Exercise Bike vs Treadmill – Which One Is Better For You?

Exercise bikes and treadmills have pros and cons, depending on your goals. Both machines will help build strength, endurance, speed, and stamina when used regularly and adequately. However, there are some differences to consider before determining which is the best fit for your goals. Which option is best for you? Let’s dive in.

Types of Exercise Bikes

Exercise bikes are great for those working out at home or the gym and are looking for a low-impact workout machine. There are three popular types of exercise bikes: upright bikes (shown in photo), spin bikes, and recumbent bikes. Each cycle will provide a great cardiovascular workout, but each is different in functionality.

Spin Bikes

Spin bikes are bikes that you’ll typically see in spin classes at your local gym. They are great for athletes training for specific races and provide great heart-pumping and strength-building workouts. The seats are narrow, which is excellent for efficient cycling but can be hard to get used to if you’ve never ridden one regularly. These mimic an outdoor road bike, so they’re built to have you in a forward riding position. They have an adjustable seat and handlebar heights depending on your body shape and mobility and usually come with adjustable pedals and clip-in options. Spin bikes typically have the smallest footprint of all the other bikes.

Recumbent Bikes

Recumbent bikes can be found in many local gyms. These feel and look much different than a spin bike due to their chair-like seats. Rather than leaning forward like a spin bike, you’ll be able to sit reclined. Because of this layout, they have the largest footprint of all the bikes. Recumbent bikes are best for those who have limited mobility, are recovering from injury, or want a very low-impact machine. Since they work fewer muscle groups than a spin or upright bike, you’ll burn fewer calories overall than the other types of bikes.

Upright Bikes

Upright bikes are a good in-between option for those who value comfort and a smaller footprint. They’re more comfortable than a spin bike since they usually have larger cushioned seats and allow the upper body to sit upright rather than folded over. But, because you are still pedaling underneath your hips, you’ll still engage similar muscle groups as the spin bikes. They also have a smaller footprint than a recumbent. Most upright bikes do not have clip-in pedal options.

Types of Treadmills

There are several types of treadmills on the market, but we’ll highlight the most popular styles that provide different features but similar functionality. Running and walking on treadmills are great for those who don’t have much joint pain and want to improve their fitness and strength.

Commercial-Grade Treadmills

Commercial-grade treadmills are not just for commercial gyms. They can also be used at home. They have large, powerful motors, usually feature incline and decline ranges, and provide some more cushioning. They are the most comfortable treadmills and built to last.

Folding Treadmills

Folding treadmills do just that -fold! They vary in price and size but are generally best for those looking to put away and store their treadmill at home. Some fold completely under a bed, while others fold into an upright position for a smaller footprint.

Manual Treadmills

Manual treadmills do not have a motor to operate but instead use the weight and strength of the user to move the belt. These are best for those that cross-train or want to practice balance, speed, and coordination.

So which one is better?

Many personal factors come into play when choosing fitness equipment, including comfort, size, mobility, and fitness goals. Running on a treadmill is best for those training for running outside or those who have minimal joint pain.

Using an exercise bike is best for those training for road biking or who have joint pain and want a more comfortable cardiovascular workout. Regardless of which machine you choose, both devices can provide great workouts and aid in helping you reach your fitness goals when used as part of your workout routine.

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