1. Your cycle
  2. Lifestyle
  3. Fitness and exercise

Flo Fact-Checking Standards

Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

Elliptical Workouts for Weight Loss: How Effective Are They?

Elliptical workouts are a great form of exercise because they offer weight-bearing movement with less impact on the joints than running. This type of cardiovascular exercise can help you tone and strengthen at the same time. But let’s also take a look at using an elliptical for weight loss.

Anyone who has ever stepped onto an elliptical knows that it’s a good all-over workout. The big questions are how to lose weight on an elliptical machine and if it’s possible to develop an elliptical weight loss plan. The answers are yes and yes. 

The basic key to weight loss is to burn more calories than you take in. To start out, you will need to calculate your daily intake of calories and the amount of time that you will need to exercise in order to achieve your weight-loss goal.

Are ellipticals good for weight loss? 

There is a formula that you can use to estimate the number of calories you will burn on an elliptical machine during a 30-minute workout. In order to calculate this, you must first weigh yourself. Then take your weight and multiply it by 2.16. This number is the approximate number of calories that you will burn while exercising. 

It’s best to consider these estimates as just that: estimates only. Each person exercises at a different level of intensity, and it’s impossible to determine an exact amount of calories that will be burned while doing this type of exercise. 

However, if you consider that the average daily caloric intake for a moderately active 26-year-old woman is 2,600 calories (to maintain their weight), then burning nearly 650 calories during a 60-minute workout isn’t too bad. If you then add in steps taken and any other activities, using ellipticals for weight loss becomes a viable option.

Benefits of cardio training

One of the biggest benefits of using an elliptical for weight loss is that you are also incorporating a great type of cardio training into your workout routine.

According to the US Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, in order to attain the most health benefits from physical activity, adults need at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking or fast dancing, each week. Adults also need muscle-strengthening activity, like lifting weights or doing push-ups, at least 2 days each week.

Your elliptical weight loss plan can accomplish both of these suggested tasks.

Studies have also shown that this form of exercise can improve creativity in children; improve sleep, energy levels, hormonal balance, sexual function, and mental status in adults; increase blood flow to the areas of the brain that are responsible for cognitive functions (in all ages); and decrease the risk of type-2 diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. 

Elliptical training tricks

There are a lot of myths about the benefits of exercise as well as how and when you should do it. As with any other exercise, you need to allow for time before and after your elliptical workout for stretching and cooling down. 

You should be aware that certain phases of your menstrual cycle can make you more susceptible to heat-related conditions, so you may want to take extra steps to keep yourself cool during your workout.

This can be accomplished by working out during the cooler part of the day or by having air conditioning or a fan nearby. However, exercise at any time during your cycle can beneficial, including during your period to relieve cramping and bloating. Listen to your body and regulate your workouts according to your general condition.

Elliptical machines are designed to simulate what you would achieve with cross-country skiing. It is meant to be a smooth, gliding motion. When you are moving your legs and arms forwards and backwards, you should not be bouncing.

This takes away the low-impact benefits and can actually cause harm to your joints if done improperly. Exercises should not cause pain or hurt in a particular area when performing them. This could be a sign that you are not doing it correctly or have an injury.

Three easy exercises for elliptical machine weight loss 

There a number of different types of workouts that you can do on an elliptical machine to help you achieve your weight-loss goals. Here a just a few.

1. Forwards and backwards

This exercise involves alternating between forward-moving sessions and backward-moving ones. These motions can be done for equal periods of time or one longer than the other throughout the workout session. You can gradually build up your total amount of time or add other motions to your workout for a greater challenge.

2. Incline challenge

This exercise involves increasing the incline on the elliptical to add more resistance to the movements. Start out slow and gradually increase the amount of time at a particular incline before attempting the next level. This can be combined with the forwards and/or backwards motions. 

3. High-intensity interval training

This exercise incorporates short increments of intense training with longer periods of lower resistance and slower pace. With this, you might increase your incline and pace for 20–30 seconds and then slow down for 60–90 seconds and repeat. 

Be sure to give yourself time for rest or you will wear yourself out quickly. This form of exercise has been shown to burn more calories in a shorter workout session.

With your first few workouts, you just want to get used to the machine by going through some basic steps. It’s always great to work with a trainer (if available) to complete your first few sessions on an elliptical. This will ensure that you are using correct technique and avoid any injuries. 

From there, you can add different types of movements and levels of intensity to ramp up your workout. Remember to stretch before and cool down after to avoid muscle strain and injury. This exercise combined with a healthy diet will keep you active and help you achieve your weight-loss goal.






Read this next