It’s the age old question that many people have asked when looking to get started with home exercise.
Like so many questions in the fitness world the answer is...
It depends on your individual goals.
It depends on your needs for what you’re looking to achieve.
It depends on simple personal preferences, what you enjoy, and what exercise you can’t stand.
Other factors such as space available will also come into the equation.
Both Machines are Good to Lose Weight
To give a simple answer, for a complete beginner either piece of equipment is fine. You can go for a light walk to get your steps up on the treadmill or you can just as easily go for a steady cycle.
They can both be used to lose weight and allow you to start off with light cardio and build your cardio up as you go.
Doing this along with making changes to your diet, and you will see great improvements in your physical health and appearance over the next 6-8 weeks.
Of course you can just keep upping the intensity on either machine to make yourself work harder and harder as you go.
Personally I have found that beginners are more comfortable upping the intensity on a bike than on a treadmill.
This is usually due to fear of their legs giving way from under them when on the treadmill.
The chances of this happening are very slim. Particularly if you use the hand rails for guidance and support, but getting started on a treadmill can feel awkward. Whereas the bike tends to be far simpler to begin with.
Similarly, the bike is the lower impact option. Which means it’s easier on your joints. And while running has lots of benefits, it does create more stress through the joints. This is certainly something you should consider if you suffer from any knee, hip or ankle pain, injuries or complications.
Using the Exercise Bike Vs the Treadmill
Another important thing to consider is your training style and what you can do on either piece of equipment.
For Interval Training
For example, a big advantage the bike has over the treadmill is the ease at which you can perform interval training.
Interval training is a very popular form of training that puts the body in a high state of calorie burn, meaning it will still be burning calories for hours after your workout.
This is obviously great to make sure you get the most out of your training time.
The fact you are simply sitting on the bike means you can go as hard as possible and then just slow down whenever you need to.
Resistance is also easily adjusted with a simple turn of the handle.
Whereas on a treadmill it’s not so easy. You either have to hop off, which can be tricky for beginners, or allow time for the treadmill to slow right back down again.
This then adds time to the intervals and prevents you from sticking to short sharp intervals like you can do on a bike.
With the stationary bike as well, you can also up the intensity by way of increasing the resistance and/ or the speed, without much (if any) added stress on the joints.
With most bikes having varying degrees of difficulty it’s really easy to up the level and push yourself as you continue to progress.
While this can also be done on a treadmill, it’s a bit trickier and beginners tend to be more nervous on them.
For Low Impact Exercise
With the bike being lower impact, it also benefits the muscles and joints. So if you find you have issues with this then I would recommend the bike for sure.
This is especially important to consider for seniors or if you have any health conditions such as arthritis.
The bike also gets the vote if you are coming back from injuries, knee injuries in particular.
Physios will often recommend the bike as a starting point for light low impact cardio to build things up before progressing on to other methods.
Being on the bike means there’s no danger of twisting the knee and you don’t have the type of impact you will get from pounding on the roads or a treadmill.
So far, it might seem that the bike is the out and out winner. But that’s not necessarily the case.
Keen runners are obviously going to give the treadmill their vote.
Depending on where you live in the world you may not be able to go outside for a run all year round so you will need a plan B.
A good treadmill will allow you to build up a very good pace and you can also run on an incline to increase the difficulty.
This allows you to get a really good workout in and of course you can run for as long as you want in the safety of your own home so you can keep up your times.
It’s also great for a casual walk so you can get those steps up on your Fitbit, getting simple activity levels up is very important when it comes to weight loss.
A good quality treadmill will always have less impact on the joints than road running.
So while not as low impact as a bike it is a good way for a runner to mix up their training and take the punishment off their body.
Given that we spend so much of our days sitting down it’s also got the benefit of having us upright and stretching ourselves out.
Which we don’t get from sitting on a bike.
So all in all, it’s important for you to remember what YOU want and what YOU need. That will help you decide which is best for you.
If it’s simple fat loss then it will always boil down to the simple fact of “Eat less, Move more” so either a treadmill or an exercise bike can help you on your weight loss goals.
After all, you could read 100’s of articles online and listen to all the podcasts. But this is the big point people miss — what makes sense for you in your situation.
And that’s why people bounce about from program to program wondering why they never make any progress.
There are many methods to burn up calories and burn belly fat. And whether it is with an exercise bike such as a spin bike or stationary bike or with a treadmill then don’t be afraid to stick with what you enjoy.
On the other hand if you are recovering from a specific injury and your physio has told you what to do then you will need to work off that program.
Forget what everyone else is doing and do what works for you. So take onboard all that was mentioned above and then make your decision about which piece of exercise equipment you want to go with.