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Exercise Bike vs Treadmill

Exercise Bikes vs Treadmills

Exercise bikes and treadmills are two of the most popular exercise machine around, both for at-home use and in the gym. They both provide an effective cardio work out and have multiple resistance levels for you to progress through your training.

The aerobic exercise that you get from both exercise bikes and treadmills is extremely beneficial and can even reduce pain. This is because the aerobic exercise causes a release of endorphins, which are hormones that inhibit pain signals and help you feel good. Aerobic exercise has even been proven to improve the symptoms of patients with depressive disorders.

So how do you decide which equipment is best for you? Well, there are a lot of factors to consider. To begin with, let’s look at the pros and cons of both:

Exercise Bikes

exercise bike







As you can see, there are many benefits to both treadmills and exercise bikes.

Exercise Bike Vs. Treadmill For Burning Calories

As mentioned the pros and cons of both exercise machines, you will burn more calories during a workout on a treadmill compared to a workout of the same intensity on an exercise bike. This is mainly due to your position. On an exercise bike, your weight is supported in your seat. However, when running, you are carrying your whole weight and propelling it forward. You will also have less movement of your upper body when using an exercise bike.

Which exercise machine should you choose?

However, while you may burn more calories quicker on a treadmill, you may find you are more inclined to workout for longer on an exercise bike. This may be because it puts less pressure on your joints and therefore you are comfortable for longer, or because you can get a more varied workout on an exercise bike.

If you are spending longer working out on the exercise bike, you will burn more calories than you would on a treadmill, so this dispute between the two exercise machines evens out.

Exercise Bike Vs. Treadmill for Belly Fat

According to the American College for Sports Medicine, an effective way to abdominal fat but maintain muscle mass is high-intensity interval training (HIIT) which can be done on both an exercise bike and a treadmill. Many of the models of both machines come with HIIT programs built into their console to help guide you through your training.

How Does Exercising On A Treadmill Or Exercise Bike Compare To Other Exercise Machines?

Treadmills and exercise bikes are not the only exercise machines which can provide an intense cardio workout. Elliptical machines simulate the running movement without putting a strain on your joints, meaning you can workout harder and longer compared to a treadmill. However, they are less dynamic and therefore are a less varied and interesting workout. Don’t forget to check out our elliptical reviews!

belly fat

Rowing machines, on the other hand, give a more thorough workout for your whole body. Similar to an exercise bike, they give you a low-impact cardio workout which is great if you want to minimize joint pain from working out. However, they can take up a lot more room than the other exercise equipment choices and can be noisy. There is a certain level of skill needed for rowing too, and using the machine incorrectly, for example having a poor posture can result in injury, more so than the other exercise options.

Varying your workout is always beneficial, even just to keep your workout plan interesting. If you can only choose one type of exercise equipment, consider one which has multiple settings to keep you challenged and motivated. Even better, one with built-in programs to keep your workouts interesting each time.

Exercise Bike Vs. Treadmill For Weight Loss

Both exercise bikes and treadmills give you an excellent, vigorous aerobic exercise, and therefore can both be highly effective at helping you shift the pounds.

Even a modest weight loss or 5 to 10% of your starting weight can give you big benefits, according to the CDC. It also says that people who adopt an overall healthier lifestyle and lose weight more gradually, are more likely to keep the weight off. Therefore, it is important that you choose the exercise machine that you think you will enjoy more, and therefore use more often and for longer per session. Running on a treadmill may burn slightly more calories, but if you find you work out for longer each time on an exercise bike, you will burn more calories on the bike.

Other Exercise Equipment

Choosing the exercise, you enjoy more will help you to keep up your new healthier lifestyle so that you will see both short-term and long-term benefits.

Which Exercise Equipment is Better For People With Bad Knees?

The nature of running, whether on a treadmill or in the great outdoors, means that there is a jarring motion on your knees with every step. You will find that running on a treadmill is slightly easier on your joints than running outside as the belt has more give.

In comparison, however, riding an exercise bike is a low-impact exercise, which does not put a strain on your joints, but still provides a great workout for your leg muscles. This will likely mean that your workouts are more enjoyable and that you can keep going for longer, therefore getting better results.

A good reason to choose an exercise bike for your workouts is if you get lower back pain, as the movement of riding an exercise bike does not jolt or put pressure on your lower back muscles and joints. It can also alleviate some of your discomfort in your lower back. With an exercise bike, you don’t have to be hunched over to cycle, unlike a regular outdoor bike, and you can usually raise the handlebars, or you can choose a recumbent exercise bike to get an even more comfortable workout position. You may want to compare upright and recumbent exercise bikes next!

Alternatively, you can choose a recumbent exercise bike, which sits you in a reclined, fully-supported position with the pedals in front of you.

If you are interested in buying an exercise bike, take a look at what we recommend and what we consider to be the top exercise bikes on the market, both upright and recumbent. Out reviews of the best treadmills are on their way!


  1. Chris

    Thank you this has helped me a lot I now have bike and treadmill to alternate and the wife loves the treadmill. Just working out routines.

  2. Mona Jack

    This is amazing, I read it and the first thing that came in my mind was that you covered this topic from every angle. This is the best thing I love about this article. The other thing is your style of writing and the point about “riding an exercise bike is a low-impact exercise, which does not put a strain on your joints” is so accurate and totally relatable as I often suffer pain in my joints so yes, it is correct I can tell you that due to my experience with joint pain that exercise is much better as compared to treadmill. Thanks for sharing all this info. 🙂

  3. Mary barton

    I have found that a recumbent bike does not work abdominal muscles so my waistline has increased. The treadmill helps develop core muscles and decreases belly fat. After my knee replacement surgery I will be going back to the treadmill!

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