By AARON DORKSEN – 3G Cardio Fitness Editor
Exercise bike or treadmill?
Oftentimes a person can only pick one of those fitness options due to a lack of space in their workout area, or budget concerns. It’s an important decision to make because people need to own equipment that they’ll use and will best fit their workout needs.
Before I list some of the biggest differences to consider, first let’s consider some of the similarities.
Treadmills and exercise bikes are the two most popular, common cardio machines on the market and both come in a huge amount of different brands, sizes and prices. Many of the options that you can get for a treadmill or exercise bike are the same, too, including features such as heart and pulse rate sensors, as well as pre-set and custom workouts.
Here are some important differences between a treadmill and exercise bike to help finalize your choice:
There are basically two types of exercise bikes – recumbent and upright. Exercise bikes and treadmills have weight limits, but large people may not always fit on an exercise bike. Make sure to check and make sure that you can comfortably use an exercise bike if you’re above-average size because the space between the seat and main column might not be wide enough.
To ride most exercise bikes, a person also has to be able to bend their knees at a 90-degree angle, so take that into consideration.
Using an exercise bike is a low-impact activity. Because you are in a seated position while using an exercise bike, there will not be much exertion on the ankles, knee, hips or spine.
Exercise bikes are excellent for people who want to exercise their leg muscles and get their heart rates elevated, but don’t want to aggravate conditions such as arthritis, or back or knee problems.
If you don’t have a problem walking, then a treadmill is a good option because it simulates being on flat or inclined surfaces.
MAXIMIZE YOUR TIME
There are countless people who feel comfortable using a treadmill and choose this option over an exercise bike.
Nearly any study will show that on average a person burns more calories on a treadmill than an exercise bike. The reason is that on a treadmill you are bearing your entire body weight and will move your arms and torso.
According to wellnesswatchersmd, “At the same intensity, a treadmill will burn more calories per hour (750) than a stationary bike (550).”
On recumbent bikes, the upper body is not very active.
Of course, in some instances a person can actually burn more calories on an exercise bike. If they ride on difficult settings, they’ll exert more calories than a person who walks at a slow pace.
A treadmill will typically cost a bit more than an exercise bike, take up more room and be much heavier to move.
There might be a little sticker shock for some people when they see that a good treadmill can cost between $3,000-$5,000 or more. However, a typical high-end treadmill should last 10 -15 years, while a $50 per month gym membership for two people can easily cost $1,200 or more a year.
UPRIGHT OR RECUMBENT BIKE?
If you’re leaning toward getting an exercise bike, make sure to know the key differences between an upright and recumbent bike.
Kids learn to ride on bikes that are basically like upright exercise bikes. There is no back support and they really work out the legs, especially the quads. If you’re an avid outdoor cyclist, an upright exercise bike is the next best thing to riding outdoors during the winter months, when it’s dark out or when there’s adverse weather.
Upright bikes are also a great way to warm up before a workout, cool down and-or get a cardio workout on.
All things considered, treadmills and exercise bikes are both great investments if you think you’ll be able to use them regularly. 3G Cardio has award-winning treadmills and exercise bikes at a variety of price points and size.
If you’re able to put both a treadmill and exercise bike in your workout room, that might be ideal.
“For all aerobic exercises, you need a minimum of 20 minutes on any machine to get real benefit,” wellnesswatchersmd stated. “If you don’t have a heart monitor, a good rule of thumb is to sustain your activity at a point where you can carry on a conversation with some difficulty.”
If you have to pick just one, get the machine that you’ll use more.
“Either (a treadmill or exercise bike) will help you in your quest for weight loss or improved health, but sticking with your option is the most important so choose the piece of equipment you are most likely to continue using,” wellnesswatchersmd stated. “The best option is to purchase and use both, provided you have the space in your home and your budget.”
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.