Treadmills v Exercise bikes

Fitness Equipment Buyers Guide, Fitness for beginners

Exercise Bikes v Treadmills

The two most popular pieces of fitness equipment are treadmills and exercise bikes. In deciding between the two, you should compare long-term sustainability, the effectiveness of the workouts, and safety.

Think About The Boredom Factor

Having a home fitness gym is more convenient than going to the gym. However at home there are far more distractions that can prevent you from sticking to your routine. Therefore you need to make the workout fun, so you actually look forward to your workout. The computers can certainly help and the more they offer the less bored you will be, but be realistic, over a period of time these too will lose their appeal.

Treadmill and Boredom

Once you have exhausted all the treadmills programmes, been up and down hills and you have seen your heart rate for the umpteenth time you will need to think of other ways to keep yourself amused. Watching TV or listening to music while exercising on a treadmill is a couple of options but the bouncing up and down of running can certainly make it difficult. As can the noise from the treadmill motor. However it is possible and should not be a problem when walking. Reading is another option but this is only really possible at very slow speed. The thing that appears to reduce boredom on a treadmill is simply seeing your distance covered in relation to the time. I doubt if you will ever achieve a 4-minute mile but its great trying. You can do the same on an exercise bike but on a treadmill you seem to be able push yourself more and progress quicker, it also seems more real on treadmill.

Exercise Bikes and Boredom

Today the programmes on both treadmills and exercise bikes are very similar, so the same boredom problem will arise eventually. However listening to music, watching TV and reading is much easier on an exercise bike. You are sat so there is very little upper body movement and an exercise bike is almost silent in use. Exercise bikes allow your hands to be free so holding a magazine, a video game controller or a telephone is easy.

So which of the two machines is less boring? Unfortunately the answer is not straightforward. Multi-tasking on an exercise bike keeps it from becoming boring and allows your workout to easily fit into a busy schedule. The problem is that most people find the actual exercise of sitting and pedalling more boring than that of walking or running. It’s a close call.

Burning Calories

Studies have shown that treadmills burn more calories than exercise bike’s. The average person will burn 550 calories per hour on an exercise bike and 750 on a treadmill. So there’s no argument. Get a treadmill if you want to burn calories – hold on, not so fast.

Working out on a treadmill takes more effort, so you need to be in better condition to use a treadmill. If you are overweight or recovering from an illness or injury you are more likely to be able to use an exercise bike and for longer periods than a treadmill. This means that if you can only do 10 minutes on a treadmill but 20 minutes on an exercise bike you will actually burn more calories on the bike.

If you go only on the numbers then the treadmill wins. If you are in reasonable condition and can use the treadmill comfortably then the treadmill wins. However if there are other personal factors to consider and being overweight is probably one of them, if burning calories is a main priority, then the exercise bike could be the better bet.

Which is Safer.

There really is no contest here. The exercise bike is safer. It’s almost impossible to fall off a bike if it’s set up properly. A treadmill on the other hand can be dangerous if caution is not taken. Pushing the speed beyond your capabilities, loosing concentration because of the TV or slipping on sweat that has fallen on to the running belt could all cause you to tumble.

A bike puts very little stress on the body, that’s why they are used for rehabilitation, where as the pounding on a treadmill, even one with a cushioned bed, will still put stress on the joints. Another factor to consider is that if you pick up an injury at work or in the garden, you may still find it possible to workout on an exercise bike, so your routine is not interrupted.

Conclusion.

At the end of the day the treadmill is still the most popular piece of home fitness equipment. This may be because most people find the exercise itself is more enjoyable and the results come quicker. However that does not mean that it is the best for your overall health. An exercise bike is less likely to cause injury, be more comfortable to use, particularly if you are out of condition and therefore be used more often and for longer, and that is the key to a life time of fitness.

So the choice is yours. Weigh up all your personal needs, likes, goals and your health at the point of purchase. Both pieces of equipment will get results but the most important thing is that whatever unit you choose, its better than choosing nothing at all.

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