Exercise Bike vs Treadmill: Which Is Better?

Are you stuck trying to decide between an exercise bike or a treadmill when looking for the right type of exercise machines for your home gym? Read on to see what we think about which one you should spend your money on.

Treadmill and Spin Bike

Walk into most gyms around the world and you will see that when it comes to cardio, the treadmill and the exercise bike are usually two of the most popular machines out there.

Easy to use and with a host of fitness benefits, both machines can help you to burn calories, lose weight and improve your fitness, but when tasked with picking between the two, and picking a machine that you want to buy for your own home, the decision gets a little trickier.

Should you go for your favorite, the one that you use the most? Or is one of these exercise machines better for you than the other?

If you’ve been plagued by the questions above and you’re finally ready to take a closer look at the options then read on because in this article we’re going to compare, treadmill vs bike, and see if we help to make your decision easier. 

Exercise Machines For Use at Home

People like to exercise at home for a wide range of reasons however when picking your favorite piece of exercise equipment it is also important to consider other factors such as:

  • Where you will store the equipment
  • How often you will use it
  • What your fitness goals are
  • What is your current health and fitness like

Although they may seem like small things to consider, they are extremely important when purchasing equipment for a home gym.

They can both help to achieve the same end goal but treadmills and exercise bikes have different benefits, some of which may favor you more than others, so for that reason, it is always important to do your research first.

Why a Treadmill?

Running is one of the best ways to keep in shape, improve your fitness, and is possibly the only type of fitness training that fully translates to everyday life. Established runners and fitness enthusiasts often enjoy using the treadmill for indoor training, when it gets dark, cold or wet outside, but many others also enjoy using the treadmill as it is easier on the joints than running on concrete. Simple and easy to use, it has become a favored option for home workout enthusiasts everywhere.

Benefits of Using a Treadmill at Home
  • You can burn a high amount of calories when using a treadmill, especially for more advanced users who can run, sprint, or utilize more intense methods such as interval training. Burning calories is a key component when trying to lose weight, making treadmills popular machines for weight loss.
  • By adjusting the settings on the treadmill most users can get the same level of intensity from an indoor treadmill session that they would from running outdoors. By increasing (or decreasing on some treadmills) you can more accurately mimic running outside on different gradients and by increasing the speed of the belt, you can also increase the pace and with it, the difficulty.
  • Treadmills provide instant real-life data when in use, with details such as calories burned, pace, and heart rate all being displayed for the user. This makes it much easier to track performance and to keep an eye on progress over time.
  • Treadmills are equipped with a cushioned tread belt, making it much more comfortable and easier on the joints than running outdoors. This can help to prevent injuries and is also a preferred option for anyone that suffers from flair ups but still enjoys running, for example, someone suffering from a slight injury may still be able to use a treadmill but would struggle with the outside pavement.
Drawbacks of Using a Treadmill at Home  
  • Treadmills can be difficult to use if struggling with a joint or muscle problem or when recovering from injury. Although the cushioned tread belt can help in mild cases, the majority of people with joint pain will struggle to use a treadmill and find each step painful.
  • Many people complain about finding the treadmill boring. When running outside there are many different things to distract your mind, however, a treadmill doesn’t have the same options, making it more difficult to keep your concentration.
  • Treadmills are often very big pieces of kit and difficult to store. If you are someone with limited space then a foldable treadmill should be the priority.
Our thoughts on the Treadmill

Treadmills are fantastic pieces of kit that can help you to improve your health and fitness with a natural compound exercise. However, it must also be considered that for those that suffer from joint or muscle problems, a treadmill could prove problematic as the impact felt on the body could be painful. You could of course lower the intensity by walking, but by doing so you would also limit the number of calories that are being burned.

Why an Exercise Bike?

Exercise bikes come in different shapes and sizes and there is a range of options available including upright stationary bikes, recumbent bikes, and indoor cycling bikes that can be used at home for training or fitness. Cycling has become an extremely popular exercise for those that are looking to lose weight and improve their fitness and many people also enjoy using an exercise bike as it is low impact and easier on the joints than comparable activities that involve running or jumping such as body weight training.

You can still perform many of the advanced methods, such as interval training sessions, on an exercise bike, but in a low impact way.

Benefits of an Exercise Bike
  • A session on an exercise bike can burn more calories than other forms of exercise in the same amount of time, helping users to lose weight.
  • Exercise bikes are low impact machines allowing users to exercise for longer periods without putting extra stress or pressure on their joints.  
  • Exercise bikes can be adaptable to different body types, shapes, and sizes, and often the user can adjust the seat to find their optimal position. This can make using the bike far easier for people with posture problems or those that suffer from back pain. Depending on the type of bike users can also climb on and off of the bike with relative ease.
  • Exercise bikes are simple to use whether it is by an advanced exerciser or a beginner. There is also a range of options available to increase the difficulty of the session, with the user being able to control the resistance used throughout.
  • The LCD screens in the middle of the bikes display vital stats for the person doing the exercise, including calories burned, distance traveled, and RPM, stats such as these make tracking performance far simpler to do.
Drawbacks of an Exercise Bike
  • Exercise bikes are lower-body and quad dominant, meaning that some users won’t get the full development that they need in their lower body across muscles such as the hamstrings or glutes.
  • If the bike height isn’t set up correctly it can lead to inefficient pedal strokes, placing pressure on the hips and knees.
Our thoughts on the Exercise Bike

Exercise bikes are fantastic when looking for low impact exercise machines to help you burn more calories, helping to lose weight. However, it is also worth considering what type of bike works best for you as some may be more beneficial than others. A standard stationary bike is a great option for overall health and fitness whereas a recumbent bike is easier to mount and therefore better for those with mobility problems. If you’re looking for the best way to burn calories on an exercise bike, then you may want to go for an indoor cycling bike, although these can be very intense and may not be suitable for everyone.

Which is Best?

When trying to decide, treadmill vs bike, there really isn’t much to split the two and often, it comes down to personal preference.

Both exercise machines offer users the chance to burn calories, contributing to your weight loss efforts, and although the movements are different you will be able to try more intense workout variations such as interval training sessions or steady-state cardio.

However, it is also worth remembering that there are some caveats to this and unfortunately, it’s not always straightforward.

If you suffer from any type of joint, muscle, or mobility problems then the exercise bike may be the better option. Exercise bikes are low impact in nature and will allow you to train for prolonged periods without adding extra stress or pressure to your joints.

Alternatively, if you want a body weight style compound exercise that can benefit the whole body, then the treadmill may be the best option.

If you enjoy running and the treadmill is your favorite piece of equipment when visiting the gym then it goes without saying that you should buy a treadmill.

However, if you bore easily when using the treadmill and you’re looking for something a little more dynamic then you may want to go for an exercise bike and the variation of your choice.

 With all that being said its easy to see why picking a winner in the treadmill vs exercise debate is so difficult.
If pressed to make a choice and pick one over the other, our vote would go to the exercise bike with its low impact nature giving it the edge, a key feature that makes it so much more accessible to users of all abilities and fitness levels.

Therefore we feel that an exercise bike could be the best option when looking to purchase more equipment for your home gym.

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