What Is Best Treadmill Or Exercise Bike?

By: Alex Bristol

Last Update:

Firstly, What’s The Difference?


Using a treadmill is the best way to achieve an effective, complete cardiovascular workout. It also exercises more muscles than an exercise bike as it not only works your lower body but your back, arms, and abdominal muscles too.

Treadmills are often favored when it comes to weight loss as they can help you burn considerably more calories than is possible on an exercise bike. On top of this, there are a variety of workouts you can do on a treadmill involving speed, incline, and interval training so they’re accessible to most fitness levels.

However, running on the treadmill can cause harm to your joints, with your legs receiving a tough impact every time you take a stride. Treadmills do tend to have a softer surface to absorb the shock, but if you have trouble with your knees or legs in general then it is probably best to seek medical advice before using one.


Something that both the treadmill and exercise bike share is that boredom is bound to creep up on you and you’ll soon begin to dread your routine. Changing your routine is easy to do and will be necessary if you want to keep your treadmill workouts fresh.

Treadmills can take up a lot of space in your home so finding a place to put it in your house can be a bit of a task, however, some treadmills can be folded for storage.

Treadmills can also be more prone to breaking down than exercise bikes, so getting them fixed or even pre-assembled may cost you extra.

Exercise Bike

While you will burn fewer calories on an exercise compared to running on the treadmill, that doesn’t make it inferior. While exercising, your weight is supported by the seat, so you are carrying less weight when moving your legs and generally meaning your body won’t have to work as hard on the exercise bike.

The best way to burn more calories on the exercise bike is having it on a higher resistance level, this will mean you’ll be using your pedaling time more efficiently rather than pedaling at a rapid pace with little to no results.

Once you get used to the resistance, keep upping the level until you feel you can’t go on anymore. This is more beneficial for your cardiovascular health and will help you see more results in terms of weight loss.

The exercise bike focuses on the lower body, providing an efficient workout for your quads, calves, and glutes but doesn’t offer a workout for your upper body, unless you find a specially designed model with moveable handles, as your arms are used to keep you stabilized if needed on the bike.

Or as another way around this you could incorporate some weights into your routine, some bikes even come with dumbbell holders.

This is where the exercise bike shines, it’s much more diverse in the things you can do while exercising arguably making it a better option in terms of staying motivated.

Exercise Bike vs. Treadmill: Pros and Cons

Exercise bike


  • Good for multitasking
  • Ideal for elderly people or people recovering from an injury
  • Good for people with poor balance
  • Low impact on legs
  • Quite compact machines
  • Can achieve both a low and high-intensity workout


  • Burns fewer calories per hour
  • Focuses on just the lower body



  • Burns more calories
  • More variety in workouts (inclines, speeds, etc.)
  • Better than running outside
  • Greater impact on the body (lose weight/muscle growth)
  • Whole-body workout


  • Can become boring if you don’t switch things up
  • Tends to take up more space
  • Can require more maintenance

Is A Treadmill Or Cycling Better For Weight Loss?

Both exercise bikes and treadmills give you a fantastic cardio workout and are therefore both highly effective at helping you shed pounds.

Both can give you a gradual loss of weight and according to studies, those who lose small amounts over time are much more likely to keep it off making both exercise machines viable when you want to burn calories.

As a result of this, it’s important that you choose the exercise machine that you think you will enjoy more, and therefore use more often and for a longer period of time per session. Running on a treadmill may burn slightly more calories, but if you find you work out for longer each time on an exercise bike, then it’s much more worthwhile investing in one of them.

Health Benefits Of A Stationary Bike And A Treadmill

There are numerous benefits to using one or both of these exercise machines, here are some of the primary ones that will urge you to go out and find one.

Cardio – using these will improve your overall cardio, this means your heart and lungs will be stronger and more resistant to illnesses such as heart disease or lung cancer.

Sleep – Using an exercise bike or treadmill will improve your brainpower which leads to better sleep which in turn leads to all kinds of other knock-on benefits.

Mental health – The increased flow of oxygen and blood increases brainpower as mentioned before, exercising daily can improve your mood and make you feel more positive especially if you do your workout at the beginning of the day.

Is A Treadmill Or Exercise Bike Better For Bad Knees?

Fortunately, this question does have a clear answer, an exercise bike is clearly the best machine for any knee injury or pain. This is because they’re low impact and if you own a recumbent bike then your joints will receive no stress after your workouts.

They still exercise a lot of muscles while accommodating for any trouble you have manoeuvering. With handrails and adjustability options it’s a no-brainer that recumbent stationary bikes are your best option.

Essential Things To Look For In Exercise Bikes

Resistance – The type of resistance is really important when looking for the right exercise bike. Magnetic resistance is the best system to go for as this will give you a smooth and quiet ride as well as a realistic road-like resistance so you’ll feel just like you’re riding outside.

Design – This is the first thing you want to decide on, do you want a recumbent bike, upright, or maybe even a dual-action? Once this has been decided you may want a step-through design, especially if you have reduced mobility as this design will be easier on your joints.

Adjustability – This is one you’re definitely going to want to look over if you’re tall, short, disabled, or a senior. Adjustability means you’ll have suitable posture while riding and posture determine how effective your workouts are.

Comfort – You’ll want a large seat that’s padded, cushioned or gel as this is going to ward off any butt pain you may get and if you get butt pain every time you use your bike then this is going to make you dread using it which will be a waste of your money. Some bikes also come with a backrest, this is commonplace in recumbent exercise bikes.

Flywheel – This is essentially the engine of your exercise bike and there’s a simple rule of thumb to follow, find the heaviest one you can. A heavy flywheel means you’ll have to use more force to rotate the pedals which in turn means you’ll get fitter from the extra work on your muscles.

Essential Things To Look For In Treadmills

Control Panel – It should be within reach and simple to use with high readability.

Cushioning – The running bed should absorb shock and the belt shouldn’t move around with every foot-strike.

Maximum weight rating – If you’re larger then this is something to consider, and it is also an indication of the sturdiness of the treadmill. Look at the maximum user weight rating (which is optimistic) and subtract about 50 pounds for a realistic figure.

Incline – Get a treadmill with an incline that goes up to 10 percent or higher. If the treadmill has a decline feature, that is also valuable to give a more accurate simulation of outdoor running conditions.

Speed –You’re probably going to be running so aim for a treadmill that goes up to 10 mph or higher.

Stability – The treadmill shouldn’t shake when you run or walk on it and the frame should remain stable, read customer reviews if you’re unsure whether a treadmill is stable.

Belt size – For running, the belt should be at least 48 inches long and 18 inches wide. If you are over 6 feet tall, you would need at least a 52-inch belt for walking and a 54-inch belt for running.

The Final Verdict: Exercise Bike Vs Treadmill

So now you know everything there is to know about exercise bikes and treadmills and they both have their merits.

However, when it comes to there being a clear winner the answer isn’t black or white. Treadmills are great if you want to lose weight fast or undertake a high-intensity workout, whereas exercise bikes are the way to go if you want a low-impact workout that’s safe, secure, and comfortable.

If you suffer from knee problems, are severely overweight, or are a senior then I would definitely suggest you opt for an exercise bike as this is going to combat the chances of you causing any more pain or harm.

Whichever you choose though make sure that above all else you enjoy them because this is what;’s going to keep you coming back. If you get bored of your bike or treadmill then you’ll just associate fitness with boredom and that’s when getting into shape becomes really tricky.

Leave a Comment