Last updated on May 13th, 2022
As you go about investing in cardio equipment to complete your fitness goals, you’d find there are two types of machines that are dominating the market for aerobic activities. The one that hits the list is the treadmill that provides you with a full-body workout and the second one is the exercise cycle that lets you mimic being outdoors at your home. Hence, the question before you is – “Treadmill vs cycling- which is the right choice for you?”
Before jumping to any conclusion, you must bear in mind your workout preferences and lifestyle factors so you can select the right one accordingly. Here is a quick guide to help you determine which equipment is best suited to you.
The Focus Area & Workout Goals
- Running on a treadmill is a full-body workout that targets all the muscles, keeps your whole body to work, detox it and thus helps you burn overall body fat.
- But it doesn’t give you the advantage of targeting specific muscles or engaging all the muscles in a way that would add serious resistance. Rather it can help you develop stronger, toned muscles and bones.
- Treadmill helps you sweat and burn more calories, which gives you a great and lean physique, toned and fit body. However, you can’t control the portions where it may help you lose fat.
- Studies have found that running with a balanced diet is effective for burning the whole body fat.
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- A cycling or a stationary bike exercise is a lower body workout that targets and builds the muscles in your lower half like in your hip, hamstrings, and calves rather than targeting your full body muscles.
- As you know, resistance is necessary for building muscles and cycling puts that serious resistance when you pedal the cycle. Yes, your lower body organs find that resistance by a pedalling motion. Your quads push down on the pedals so when you add extra force to increase your gears, that force puts a serious resistance.
- Please note that a stationary bike can provide different resistance types. Among them, magnetic bikes are the quietest and have the most smooth functioning which allows you to adjust the resistance the way you choose.
- Therefore, cycling is more of a resistance training to build leg muscles, not the upper body muscles. The top half of your body is involved, but not as much as the bottom half. That said, the upper body muscle groups aren’t directly targeted.
- Use a stationary bike if you are specifically targeting to reduce belly fat. There are generally 3 types of bikes offering different benefits but all of the three (upright, recumbent and spin) focus mainly on your belly and lower body parts. Choose one of them depending upon your workout goals, back pain, and joint problems.
- Spin bikes are effective for weight loss but not as much as a treadmill is.
Read the articles to know the types of bicycles, buying guide and the reviews of best outdoor cycles available in India:
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Treadmill vs Cycling: Intensity Levels
- A treadmill allows different forms of cardio exercises walking, jogging and running in which the body is in motion.
- You just have to increase the treadmill’s speed or grade to increase the intensity of the exercise.
- But remember, the higher the speed and incline levels, the greater the injury risk is involved if proper safety measures were not taken.
- Many models offer a variety of built-in electronic walking, running, and preset programs. These programs provide advanced workout options. They also measure calorie expenditure, time, distance and other key aspects.
- Biking is a low impact exercise. It doesn’t give you more exercise intensity options like a treadmill does. You can boost the exercise’s intensity only by increasing the pedalling motion which may create more resistance.
- If you want to pump up the intensity and do it to the advanced level, try both the options of outdoor biking and indoor cycling. Also, try increasing your intensity level gradually as your fitness level improves.
- Modern exercise cycles include electronic workout programs that simulate interval training, hill climbing, and speed work, along with keeping track of time and distance.
- They also allow you to burn calories and strengthen your whole body at the same time. Some of them feature dual-action arms to increase the endurance of the top half of your body as you pedal to strengthen your thighs and legs.
Treadmill vs Cycling: Calories Burn
- Your body in full motion requires a lot of effort so your body will burn calories at a higher rate on the treadmill. However, the number of calories you burn on the treadmill per minute is based on which form of exercise you are doing: walking, jogging or running. And also on these factors: weight, speed, stride length, incline, and efficiency.
- According to research at Ohio State University, you should try walking at varying speeds to burn up to 20% more calories.
- As per Harvard University, biking at a moderate speed of 12 to 13.9 miles per hour will make you burn 298 calories in 30 minutes if you weigh 155-pound. At a faster rate of 14 to 15.9 miles per hour, you will burn 372 calories.
Treadmill vs Cycling: Versatility
- You can run, walk, jog and sprint on the treadmill.
- There are various inclination levels in modern treadmills that offer the outside running advantage.
- Modern treadmills come with several preset programs to add variety and intensity to make your workout more challenging.
- You can only increase resistance levels.
Joints Health & Injury Concerns
- Despite belonging to the largest selling exercise equipment category ( According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association), treadmills are causing more workout-related injuries.
- According to a survey done by ellipticalreviews.com, more than 1 in 3 workout-related ER visits in 2016 with and without equipment involved running and treadmills.
- The injuries primarily occur because of not taking adequate safety measures, avoiding injury risk and other risks.
- Doing a Warm-up exercise, using running shoes, changing running shoes after running 500 miles, learning how to properly use a treadmill, checking the safety key before buying a treadmill are some precautions that help prevent injury risks significantly.
- Stationary bikes are safe and better than the treadmill when it comes to making your health without hurting your joints. Treadmill (without cushioning feature) can put stress on your spine, hips, knee, and ankle joints, whereas the bike provides back support without stressing joints.
- Due to offering a low impact exercise, the bike offers less risk of injuries as compared to treadmills. Modern Bikes provide an adjustable seat to give a safe and comfortable experience.
- If you are having back pain, you should use a recumbent bike to get enough back support.
Your Age & Lifestyle Factor
- It entirely depends upon your lifestyle and age. If you are over 60 years and have been running for all your life, the treadmill is good for you.
- It offers a home workout. You can walk or jog, at various speeds.
- There is also a safety key and several training programs and apps to ensure your wellbeing.
- On the other hand, if you are just starting your fitness journey at 60, you may be needing a low impact exercise that can keep you in balance and build your muscles without hurting your joints.
- Stationary bikes work best in this situation. You’ll be in a seated position without worrying about falling.
- It offers a less challenging workout that helps you make your cardiovascular health without injuries, rapid stopping or obstructions.
Note: Also if you are a person with a hectic schedule, busy parent or a working woman, who can’t afford daily to the gym or outdoors, both exercise pieces of equipment are fine. Again here, the treadmill is better for a full-body workout.
Treadmill vs Cycling: Cost
Treadmills are more expensive compared to stationary bikes. They come at different prices based on their features and types. There are generally two types of treadmills motorized or manual model. The motorized kind is expensive compared to the manual one because it has a motor and advanced features. Manual ones, on the other hand, doesn’t come with incline, motor, heart rate monitor, calorie counter, and a few programs.
These articles will help you learn the cost of the treadmill available in India based on their programming features:
- Best Treadmills In India (Reviews, Buying Guide & Safety Tips)
- Top Affordable Treadmills In India For Home Use Under Rs 20,000
- Best Manual Treadmill in India (Treadmill under 10000)
- Fitkit FT200 Series Motorised Treadmill Review India
- 20 Minutes Treadmill Workout Routine for Weight Loss
A Stationary bike in India comes around INR 10,000. While spin bikes might cost you a little expensive.
This article covering different types of stationary bikes would help you get an idea of the cost of a good stationary bike in India:
Overall Health Advantage
- In terms of cardiovascular (cardio) health, both running and cycling are equally beneficial.
- In terms of overall weight loss, a treadmill is more effective and cycling is more effective for belly fat and toning leg muscles.
- As we all know through scientific studies, aerobic activities support your cardiovascular health. They strengthen your heart to send blood (and hence oxygen) to the muscles. Doing cardio exercise, such as cycling and running, increase your heart capacity to pump even more efficiently the rest of the time.
- Be careful if you’re engaging in vigorous running or biking, you may need to check with the guidelines that limit your activities and don’t allow more than 60 minutes a day.
- According to researchers, vigorous exercise more than 5 hours a week, or 60 minutes a day, can show a negative impact on your health.
- Both exercises give you the opportunity indoors and outdoors. If you are busy and want to stay consistent purchase, investing in either or both kinds of equipment is fruitful.
- Talk with your doctor and a physical trainer if you have a specific weight-loss goal.
Note: Want to know more about running?
#1. Read here how much should you run in a week?
Should you run every day? And how much?
#2. Read here to know the other benefits of running:
15 Science-Backed Benefits Of Running (+Running FAQs)
#3. Running also gives you mental health benefits.
Mental Health Benefits Of Running
Treadmill vs Cycling: Stats & Facts
- Treadmills were present there before exercise cycles. People have loved treadmills ever since they were presented and are a consistent bestseller for aerobic routines.
- With new models coming into the market, they are super convenient to boot.
- Used for walking, running and other weight-bearing exercises.
- Best for those who can’t go outside for any lifestyle reasons and differences.
- And do you know earlier treadmills were used to punish prisoners (according to Wikipedia)?
- The models of stationary bikes have constantly been given upgrades ever since the first model was manufactured. These days, some models come equipped with spinning routines allowing users to experience cycling activities at home.
- People find the exercise cycle easy convenient and easy to use because of its design. Since s good majority is familiar with the cycling experience or have cycled before in their lifetime.
- Stationary bikes are an option for anyone not owning an outdoor bike and need to do a low impact exercise, or for someone who might not dare to go outdoors due to rainy days or cold weather.
- However, as with typical biking, extended use of a stationary bike has been linked to decreased sexual function.
- According to Wikipedia, mini-cycles are also often used by people for rehabilitation purposes after suffering physical injuries.
Final Thoughts On Treadmill vs Cycling
You can see above in the article, not all types of cardio equipment are created alike. Each offers its advantages and disadvantages.
I have mentioned all the pros and cons of using both cycle and treadmill, so understanding these will guide you down the right path.
As you choose to invest in a piece of cardio equipment, your goal is to complete your workout program, the equipment must meet your needs, goals, and preferences.
One other point to remember is adding variety to your workout regardless of the cardio machine you use. You can also choose to go to the gym to vary the equipment.
Invest in the one which helps you complete your primary goal. You can also join the gym for the other one or you can choose a different way like getting a treadmill for running at home and using the exercise bike in the gym.
This way you won’t hurt your pocket as well and keep your body progressing!
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No Doubt it’s nice article. And for me it’s always Cycling is best option. But people may prefer According to their needs. By the way thanks Srishti 😊
Riya Bose says
Thanks for the info.. I prefer walking and running over cycling. My major concern is weight loss and I can really see good results when I regularly walk.. My treadmill helped me lose 7kgs in 2 months..
S Kuthalingam says
Nice article 👍 I am looking for indoor cycle for my wife. We go for walking and I go cycling -Outdoor- twice a week , due to lockdown I prefer to have one stationery cycle in home.
I was in dilemma whether to go for treadmill or indoor cycle, just to we both are 55+.
Your article helps to decide. I am going with indoor cycle.,🙏
Glad, it helped you 🙂