How long should I spend on each one of them?
By AARON DORKSEN – 3G Cardio Fitness Editor
Which is better to exercise on – a treadmill or an exercise bike?
My answer without hesitation is BOTH. As for how long you should use these machines, read on but remember that one size doesn’t fit all.
Generally speaking, running on a treadmill will burn more calories and work your muscles more in a shorter period of time than using an exercise bike.
However, if you aren’t able to run very fast, or run at all, then it’s entirely possible that you could get a better workout on an exercise bike.
PROS AND CONS
*Feel the burn – According to topfitnessmag.com, an average-sized adult can burn 90 more calories in a half-hour on a treadmill than on an exercise bike.
“A 30 minute treadmill running session at 6 mph for a 155 pound adult will burn around 350 calories,” topfitnessmag.com reported. “The same size adult will burn around 260 calories in 30 minutes on a Spin bike at a steady pace.”
However, if you are able to keep up with the pace at a spin class, or even come close, you might actually burn more calories than running at 6 mph on a treadmill.
“A Spinning class is much more intense so you can expect to burn anywhere from 400-600 calories if you push yourself,” topfitnessmag.com stated.
From Woman.thenest.com: “A 160-pound person can burn over 600 calories per hour at the leisurely pace of 5 mph (in a spinning class). Increase the speed to 8 mph and that figure jumps to over 800 per hour.”
*Interval training – Interval training is a fantastic way to maximize your workout on a treadmill or exercise bike. (NOTE: Check with a doctor before starting an interval training program).
Mayoclinic.org defines interval training as, “simply alternating short bursts (approximately 30 seconds) of intense activity with longer intervals (three to four minutes) of less intense activity.”
Once you’re in better shape, you can stretch out the hard part of the interval training for longer durations. For example, you might run for five minutes and walk for two and repeat.
Or, you might run hard for 3 minutes and then jog slower for one minute and repeat. The same things can be done on an exercise bike, riding hard for bursts and then going slower.
I talked to a chiropractor recently who told me that he recommends interval training for runners because it’s easier on the joints than just going out and running for 15-20 minutes without walking at all. He’s a former cross country runner, but now in his 50s actually does interval training himself, running for parts of the workout and then walking for other stretches.
*Proceed with caution – If you’ve experienced pain in the knees, hips, ankles, etc., a weight-bearing exercise like running on a treadmill should be done with caution. If that’s the case, using an exercise bike might be the best choice.
Biking isn’t without risks, too. You can strain your back and hips if done wrong. Make sure to keep a neutral spine position, rather than curving or arching your lower back.
Whether you use a treadmill or bike, make sure to stretch out before and after.
SOMETHING IN COMMON
What’s great about having both a treadmill and exercise bike in your gym is that they can both be used in a controlled, safe environment whenever you want.
If these machines are in your home gym, you don’t have to worry about weather or safety issues outside, or annoying people at a public gym. You can control everything in your gym, from the temperature, to the TV or music.
There are great options for treadmills and exercise bikes to fit all workout needs at a variety of price points.
One brand that really stands out is 3G Cardio, which has award-winning treadmills and exercise bikes. They are health club quality for people who need to follow a household budget.
I like to warm up and cool down on an exercise bike. I think it’s great for loosening before stretching and then I run.
You should also consider cross training. It’s a great way to keep the body fresh and lose weight.
Topfitnessmag.com gives the following example of cross training: “Monday might be running while Wednesday could be spinning then back to running on Friday. Throwing in a bit of swimming, too, can maximize the rewards you get across your whole body. Those who only run may tend to develop knee problems, where as those who only Spin can develop poor posture and tight hips from the forward lean. So the answer may be to mix them up.”
That’s great advice!
The best tip I can add in conclusion is to use both a treadmill and exercise bike and find a workout that fits your body type and goals. It’s Ok to be a little sore after a workout, but if you’re so sore that you can’t exercise for a week after you need to change what you’re doing.
The best workout plan is one that you can sustain and improve upon over the long haul. When it comes to exercising, consistency is the key and using both a treadmill and exercise bike is a great way to maximize your potential.
NOTE: Consult a doctor or certified fitness trainer before starting any new workout program to determine if it’s right for your needs. This is especially true if you (or your family) have a history of high blood pressure or heart disease. If you experience faintness, dizziness, pain or shortness of breath at any time while exercising you should stop immediately.