Health & Fitness – Exercise Bike or Treadmill?

9-7-2015 10-17-10 AMTwo of the more popular exercise machines in the gym and my studio are the stationary bike and treadmill. Outside the gym, biking and walking are very popular. Often my students or clients ask which machine or form of exercise is best.

My first answer is to select the one you are most likely to use and continue over time. An unused exercise machine does nothing but take up room. Exercising regularly is important for losing weight, looking and feeling better, and most importantly for your long-term health. If you don’t really have a preference, you might want to consider safety and workout effectiveness.

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Treadmill Pros
• If used correctly, most new models include automatic shut-off safety devices if you should fall.
Treadmill Cons
• You can misstep and fall off a treadmill.
• Treadmills put more stress on your knees and ankles. If you have arthritis, you might find a treadmill painful at times.
Stationary Bike Pros
• A bike is the safest if joint stress is a major concern due to age or injury.
• It is very difficult to fall off an exercise bike.
• If you have an upper body injury, the support of a recumbent bike may allow you to continue exercising.
Stationary Bike Cons
• Reaching for the handle bars on an upright exercise bike may put stress on your back and discourage proper posture.

Workout Effectiveness

Treadmill Pros
• At the same intensity, a treadmill will burn more calories per hour than a stationary bike.
• Walking on a treadmill uses your core muscles to stabilize your body throughout your workout, and allows you to get a more all-over workout, especially if you swing your arms as you walk.
• Walking is a weight bearing exercise, so it helps maintain your bone density.
Treadmill Cons
• If you have joint issues, a treadmill may be too jarring.
Stationary Bike Pros
• If you cannot walk 10 minutes on a treadmill but can easily ride for 20 minutes on an exercise bike, you will burn more calories per session on an exercise bike.
Stationary Bike Cons
• Focuses only on the major muscles of the legs. Riding doesn’t really do much for the rest of the body.


Treadmill Pros
• If you can put your treadmill near your TV, you can watch TV or movies. If you don’t watch TV, listen to music.
• You can change your treadmill incline or speeds.
Treadmill Cons
• The treadmill noise will often compete with the television unless you use earplugs.
Stationary Bike Pros
• Like a treadmill, a bike can be placed in front of a TV, but you can also read, play video games or even talk on the phone safely.
Stationary Bike Cons
• On upright exercise bikes, you probably cannot read because you need handlebars for your balance.
• If you get distracted on a bike, you may decrease you speed without realizing it.

Either piece of equipment will help you in your quest for weight loss and improved health, but sticking with your option is the most important, so choose the piece of equipment you are most likely to continue using. For more information regarding exercise equipment and exercise types, talk to a Personal Trainer.
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.
By: Janet Hunt

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