Gym goers of all ages use elliptical bikes to stay fit and keep their hearts healthy. The number of calories burned on elliptical trainers depends on your weight, among other factors. Certain strategies, such as incorporating intervals into your workout, can increase the calorie burn.
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How many calories you can burn on elliptical trainers depends largely on your weight and fat-to-muscle ratio. To get a rough estimate, enter your age and weight in the elliptical calorie calculator on your machine or use an online activity calculator, such as the one provided by the Calorie Control Council.
Why Use an Elliptical Bike?
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) points out that as little as one hour of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week may improve overall health. Ideally, adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular training or 75 minutes of high-intensity cardiovascular training each week.
One way to meet these guidelines is to use an elliptical bike in the gym or at home. This versatile cardio machine works for both moderate- and high-intensity aerobic training. Plus, it's easier on your joints compared with the treadmill and other activities, such as running or jogging.
Moderate- and vigorous-intensity exercise not only keeps your heart healthy but also may improve lung function and make everyday activities easier, states the NHLBI. In the long run, it may lower your risk of cardiac events by reducing bad cholesterol levels, blood pressure, body fat mass and inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein. The elliptical bike is particularly appealing because it can be used at home, so you have no excuse to skip your workouts.
Another advantage of elliptical bikes over other gym machines is that you can work your arms and legs simultaneously, notes the Mayo Clinic. Some models are equipped with movable handles, offering a full-body workout. You can also find elliptical trainers that can be pedaled in reverse to better target your calves and hamstrings.
Running on an elliptical trainer is also a good way to torch calories. The results, however, depend on your diet and workout plan. If you reward yourself with a bag of potato chips after hitting the gym, it may take you longer to achieve a healthy weight. This cardio machine is by no means a shortcut to fat loss or better health.
Calories Burned on Elliptical Bikes
As discussed earlier, your energy expenditure during exercise depends on multiple factors. Age, body size, nutrition, activity level, environmental factors and body composition, or fat-to-muscle ratio, all play a role, according to a November 2016 review featured in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Generally, heavier individuals torch more calories than leaner people during exercise.
Considering these factors, it's difficult to determine the exact number of calories burned on elliptical machines. However, you may use the following estimates from Harvard Health Publishing to get a better idea of how much energy you burn during 30 of exercise on the elliptical bike:
- 125-pound person: 270 calories
- 155-pound person: 335 calories
- 185-pound person: 400 calories
Cycling on a stationary bike at a moderate pace, by comparison, can help you burn 210 to 311 calories in a half-hour, depending on your weight. A vigorous workout on the same machine will torch 315 to 466 calories.
The number of calories burned on elliptical trainers is similar to that burned during 30 minutes of boxing, cross-country running or competitive football. Consider the intensity of your workout too. The faster you run on the elliptical trainer, the higher your energy expenditure.
If you're trying to burn more calories, increase the speed, the resistance or both. Another option is to incorporate HIIT into your workout.
Read more: The Truth Behind 5 Common Myths About HIIT
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, involves short, intense bursts of exercise followed by rest or low-intensity exercise. This strategy has been proven effective at reducing total body fat mass and abdominal fat, according to a November 2017 research paper published in Sports Medicine.
For example, you may increase the speed on your elliptical trainer for 30 seconds, slow down for another 30 seconds and repeat. Do it for up to 15 to 20 minutes. Just make sure you don't lean on the handles —that's cheating.
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "Physical Activity and Your Heart"
- Mayo Clinic: "Are Elliptical Machines Better Than Treadmills for Basic Aerobic Workouts?"
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Control of Energy Expenditure in Humans"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- Sports Medicine: "Effect of High-Intensity Interval Training on Total, Abdominal and Visceral Fat Mass: A Meta-Analysis"
- Calorie Control Council: "Get Moving! Calculator"