Treadmill & Exercise Bike: Which One Should You Choose for Indoor Exercise?
For anyone who wants to do some exercise at home, the treadmill and exercise bike are great options. These two are popular cardio machines used both in fitness centers and homes worldwide. But which one should you choose if you are not planning on having them both? Although they both can offer you a good workout, differences still exist between them. And the pros and cons of each to a great extent depend on your condition and what you expect to get from exercise.
There are several aspects you should consider while choosing the proper equipment.
What are you exercising for? To develop a daily routine that keeps you healthy? To lose weight? Or to shape your body? For a lot of people, the amount of calories burnt during exercise is their prior consideration. Well, the good news is that both treadmills and exercise bikes are great for burning calories. In most cases, the calorie burn rates on the treadmill can be a little higher as you are bearing the weight of your whole body and using more muscle groups, including the core.
Speaking of that, you might also want to know the exact part of your body these exercises can build. Exercising with a treadmill, either walking or running, can effectively burn the fat on your belly, and strengthen your heart, and most of your muscles and bones throughout the body. On the other hand, an exercise bike certainly trains fewer muscle groups since you barely need to support or move your upper body. But it specializes in strengthening your glutes, calves, and thighs. And is also effective in improving pulmonary and cardiovascular functions. Therefore, unless you are aiming for preparing for certain specific activities, like marathon runs or triathlons, treadmills and exercise bikes don’t have much difference.
It is worth mentioning that for seniors who want to keep healthy while aging, the treadmill may be a better choice. Because firstly, whole-body exercises are preferable for aging people to maintain their action capability. Secondly, a treadmill allows for a variety of workouts, from low-impact to high-impact, including walking, jogging, and running, and can also be adjusted for the incline to simulate hill workouts, making it suitable for basically everyone from newbies to professionals.
Your health condition
When choosing between a treadmill and an exercise bike, your health condition is an important factor to consider. Here are some tips to help you decide:
Joint health: If you have joint pain or arthritis, an exercise bike may be a better choice than a treadmill. The low-impact nature of cycling can help reduce stress on your joints while running on a treadmill can be high-impact and put more strain on your knees, hips, and ankles.
Cardiovascular health: Both a treadmill and an exercise bike can provide a good cardiovascular workout. However, a treadmill may offer more intense cardiovascular exercise than an exercise bike due to the greater level of weight-bearing exercise involved. But after all, it depends on how intense you are going on it. For example, walking is unlikely to cause you any trouble.
Balance and coordination: If you have balance or coordination issues, a treadmill may not be the best option as it requires you to maintain your balance while walking or running. An exercise bike can be a safer alternative, as you can sit down and pedal without the risk of falling.
Pulmonary problems: If you have any pulmonary diseases like COPD, an exercise bike is more recommended. Cycling is one of the best exercise for people with breathing problems, no matter it is done outside or at home. Exercising on a treadmill normally demands much more oxygen than on an exercise bike. Besides, if you are told by your doctor to use an oxygen concentrator for supplemental oxygen during exercise, it is more convenient to do so when you are sitting on a bike.
Both treadmills and exercise bikes have their potential risks for injury. However, the type and severity of the injury can differ based on the activity and how it's performed.
Treadmills pose a higher risk of impact-related injuries, such as sprains, strains, and fractures. Running or walking on a treadmill can place stress on the joints and lower body, especially if the user isn't using proper form, wearing proper shoes, or over-exerting themselves. Additionally, falls can occur if the user loses their balance, steps off the side, or trips on the machine.
Exercise bikes, on the other hand, have a lower risk of impact-related injuries since the body is in a stationary position. However, there is still a risk of muscle strains and overuse injuries if the user doesn't adjust the seat and handlebars properly or pedals with incorrect form. Additionally, cycling for long periods at high resistance levels or without proper stretching can cause discomfort or pain in the back, hips, or knees.
To avoid injuries, it's important to start any exercise program gradually, use proper form and technique, and consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or pre-existing conditions.
Cost and space
It is also practical and necessary to consider your budget and how much space you can allow for the machine. Normally, an exercise bike is slightly cheaper and takes up less space than a treadmill. But there are mini treads available for the smallest spaces. Besides, the cost of maintenance should also be taken into consideration. The treadmill is more likely to wear out and need maintenance. So it is recommended to increase your budget for a more durable treadmill to save time and money on long-term maintenance.
Ultimately, the choice between a treadmill and an exercise bike will depend on various factors. Both machines can be incorporated into a well-rounded exercise routine and are effective at improving health conditions and burning calories as long as used correctly.