An elliptical machine has an up and down motion that works the muscles in your legs.

Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Some elliptical machines tell you how much work you have done in revolutions per minute, or RPMs, rather than miles. If this information is not helpful to you in understanding how far you are going when you exercise, you can easily calculate an estimate of the distance you are traveling in miles. When working out on your elliptical you are not moving in a straight line because of the up and down motions, so remember that you are doing more work than a straight-line mile on another type of machine.

Find the number of RPMs per mile or the length of the stride on your elliptical machine. You might be able to find this information in your owner's manual, by calling the manufacturer or by comparing a similar brand of elliptical machine. This is the easiest way to go.

Measure using a tape measure if you cannot find the exact stride length, or number of miles, elsewhere. You will measure the furthest point that the machine goes towards the front, or the toe of the front pedal, and the furthest point to the back, or the heel of the back pedal. Hold the tape measure from these two points and measure the length of the stride in inches.

Calculate further to how many RPMs are completed in one mile. One mile is 63,360 inches and there are two strides per revolution. Divide 63,360 by 2, which is 31,680 inches. Divide 31,680 by the stride length. For example, if the stride measurement on your machine is 36 inches, divide 31,680 by 36 to get 880. This number is how many revolutions that you need for one mile.

Determine the amount of time that it takes to do one mile on your elliptical machine. This is the total number of revolutions to do one mile divided by your average RPMs. If you do 50 RPMs and it takes 880 revolutions for one mile, you need to exercise for 17.6 minutes to do one mile.

Change the calculations if you would prefer to measure distance in another form, such as kilometers. The format of the equations will basically remain the same, but the units and amounts will be different.

Consider other methods of tracking your workouts. The distance you go during each workout can help you track your progress over time, but so can looking at your calorie burn, or the number of strides taken within a specific time. Find a measure of progress that aligns with your goals to stay motivated from workout to workout.

### Items you will need

Calculator

Tape measure

Paper

- Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images