Do Elliptical Machines Accurately Estimate Calories Burned?

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You look down and feel good…1000 Calories burned on the elliptical!! You deserve to get a cheat meal now.  Do Elliptical Machines Accurately Estimate Calories Burned? Hold on…based on the newest study on the International Journal of Exercise Science, many elliptical machines do not accurately estimate the correct calories burned.  The elliptical trainer has gained increased popularity in the fitness industry as a non-impact exchange for treadmill running. In fact, sales have increased as more and more walkers/joggers switch over to the elliptical trainer to meet their weight loss goals. Many users cite that the exercise is easier to perform than treadmill work with greater returns in energy expenditures.  Research has indicated that the elliptical trainer does not actually require the body to use the amount of calories calculated by the machine. The researchers tested the accuracy of Life Fitness (95X) and Precor (EFX 556i) elliptical exercise trainers which are very popular in fitness centers. Three men and three women performed exercise sessions on each elliptical trainer on 3 separate occasions (2 bouts per day). The order of the machines used for each exercise session was randomized. Each exercise bout lasted 12 minutes (2-min warmup at a resistance of 3, rpm of 70; 10-min measure period at a resistance of 10, rpm of 70). During the test oxygen consumption; heart rate was measured using a Polar heart rate monitor and energy expenditure calculated by the metabolic cart. Heart rate , volume of oxygen consumption, and energy expenditure data were recorded each minute of the 10 minute exercise session. At the end of the study, the “Life Fitness EFX 556i slightly underestimates, while the Precor model EFX 556i overestimates exercise energy expenditure. So if your going to choose an elliptical to use at the gym, be aware that the calories burned while exercising on these machines is not very accurate and you can either underestimate or overestimate the amount of calories burned.

Vallecillos, Kevin, et al. “Do Elliptical Trainers Accurately Estimate Energy Expenditure?.” International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings. Vol. 2. No. 7. 2015.

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