How Long (and Often) Should I Use an Elliptical For?

Elliptical machines are fun, challenging, and engaging. However, you should always listen to your body and strive to work out smarter, not harder.

That brings us to an essential question:

How long and how often should you use an elliptical?

Read along as we discuss all facets of that issue, breaking down the science behind it.

How Many Days a Week Should You Use the Elliptical to See Results?

Generally, you should only use the elliptical 3-4 days/ week. Here’s why:

Elliptical machines offer total-body training, creating quite a bit of resistance. If you’ve tried an elliptical before, you know that that’s true.

You’re also quite familiar with the soreness you feel after your workout on the elliptical.

That’s the most important rule of thumb:

If you’re still highly sore the next day, you shouldn’t work out on the elliptical again. Allowing your muscles to relax is crucial because:

  • You avoid injury. Pushing your inflamed muscles to more work than they can handle leads to ruptures.
  • You keep your metabolism running at high rates. Over-exercising increases cortisol release, which, in turn, affects your metabolic rate. Slowing down your metabolism leads to weight gain plus a host of endocrine issues like diabetes or thyroid problems.

That brings us to the following question:

Is It Bad To Use the Elliptical Every Day?

is it bad to use the elliptical every day?

Using the elliptical daily is terrible if you’re overstressing your muscles and joints. If your body feels highly sore after the previous day’s workout, you shouldn’t use the elliptical again.

However, using the elliptical daily is okay if you’re:

  • Working out at a light speed and resistance so that your muscles aren’t sore.
  • Using your elliptical just for short periods, such as during a full-body warm-up or cool-down.

How Many Days a Week Should You Use the Elliptical to Lose Weight?

You should use the elliptical 3-4 days/week to lose weight, but that’s not the whole story.

You should also:

  • Incorporate strength training or resistance-based training in your workouts. These exercises accelerate your metabolic rate and thus, help you burn more calories even when you’re resting.
  • Mind the duration of your workout. Over-exercising can damage your muscle and joints, plus it can lower your metabolic rate. As such, 30 to 60-minute sessions are more than enough to see good progress.
  • Consider HIIT workouts. Choose an elliptical with plenty of built-in HIIT programs that are proven to increase your resting metabolism. By contrast, steady-state cardio decreases metabolic rate and, thus, can lead to weight loss plateaus or even weight gain.

1-Month Elliptical Results – 30-Day Elliptical Weight Loss Results

When it comes to weight loss, there’s no shortage of opinions about what works and what doesn’t. One popular piece of advice is to stick to routines that require as little time as possible for maximum results. 

10 Minutes/Day

elliptical 10 minutes a day

Theoretically, if you’re spending only 10 minutes per day on an elliptical, you could lose a significant amount of weight in just a month. While this promise is enticing, the reality is a bit more complicated.

It’s essential to keep your heart rate up to lose weight through exercise. 

But while many people focus exclusively on the length of time they spend working out, research shows that intensity matters just as much as duration when it comes to physical activity. Using advanced metrics like VO2 max or lactate threshold can help you find the right level of intensity for your workout routine. 

In fact, some experts believe that shorter sessions can lead to better results over time than longer ones because they offer higher quality workouts with less time commitment.

Of course, each person’s needs are unique, and all methods have varying degrees of success depending on individual factors like height/weight ratio and medical history. 

Will 20 Minutes a Day on the Elliptical Help Me Lose Weight?

Ten minutes on the elliptical burns 102 calories if you’re 150 pounds, 122 calories if you’re 180 pounds, and 170 if you’re 250 pounds.

As such, you can expect to burn 204-340 calories in 20 minutes and 306-510 calories in 30 minutes on an elliptical.

Remember that 3500 calories are the equivalent of a pound of weight burnt. So, 20 minutes/ day on the elliptical can help you melt that pound of fat in 10-17 days.

Therefore, the answer is yes: 20 minutes on an elliptical can help you lose weight.

However, that weight loss depends on:

  • Individual variables. For example, the younger you are, the more calories you burn. Overweight or obese people and males also lose weight faster. 
  • Exercise type. At high resistance, twenty minutes of intense HIIT burns more calories than 20 minutes of slow-paced, steady-state cardio on your elliptical.

Bottom line: if your goal is to lose weight quickly, challenge yourself on the elliptical by working out smartly.

Warning: Remember to include a warm-up and cool-down to avoid injuries.

Are 30 Minutes on the Elliptical Enough to Lose Weight? 

30 minutes on elliptical

Thirty minutes on the elliptical are more than enough to lose weight if you’re challenging yourself with the best workouts.

That means you’ll want to: 

  • Push yourself as hard as you can, according to your fitness level. Remember to listen to your body and stop exercising immediately if you’re in pain or get nauseous. If anything like that happens, it means you’ve pushed yourself over your fitness level.
  • Get your body in the fat-burning zone. Remember to choose an elliptical that offers different HIIT programs and heart-rate-based workouts. These exercises accelerate your heart rate so that your body can quickly enter the fat-burning zone, during which it uses your fat stores for energy.
  • Keep active throughout the day. Go for a walk during your lunch break, play with your kids, run with your dog, dance when nobody sees you. Staying active helps you burn many more calories during the day.
  • Eat healthily. Your diet keeps you healthy to exercise better and become even stronger. Thus, eating the right foods gives you more energy to work out and helps your body eliminate the substances that damage your muscles.

With that in mind, let’s answer an even more burning question:

45-60 minutes/day

There is no magic bullet or easy shortcut when it comes to losing weight and getting fit. 

However, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can dramatically transform your body by exercising regularly on the elliptical for 45 minutes per day. This amount of exercise will help you shed 10-12 pounds and sculpt your physique into a lean, toned body in just a month. 

But don’t be fooled by the ease and simplicity of this workout routine; even though it requires less than an hour per day, it is still incredibly challenging, pushing your heart rate and muscles to their limits. 

And the benefits of a regular elliptical workout go far beyond just shedding excess weight: with consistent training, you’ll find yourself more energetic throughout the day, better able to handle stress, able to sleep more soundly at night, and with a greater sense of overall well-being. 

So if you really want to take your fitness and health to the next level, hop on that elliptical machine today and start working towards excellent results!

Using An Elliptical 30 Minutes A Day – 2 Months Results

elliptical 1 month results

Using an elliptical has been shown to produce noticeable results in just two months. 

According to studies, regular usage of 30 minutes per day for 60 days leads to increased fitness and better cardiovascular health. 

And it doesn’t take long for those results to start showing: 

Many people report feeling more energized after just a week or so of regular use, with their weight gradually beginning to decrease over the following few weeks as they tone their muscles and shed excess fat. 

Depending on how much time you spend exercising during these two months, you’ll notice the same results we dissected in the previous section – just better. After 60 days, exercising is part of your lifestyle, and so you’ll notice improved health apart from being closer to your weight goals.

How Long on Elliptical for 10,000 Steps?

According to Albemarle Regional Health Services, you want to multiply the number of minutes you’re on the elliptical by 203 to get the total number of steps you’re doing.

That means you’ll have to work out for 49.26 minutes on the elliptical to get to 10,000 steps. 

Also, you need about 2000 steps for one mile, so:

  • You’ll squeeze in 5 miles during a 50-minute workout.
  • Thirty minutes on the elliptical equals 6090 steps, which is the equivalent of three miles.

In Conclusion

You should use the elliptical for however long and often you want if you’re not in any pain and if it helps you reach your goals. As you can see, 20 minutes or even 10 minutes are enough on the elliptical to lose weight fast, if you’re doing HIIT or heart-rate-based workouts and if you’re adjusting your diet correctly.

Experts recommend using the elliptical just 3-4 days/ week, so you’ll want to take a one-day break in-between your workouts. However, if your fitness level allows you to exercise just for short periods at low intensity, you can certainly use that elliptical every day or even multiple times per day.

Bottom line: Take into account your current fitness level, schedule, and goals before exercising and even before choosing the right elliptical.

You want to adjust that machine’s resistance and choose the right programs according to your needs. That’s the only way to avoid unnecessary pain, weight loss plateaus, and ultimately, buyer’s remorse.

Mary D. Brown

2 thoughts on “How Long (and Often) Should I Use an Elliptical For?”

    • Hi Harriet,

      I never got the chance to try a seated elliptical, and there’s hardly any research on how many calories you burn using one. But you’ll burn fewer calories than when you use an elliptical standing up – because when you are seated, you aren’t using as many muscle groups as standing up.

      Sorry I can’t provide a more detailed answer.


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