Treadmill vs. Exercise Bike

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Last Updated on June 29, 2021

Nowadays, there`s in an influx of options when it comes to choosing the ideal fitness equipment.

However, two fitness options have reigned in the fitness domain: treadmills and fitness bikes.

These are the two commonly used pieces of fitness equipment, which many people use at their home or the gym. The popularity of the treadmills and stationery bikes is because they fulfill all the necessary fitness and health needs for most people.

The hardest question is of course, which one of these two is better.

To give the correct answer, you need to consider a variety of factors that will affect the results. See, each person has different fitness goals, needs, health conditions and capabilities, and, therefore, one equipment might be good for one individual and not so good for the other.

Besides the fitness and health needs, we also need to know a little bit of each equipment, and how it`s best suited for our needs.

And in this article, we shall put the treadmill and the fitness bike in the ring, and look at how their compare and contrast.

Hopefully, by the end of this article, you should have decided on which fitness equipment to go for.


Similarities Between a Treadmill and Fitness Bike

The first similarity between this equipment is that they all fall under the fitness domain. They`re pieces of equipment that will allow you to realize your fitness needs.

Secondly, both of these two machines are excellent at calories burning, meaning they are good for losing weight.

Besides calorie burning, both of these equipment supports a variety of other workouts including cardio, strength training among others.

When it comes to the ease of use, both of them are extremely easy to use.

Finally, their last similarity is that they are versatile and can be used both at home and in the gym.

Differences Between a Treadmill and a Stationery Bicycle

Now, let`s look at the takeoff points between the treadmill and exercise bike.

Bike type


Exercise Bike

Good for

General workouts as well as cardio

Cardiovascular health


Weight-bearing exercises

Strengthening the quadriceps and hamstrings

Best for

Building bone density & improving overall muscle tone

Increasing heart rate without stressing the knees, ankles, feet or hips

Practical alternative to

Walking and running

Outdoor cycling

Workout results

Full body results

Localized results


Can accommodate varying body sizes

More stringent weight requirements



Relatively affordable


More popular

Less popular


Have been around longer

New-entrants in the fitness domain


treadmill vs exercise bike

Treadmills are specially designed machines tailored for running and walking.

While many people do not associate walking as a form of exercise, it `s what it is exactly.

While treadmills differ from running outside than the stationary bikes do from cycling, they offer a gamut of luxuries such as the shock absorbency factor. The shock absorbency factor is as a result of the "propelling" motion of the treadmill belt.

Treadmills provide an effective way of doing speed work, particularly if you set an exact speed. On the downside, the treadmill will not offer the conditions you`ll meet on the ground.

Fortunately, you can assimilate the road run on a treadmill by increasing the incline, and this will mimic the resistance you will get on the ground. For instance, you can increase the incline to simulate running or climbing a steep hill.

Unlike working out on an exercise bike, a treadmill simulates walking on a flat or inclined surface, which means it engages your entire muscles systems as you would do when running. While the treadmill will engage your legs, running is known to help in the development of abdominal and back muscles.

Similar to running, you`ll also get to engage your arms. The mere act of pumping your arms back and forth when running takes a lot of effort and will help you build a strong body, and not just your legs.

For those looking to fine-tune and empower their bodies, they can even hold lightweight dumbbells while on the treadmill.

However, considering that the treadmill requires you to support your entire weight on your feet, as opposed to an exercise bike where your weight is supported by a chair, you`ll find out that treadmills are not a great option for those with spine condition or lower extremity issues.

 This is because the treadmill is a type of high- impact exercise that will exert a lot of pressure on your knees, ankles, hips, and spine.

Another crucial factor that we need to consider is the safety aspect of the treadmill. While we`re naturally wired to walk, you`ll notice that walking/running on a treadmill will require a certain level of balance and coordination.

Regardless of how firm you are, you can still miss a step and trip. Conversely, with a stationary bike, you do not need to be constantly mindful of maintaining your balance, which makes it a safer choice.

When choosing the right fitness equipment, you would want a machine that is versatile enough to fight boredom and one that will allow you to match your varying fitness needs.

 While both machines will offer a gamut of options including the resistance training to make your workouts more challenging, the treadmill has more advanced options. For instance, in addition to the resistance setting, it will allow you to change your settings to running, walking or even jogging.

Generally, a treadmill is an awesome choice for those looking to lose weight in a short duration. Alongside weight loss, the treadmill can also be used for warming up, before the start of an exercise.

Suitable for a broad range of users including professionals, to the seniors with walking issues or recovering from injuries.

However, it might not be a great option for people with back issues.

Why Should I Choose a Treadmill?

A treadmill is a great option for those looking to engage their entire body muscles, at the comfort of their home.

Similar to running, the treadmill is effective at burning calories, strengthening of muscles, and building your overall physique.

The Great Compromise with the Treadmill

While they excel at building your entire body, treadmills are not ideal for those with joint issues such as arthritis.

This is because to use a treadmill; you have to support your entire weight using your joints, which can be quite painful and even lead to joint injuries.

Exercise Bikes

stationery bike vs treadmill

Like the regular bike, exercise bikes are built to simulate the actual cycling.

As opposed to the high-impact treadmills, exercise bikes offer a form of low-impact exercise. This is to mean that while treadmills will be harder on your joints, the exercise bikes are more accommodating.

A major reason behind this is the seating position on the exercise bike, which redistributes your weight. Therefore, if you`ve joint problems, upper extremity conditions, or suffering from severe arthritis, or back problems, the exercise bike is a remarkable choice.

When it comes to the effectiveness and performance, the exercise bike is less performance-oriented than the treadmill.


On the exercise bike, your entire weight is supported on the seat, meaning it will not engage your joints. Secondly, unlike the treadmill, there are limited movements in the upper body on the fitness bike, meaning you`ll achieve localized results, mostly on your legs.

Therefore, the fitness bike is an awesome option and a commonly applied in HIIT, for individuals looking to build on their stamina, strong thigh, calf muscles, and strings.

When it comes to safety, you`ve little reason to be concerned about the safety of an exercise bike. Though they look unstable, they`re well-grounded, have a lower COG, meaning there`s a lesser chance of tipping over. Plus, you don`t have to worry about maintaining balance as in the case of treadmills.

Generally, a fitness bike makes an ideal option for those looking to activate their quadriceps. Similar to cycling, a fitness bike will build your muscles with a focus on the thigh and calf muscles, making it perfect for anyone from professional footballers to normal people looking to improve the aesthetic of their lower body.

Why Should I Choose a Fitness Bike?

Similar to cycling, a fitness bike is an ideal option for those looking to strengthen their lower-body fitness.

Though not effective in burning calories such as the treadmill, they excel at forming muscles.

Again, though both can be found at reasonable prices, the treadmill is more expensive.

And when it comes to convenience, the fitness bike is less bulky, and does not takes up much space compared to the treadmill.

The Great Compromise with the Fitness Bike

Though fitness bikes are great at cardio sessions, they will not engage your full body.

The second compromise is that they`re less versatile and boring, as their exercise options are limited to the only change in the resistance.

 This is opposed to the treadmills which offer a lot of preferences including a change in resistance, cadence, consistency and more.

Conclusion: Which is the Best for Me?

Both of the equipment are great fitness options.

Your choice of what type to go with will depend on your fitness needs.

Beyond the fitness needs, you`ll also need to consider other factors such as ease of use, cost, versatility, convenience, and others.

The choice is yours to make.

Harold Whitford

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About the Author

My name is Harold Whitford, a husband, father, and avid cyclist with a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management from the University of Delaware. Having been in the industry for more than 15 years, I have a number of the road race and national time trial championships in my bag.

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