Elliptical vs. Running

Elliptical vs. Running
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Although the elliptical is a relatively new method of exercise, it boasts an army of loyal followers who swear by its effectiveness and insist it is a far superior alternative to simply jogging. But are they correct? Just what pros does the elliptical offer that running does not? Are they enough to warrant totally abandoning the latter in favor of the former? We’re going to let you decide for yourself by presenting you with the pros and cons of elliptical vs. running.

Elliptical vs. Running – What You Need to Know


Running is a surefire means of burning calories while working out your quads, your glutes, and even your abs, meaning you can lose weight and build muscle at the same time. But what else does it have to offer?

The Pros

Running doesn’t require a whole lot of equipment beyond the right pair of shoes, which makes it one of the most affordable methods of cutting weight and a great choice if you don’t have money to spend on a gym membership. Maintaining a regular workout routine can be difficult, particularly if you are on vacation and aren’t near a gym. With running as the foundation of your workout, however, this will not be an issue as it can be performed anywhere in the world.

So, as long as you take 30 minutes out of your vacation every day, you will return home the same weight you were when you left, if not slightly slimmer. Many who choose to run as opposed to using an elliptical do so because running allows them to get out of the house and interact with the world around them.

This is particularly true for runners who live near a park or a forest, as the exercise grants them the opportunity to explore nature, which is said to heighten the number of endorphins we already know are released during the average run.

The Cons

The cons of running are minimal, but they do exist and are, in the eyes of many, cause enough to take to an elliptical instead. The most obvious of these cons is the fact that running is largely dependent on the weather and in extreme conditions can be quite unpleasant. When you run in heavy rain, for example, you are at greater risk of falling and injuring yourself, which, if nothing else, will damage the confidence you have built up through your new exercise routine.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, running in high temperatures puts you at risk of sunburn, dehydration, and even heat stroke. It should also be pointed out in this section that many who have tried running as a method of losing weight only to have later abandoned it have cited a lack of interest or entertainment. Admittedly, running can be quite dull without a friend to keep you company. In most cases, however, this boredom can be alleviated with a good playlist or an interesting podcast.


Ellipticals can be both found in gyms and purchased for personal use, but should you be among the many fat fighters who are turning to the exercise as an alternative to running?

The Pros

One of our favorite things about the elliptical is that it can be used in all weather conditions, which gives it an immediate advantage over running. Many who choose ellipticals over running do so because it allows them to exercise in the comfort of their own home, which is where the average person is at their most confident. This is particularly beneficial if you are only starting out on your weight loss journey and feel you would damage your self-esteem by comparing yourself to other joggers if you were to take up running.

Unlike running, the elliptical is a low impact exercise and puts minimal stress on the joints, so it’s a great choice for older people and those suffering from joint issues. Many modern ellipticals boast some pretty nifty features, such as the ability to increase incline, stride, and resistance.

A truly quality model will feature an integrated calorie counter. This will allow you to keep track of the calories you burn during each workout, which is particularly advantageous if you must adhere to a strict training routine intended to cut significant weight in a short period of time.

The Cons

The most commonly cited drawback of the elliptical is the cost associated with owning one. Obviously, there is the upfront payment of however many hundreds of dollars your chosen model sets you back (certain models even go into the thousands). On top of that, an elliptical must be connected to a power source, so you can expect your electricity bill to grow as the intensity of your workouts increases.

You could, of course, join a gym as opposed to purchasing an elliptical of your own, but that will tie you to a monthly payment, with many gyms asking their customers to sign year-long contracts. Unlike jogging, using the elliptical machine burns fat exclusively and does not build muscle, so if toning your body is your aim you should fish your running shoes out of the trash.


Both running and the elliptical offer their own unique sets of pros and cons. That being said, one will suit you more than the other depending on what you are trying to achieve. If you already have some sort of workout routine in place and are searching for something that will add another dimension to it, running may be the way to go as it will allow you to further develop your muscles as opposed to simply burning calories.

If you are new to working out and aren’t quite sure where to begin, purchasing an elliptical might be your best option as it will allow you to work at your own pace and away from the often judgmental eyes of fellow fitness fanatics. We also recommend the elliptical to older people endeavoring to drop weight, as it is unlikely to aggravate the joint issues which develop as we age and make running impossible.

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