to start your healthy lifestyle.