Is 15 Minutes on the Elliptical Enough (Expert Advice)

An elliptical can be an excellent tool for anyone who wants to get in shape. Whether you prefer to lose weight or, just need a little cardio in between your busy days, this machine is going to be your absolute favorite. Now, many people wonder whether or not is 15 minutes on the elliptical enough. I’d have to say it depends, and it’s a complex thing to answer.

15 minutes on the elliptical will guarantee that you’re getting your exercises for the day which includes- walking, running and chair climbing simulations. It is a great way to lose weight by cardio. But spending a bit longer on the elliptical may provide you faster results. 

To be fair, 15 minutes is a short amount of time, and if you are a person who does not exercise much, then you need to do considerably more than this. Because this is a very low-impact exercise, which works for your core muscles, back muscles, and weight loss. So, for best results, based on your goal, you should follow a workout routine, and include other exercises as well.

How Long Should You Be on The Elliptical?

The general conception is that you need to spend at least 150 minutes on the elliptical per week to see some noticeable changes fast. Experts say to workout on the elliptical 30 minutes per day for 5 days a week. Even 15 minutes will do, but the result will come much slower.  

Our bodies are different, and hence it requires specific measurements before we try to achieve something by exercising. Your height, weight, gender, eating habits, and even your sleeping schedule will highly be considered before you start a routine. Also, you need to be aware of your medical conditions.

Regardless of all these factors, a healthy human body needs at least a 30-minute exercise, for both weight loss, and cardio. For ellipticals, it’s required to exercise 150 minutes per week. So if you work out 5 days, a week, you should be able to spend 30 minutes on the elliptical machine per day. The time can of course be reduced or increased, depending on your specific needs.

The intensity of your exercises is another important factor to consider. When using an elliptical, you will notice, there are options for beginners and pros. Those settings can be adjusted from ‘maximum resistance’ to a ‘low resistance’ depending on your conditions. As a beginner, you should always start low and increase intensity as you gain strength and endurance with time.

If you want your core to be stronger, you should work out on an elliptical machine for 25-40 minutes each day. Other exercises such as planks, Russian twists, leg raise-ups, and donkey kicks can be part of your warm-up routine before you start. For weight loss programs, you should do 30-50 minute complete body workouts after using the elliptical.

Some Benefits of 15 minutes on the Elliptical

15 minutes is a short time, but that does not mean the exercise won’t have an effect on you. Elliptical machines mainly target the leg muscles at the beginning. They then move on to your belly and arms. Hence, if you only have 15 minutes for exercising on an elliptical, these are some of the areas you can focus on.

1. Burn that Stubborn Belly Fat

If you have an elliptical trainer with adjustable levels of intensity, then a 15-minute intense workout could be worthwhile. Increase the resistance of your machine, and paddle as fast as you can. The burn will be felt first on your legs, and gradually progress to your thigh muscles. Don’t stop until you feel your heart is racing and focus on your movements.

About 2 minutes afterward, you will feel soreness in your arms and hip muscles. That is when you’ll know, your exercise is working. When your abdomen starts to burn, focus on deep breaths and the pace of your whole body with the elliptical. After you are done, sit down and relax. Do not eat or drink immediately after, as it might make you feel sick.

2. Intense Leg Workout

A word of advice- never skip leg days!! I understand leg days are difficult and don’t seem necessary, but trust me, it is! When you skip leg days for some time, your body starts to look disproportionate. Also, if you want to lose weight faster, leg exercises are your way in! Because it increases your metabolism and calorie burn, even after the workout sessions!

So, if you have 15 minutes on your hand, then focus on your legs at least 2 days a week. Therefore, this would involve at least 30 minutes of leg exercises per week. Do more if you can, and with time increase your difficulty levels. Pedaling faster on the elliptical keeps your body and mind actively participating in the process, so you will be more conscious of your gains.

3. Injury Fitness

Spending 15 minutes on the elliptical machine can be an easy way to get your body used to movements again if you’re injured and can’t perform your usual exercise routines.

As it’s a very low-impact exercise (for the adjustments settings), it puts comparatively less pressure on your joints, and muscles than other training machines. However, be sure to consult with your physician about it.

4. Balance Improvement

Your overall posture will also improve if you do 15 minutes on the elliptical machine. While peddling, sit straight and let go of the handles for your body to entirely focus on your backbone.

In addition to straightening it, this technique will also strengthen your back muscles over time. Progress will take time, so don’t rush into it.

5. Optimal Cardio Capacity and Stamina

Cardio exercises are crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It works on your heart, lungs, blood flow, and more. So if you want an easy approach for it, elliptical should be your choice.

Also, you’ll find, when you exercise regularly, you experience an increase in stamina, which helps you feel less agitated throughout the day. Ellipticals are the best for boosting endurance. 

How Long Is Too Long on The Elliptical?

There are no specific measurements when it comes to how much time you should spend on a piece of equipment. But spending too much time, let’s say an hour to 3 hours, on the elliptical should be avoided. Whenever you work out, you should think about your specific objective, and determine how much time you need for it.

Feel free to mix and match your workouts if you go to the gym and have access to other machines. It will keep you entertained and keep you out of distress. Always remember, a healthy diet is also the path to get fit, and only exercise won’t help you lose fat overnight. So, do not stress yourself by spending too much time on the elliptical.

Can Being on The Elliptical Too Much Cause You Harm?

Under any reasonable time, ellipticals won’t cause you any harm. It is common for beginners to experience muscle soreness around their knees and back, but this is the case for all exercises.

You may also suffer from dehydration if you don’t take breaks in between your sessions.  Therefore, you should only use ellipticals until you need it, and never more than that. You can increase your frequency of use by following a routine, using proper methods. Be patient with your body, as it takes some time for the progress to be visible.


Ellipticals are great for burning fat, cardio, leg workouts, you name it! So, is 15 minutes on the elliptical enough exercise for you or not, it will depend on circumstances related to you and how you are using that machine.

Nevertheless, just have to decide what you want to achieve, and work towards it. A 15-minute workout is still better than no workout. So you be the judge!

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