During aerobic exercise, an oxygen supply is crucial to fulfill the body’s energy requirements. So it’s no surprise that the meaning of the word “aerobic” is “requiring oxygen”. Aerobic exercise has numerous advantages to your health including reducing the risk of heart disease, reducing blood pressure, regulating blood sugar levels, improving lung capacity, regulating hormones and much more.
A dynamic aerobic workout can be achieved by using 2 of the most popular pieces of fitness equipment: the treadmill and the stationary bike. But, which exercise equipment is best? Follow along as we discover whether the treadmill or stationary bike is an asset to your home gym.
Treadmill vs Bike Health Benefits
In addition to the ones already mentioned, let’s examine the other health benefits that these two have to offer.
We already know that using either of these exercise machines gives you an intense cardiovascular workout. One study found that participants who used a treadmill over an exercise bike, for a given period of time, achieved a higher heart rate.
However, there are plenty of conflicting results from other studies. For example, other results show that there are no significant heart-rate dynamic differences between using a treadmill or a bike. The consensus is that time is a factor. If people were to use an exercise bike long enough, they could also bring their heart rate up to the same level. Treadmills simply provide a faster physiological response.
Muscle activation variations are mainly due to the position of the body. When using a treadmill, the body is in an upright position. As a result, the whole body is engaged compared to when you’re riding an exercise bike. Specifically, when using a treadmill, you’re activating your core muscles, the muscles in your back and some of the muscles in your arms. Moreover, the muscles in your lower body, like the calf and glute muscles, were found to be stimulated more than when on a stationary bike.
Nonetheless, if you were to engage in interval training and stand up on a stationary bike, you could have a similar muscle response. While you’re balancing in the stand up position, your core, glute and leg activation is much stronger. You could also use dumbbells with your exercise bike to get an upper body workout.
Performing weight-bearing exercises burns more calories than non-weight bearing exercises. In 2004, Harvard Health published statistics on the amount of calories lost by an individual while performing various activities.
Since you’re sitting on an exercise bike, there are less muscles activated and in turn, less calories are burned. And, because you’re bearing more weight on a treadmill, you’re putting more stress and pressure on your bones. This fact actually contributes to increasing your bone density and strengthening your bones.
Exercise Bike vs Treadmill Versatility
As exercise equipment machines are constantly being developed, they’re becoming more sophisticated. The features, settings and technology are endless. Be that as it may, because treadmills can incline, they provide an uphill cardiovascular workout. Some stationary bikes can incline and you can create resistance by adjusting the tension. But, there are more muscles challenged when exercising fully upright and on an incline. Treadmills just provide multiple settings and options.
Treadmill vs Bike Injuries
The Consumer Product Safety Commission released data from 2016 regarding fitness equipment-related emergency visits. Stationary bikes were the cause of only 10% of these emergency visits while treadmills caused 36% of them. This again could be related to the fact that while using a treadmill, you’re in an upright position. If you’re sitting on an exercise bike, you’re less likely to fall over, trip or lose your balance.
Another factor for injuries, is the impact that the machines have on your body. Treadmills are high-impact machines because when you’re running or jogging, both feet often leave the surface at the same time. In contrast, stationary bikes are considered low-impact machines. This is because your feet are in contact with the surface at all times. High-impact exercises can be hard on your joints, knees and back. So, if you’re older or have underlying bone conditions or injuries, a stationary bike is more suited for you.
Treadmill vs Bike Size
In general, treadmills take up much more space than an exercise bike. However, many treadmills and exercise bikes are now compact to fit perfectly in your home. Some of them even fold away for convenience. Be advised that if they’re smaller in size or a folding-type of equipment, they’re usually much cheaper. They’re light and are sometimes made with poorer quality materials.
We recommend double-checking the dimensions (folded and unfolded), weight, weight capacity and materials of the products. You’ll need to know if the treadmill or bike is sturdy, durable and strong enough to support you during strenuous workouts.
Exercise Bike vs Treadmill Cost
Since treadmills are much bigger than stationary bikes, they tend to be more expensive too. Plus, treadmills increase in price with all of their extras. The same goes for exercise bikes. Again, compact treadmills, folding treadmills and compact bikes can be budget-friendly. But, if you’re investing in home gym equipment, it should be of high quality as well.
After much research, deciding between buying a treadmill and a stationary bike should be based on your age, fitness level and lifestyle. If you prefer a variety of challenging workouts and are completely void of chronic injuries, then go with a treadmill.
However, if you have bad joints or are older, then go with the exercise bike. Remember, the information we’ve gathered demonstrated opposing results. The treadmill and the stationary bike are both valuable pieces of exercise equipment in their own way.