Looking to get back in shape and burn some calories without going to the gym? Let’s check Treadmill vs. Bike! Especially in this unprecedented time of social distancing, it’s great to have a convenient way to work out at home. Treadmills and exercise bikes are both great sources of cardio, so it could be a bit tough to come to a decision about which one is best for you.
There are plenty of pros and cons to both treadmills and exercise bikes, which, at first glance, makes the decision a bit tougher, but things are more clear cut when you get down to the nitty-gritty, since there’s very little overlap in the advantages of one compared to the other. It really comes down to what your fitness goals are and what sort of training regiment is best for you. Of course, I know that it’s always so simple to know what’s best, and I’ll be sure to help you figure that out as you read this article.
By the time you finish you finish this article, you’ll have a good understanding of the nuanced differences between treadmills and exercise bikes, and you’ll be ready to decide which one is better for your particular fitness needs.
Which Is Better for Burning Calories?
The first thing 99% of people, especially in the United States, want to accomplish in their workout is burning calories. When it comes to that, there’s no real contest of treadmill vs bike. Treadmills have exercise bikes beat. Nothing works up a sweat quite like running.
Now, what are the benefits of burning calories?
First and foremost, burning calories equals weight loss. So if that’s your number one goal, a treadmill is the way to go. But beyond that, there are the actual health benefits that come from burning calories that don’t come from, say, dieting.
Getting your heart rate up is good for you. Ironically, you’ll feel more awake and have more energy if you’re actually using some of that pent up energy. An increased heart rate from time to time will really spill over and improve other areas of your life.
So if your goal is specifically to lose weight or to get your heart rate up a bit and just feel better, you’ll definitely want to buy a treadmill over an exercise bike.
Which Is Safer?
I’ll start by saying there are two different factors to think about when considering safety. The first is the risk of sudden and immediate injuries caused by accidents like falling. The second factor is just long-term stress on your body. In both regards, an exercise bike is a much better option than a treadmill.
While better than outdoor running, treadmills put a lot of stress on your knees and other joints in your lower body. That constant pounding against a hard surface is just not very good for your feet or legs. Of course, unless you’re logging a pretty extreme amount of hours on your treadmill, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but it’s definitely important to consider.
As for immediate injuries, which may be a more pressing concern for most customers, you’re also better off sticking with an exercise bike. One wrong fall on a treadmill can, unfortunately, lead to a not-insignificant injury. That being said, most treadmills do have safety features to prevent, or at least minimize, these types of injuries.
Exercise bikes, on the other hand, offer a low-impact way of getting your heart up and burning those calories without abusing your knees too much. I should say, though, that if your posture isn’t great while you’re getting your bike workout in, you may end up with some back pain.
At the end of the day, no matter which way you look at it, if you’re concerned with avoiding injuries, then an exercise bike is definitely the right purchase for you.
Which Is Better for Muscle Definition?
If you’re looking to really put on pounds of muscle and get jacked, then there’s no substitute for hitting the weight room and pumping iron on some weight-based exercise machines. That being said, if you’re looking for more supplemental muscle gains, at least in your lower body, then exercise bikes definitely come out on top in our exercise bike vs treadmill matchup.
You’re not going to come away with “never skip leg day” legs, but you’ll have plenty of tone and some seriously ripped calves, if you’re really hitting your exercise bike and putting in the time and work. You won’t really see any gains in terms of muscle, if your main source of exercise is running on the treadmill. Of course, as we mentioned, you will burn more calories, so there’s a bit of a tradeoff here. But if you want ripped legs, stick to the exercise bike.
Which Is Cheaper?
Now let’s get to the part that’s, unfortunately, the real deal-breaker for most customers – money. Treadmills and exercise bikes both fall into a pretty broad price range, so you’re definitely able to cut back and save if you need to, but you also have the option for a high-grade machine if you so desire.
With that said, exercise bikes are definitely, on average, cheaper than treadmills. On the cheaper end, treadmills cost about $300 and change, while they can go up to $500 and even $1000 on the extremely expensive side of things.
This is compared to exercise bikes, which average out at about $350, as much as the cheapest treadmills. You can easily find cheaper stationary bikes that are less than $200, though there are more expensive options that are in the $500 range. Any way you spin it, when you’re evaluating price, stationary bikes once again win our exercise bike vs treadmill matchup.
Is an Exercise Bike Good for Cardio?
A stationary bike is still very good for cardio. Basically, anything that doesn’t involve low rep, high-intensity interval training (like weight lifting) is great for your cardio and – by extension – good for shaving off those holiday pounds. Anything that uses your body weight is a reliable source of cardio for the most part. Of course, running on a treadmill is still a better way to burn more calories.
Which Is Better for Multitasking?
For a lot of people, the biggest obstacle to working out isn’t the workout, it’s the boredom and repetitiveness. If you need to stay busy while you exercise, treadmills and bikes are both great options. But which is better mostly depends on what sort of multitasking you’re going to be doing.
Treadmills are great for listening to music or podcasts, and most have a slot for your phone so you can even watch a lecture or a TV show. Of course, if you need your hands, then the treadmill is definitely not the way to go, and you should stick to the bike.
Conclusion: Bike vs Treadmill
That brings us to the end of our article, and before we announce our winner, I want to break down our more specific points quickly for anyone who’s still torn. Remember, the real “winner” here mostly depends on your fitness needs, so that’s what we’ll be focusing on.
If you want the best value for money, buy a bike.
Bikes are much cheaper than most treadmills, and you can still get a really great workout from them with some. If you’re really just focused on keeping it cheap, go with a bike.
If you want to burn as many calories as possible, buy a treadmill.
Running is the absolute best way to get your heart rate up and burn some calories. And while running outside can be nice, there’s something great about being able to get your morning jog in without going outside, especially if you live in a colder area or you’re on a tight schedule. Plus, a treadmill is better for your feet than running outside. If you want to trim that belly fat and feel the burn, start running.
If you want to avoid joint stress, buy a bike.
We mentioned just now that a treadmill is better for your body than jogging outside, but a bike is better than either. There’s no constant contact involved in riding a bike, so your joints will mostly be let off the hook. You’re also getting a better workout for your legs in terms of muscle building.
My humble verdict is that, overall, a bike is the superior workout machine. It’s easier on your joints, will build some muscle in your legs, and it’s cheaper. Plus, you have the option of using your hands while you ride. The exception is that if you want to really trim the fat and get rid of that belly while getting your heart in better shape, then you should definitely take up jogging over cycling.
That’s it for now. We hope you’ve helped you make your decision, and we wish you the best of luck on your fitness journey!