What Is Better for You, Jogging or Elliptical?

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Whether you jog or use an elliptical machine, you’ll still be able to get a good cardio workout. Jogging on a treadmill can help build speed and endurance and burn calories. Elliptical machines can simultaneously work the upper and lower body without putting stress on the joints. Instead of choosing a single cardio machine to use, you should consider adding both for a cross-training workout.

Expert Insight

A 1996 study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the treadmill performed better than other cardio machines for enhancing energy expenditure. If you are able to optimize energy expenditure, you can exercise for longer periods of time and burn more calories. Cardio machines compared to the treadmill during the study include the stair stepper, cross-country ski machine, AirDyne, rowing machine and exercise bike.


You’ll burn slightly more calories using an elliptical machine than jogging. Harvard Health Publications reports that a 155-lb person will burn a total of 298 calories when jogging for 30 minutes at 5 mph while the same person would burn a total of 335 calories when using the elliptical machine at a moderate pace for 30 minutes.


In some cases, using an elliptical machine instead of jogging can be advantageous. For instance, if you suffer from knee or joint problems, an elliptical machine reduces the amount of impact you sustain during exercise. Additionally, pedaling in reverse and pumping attached ski poles can work different muscles in the body to change up your workout routine.


Instead of choosing jogging over using an elliptical machine, consider adding both to a cross-training workout. When you cross-train, you use multiple machines to work different muscles in your body. A sample cross-training exercise routine would be to jog on the treadmill for 20 minutes, use the elliptical machine for 20 minutes and ride an exercise bike for 20 minutes.