Treadmill or exercise bike for weight loss – Which can help you burn more calories?

exercise bike or treadmill

If you’re not the type to go out every morning and do your cardio, buying a machine is the solution. You can finish your fitness routine without even leaving the house. But which of these two cardiovascular machines will help you burn more calories, the treadmill or a bike?

If you’re looking for versatility and more muscle gain: go for the treadmill

Treadmills offer more versatility. A lot of electric and even analog units have an incline feature. 

The more premium ones have a decline feature that can help you gain serious leg mass. This also adds more variety to your daily routine. Even if you; ‘re up for a walk, run, or brisk walking, you can hover through these features to create a more personalized and intense training. 

treadmill for the go

Treadmills also offer more weight-bearing exercises compared to bikes. Since you’re standing with the lower body bearing your entire weight, this adds up resistance needed for muscular gain. 

When compared to bikes, you will be seated for the entire duration of the routine, so your legs will bear less weight. Though you still have an option to add resistance to the bike to amp up the load that your legs are carrying, compared to the treadmill, it’s less intense.

So If you are also looking to gain lean mass in your legs as you complete your cardio routine,  treadmills best serve this purpose.

Bikes offer a lower-impact workout

exercise bike-2

While treadmills seem to give a more intense, challenging, and versatile workout, there are some cons to it.  

Considering that these are also weight-bearing, it is less friendly to the knees. Though a higher-impact run is great at helping you build more bone mineral density than a bike, it can be too burdensome for those who have knee issues. There are ways to work around it.

If you are worried about the impact on your knees,  there are a handful of treadmills that have belts with shock absorption features. This lessens the amount of impact knees receive every time your foot hits the belt. 

You can also opt to walk instead of running, this lessens the impact but it can also tone down the intensity of training. After all, treadmills still offer less impact compared to running on natural terrain. 

Treadmills have a flat surface, most with a certain level of shock absorption while running outside presents variable terrains which can also come as a surprise to your knees. 

So would this suffice for a low-impact run? If you do not have lingering knee issues, it can. But if you do, better opt for bikes.  

That also makes bikes suitable for beginners. Since they may have less body awareness. Treadmills may pose a hazard if you accidentally stop or trip and pull to the edge of the belt. You may end up on the floor.

Overweight folks are also better off on bikes and just gradually transition to treadmills once they start losing more weight. Bikes are essentially lower impact, regardless of how much you amp up the resistance.

Bikes can be space savers

If you are cramped with space and do not have the luxury of a home gym, then a bike is the best route to go. It eats up less horizontal space than a standard-size treadmill.

You may also opt for foldable treadmills that you can easily stow away when not in use. However, these foldable counterparts may not have the same capabilities as a standard-size one.

Bikes may cost less

In terms of technology and innovation, these two units can be at par with one another. You can find a handful of high-tech bikes and treadmills being sold in the market, each offering a new feature that can amp up your experience.  

But if you’re going to compare the cost of a premium bike vs a premium treadmill, the bike will cost less. 

Summarizing the pros and cons

So that you can better pick the more suitable cardiovascular machine, here is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Bikes are great for:

Lower impact routine

Overweight and obese people

Beginners and novices

If you have a smaller space

If you want less risk of injuries

You are on a budget

Do not get a bike if:

You get bored with the same cyclical motion

You want to build lean mass at the same time

You need to build more bone density

Treadmills are great if:

You need more versatility and get bored easily with the same routine

You need to increase bone mineral density and gain muscle mass at the same time

You have more space 

You need a more intense and challenging workout 

Don’t get a treadmill if:

You have knee injuries that can benefit from a lower impact workout

You have small space at home and getting a foldable treadmill will not fit your needs

You are afraid  of a higher risk of  inquiries 

So which can help you burn more calories?

There isn’t any direct answer to this. To be able to burn more calories and lose fat off the scale, you have to do a consistent workout. And you will be able to do that if you love what you do.

Making sure that a cardio machine addresses all or at least most of your needs will guarantee a more consistent routine. 

If you are looking for more variety, go for a treadmill. It can offer more challenges, you may even be able to run sideways to work out a different muscle part of the legs.  Though risks are higher, you have to be more mindful and use a safety belt in case you are in doubt. 

A bike works best for overweight folks, beginners, and those with knee issues. If you don’t mind the same cyclical motion, a bike will suffice.  

If you love the security of having less risk of injuries, bikes are also better. 

So you have to gauge your fitness needs and which will help you stick to a fitness regimen the best.