Treadmill or exercise bike?
Although there are various pros and cons to both treadmills and exercise bikes, when it comes to losing weight there is a clear winner - the treadmill.
Here we will explain why this is the case and explain the best way to approach your training if your key objective is to lose weight.
Why is the treadmill the weight loss winner?
The answer is clear and the reason why a treadmill is preferable to an exercise bike if you want to lose weight is simple - it burns more calories. Walking and running (both done on a treadmill, of course) are weight-bearing exercises. This means that more of your muscle mass is employed when training. However, an exercise bike - even when used at the same (or greater) intensity - is non-weight-bearing and so will burn less calories.
Exercise bikes don't work the whole body
Exercise bikes are an excellent form of aerobic exercise overall. Using an exercise bike is particularly good for strengthening your lower body muscles, such as hamstrings and calf muscles. It's easy to increase the intensity by adjusting resistance settings or simply by pedalling faster. And there's an opportunity to vary your workouts by choosing different programme settings such as hill climbing and interval or speed work.
A clear benefit of an exercise bike is that training is low impact as there is much less pressure placed on your joints and muscles than compared to a treadmill. However, the downside of the exercise bike in terms of working towards weight loss is that the focus is, almost exclusively, on just one area of the body - the legs.
Treadmills do work the whole body
On the other hand, treadmills do work the whole body. This type of weight-bearing exercise with the whole body in motion burns more calories and is great for maintaining bone mass. Most treadmills will offer a similar sort of variety in terms of programmes and settings as exercise bikes. The downside is that treadmill training is high impact and there is more risk of injury to the joints due to the pressure exerted on them.
So although weight loss is far from being the only benefit from using a fitness machine, if it is one of the main reasons why you are considering buying either a treadmill or exercise bike, you should be directing your attention towards treadmills.