Fitness Data Verified

Treadmill or Stationary Cycle: Which Is Better for Aerobic Exercise?

Written by
Dr. Mayank Agarwal
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Jul 03, 2018 and last reviewed on May 12, 2023   -  4 min read


Did you know? The recommended daily physical activity for optimal health benefits in healthy adults is thirty minutes of (ten-minute bouts three times a day is also acceptable) moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.

Treadmill or Stationary Cycle: Which Is Better for Aerobic Exercise?

What Is Aerobic Exercise?

Aerobic exercise is any physical exercise that promotes sweating, makes you breathe harder, and increases your normal heartbeat rate. It helps strengthen the heart and lungs. These will train the cardiovascular system to manage and deliver oxygen more promptly and efficiently throughout the body.

This exercise uses a large group of muscles. The cardiovascular system comprises heart and blood vessels (for example, arteries, veins, and capillaries) to transport blood throughout the body.

Benefits Of Aerobic Exercise:

Aerobic exercise has many health benefits in addition to strengthening the heart and cardiovascular system; a few of them are listed below:

What Is A Treadmill?

It is an indoor exercise machine that allows a person to walk, run, or jog in the same place. Most of them are electric, but some can be manual. Both electric and manual types will operate with a circular belt that circles a stationary base. They are popularly used in gyms and sports clubs and can also be purchased by people for home use.

Advantages of Treadmill:

  • It can burn more calories.

  • Everyone can use the treadmill.

  • Treadmills have different speeds which can be adjusted.

Disadvantages of Treadmill:

  • When jogging on a treadmill, there are chances of getting injuries in the knee or back.

  • The incline function can break down so often.

  • It can put pressure on joints and the lower back.

  • The forces on the joints can make the exercises too difficult, commonly in older individuals.

  • People fall when using the machine (easier to miss your footing and trip).

What Is the Stationary Cycle?

A stationarybicycle is also called an exercise bicycle, spinning bike, exercise bike, or exercycle. It is a device that is used as exercise equipment (indoor cycling). It comprises a saddle, pedals, and handlebars provided as on a (stationary) bicycle. To lose 1 kg, you must exercise for 1 hour on your stationary bike 3 times a week.

Advantages of Stationary Cycle:

  • They are affordable.

  • When compared to a treadmill, the chances of getting injuries from a stationary bike are very low.

  • Most people can easily do it.

  • Improves flexibility of leg muscles and ligaments.

  • They will reduce the pressure on the lower back muscles and strengthen the lower body.

  • When high resistance is used adequately, you can build your strength.

  • They have low impacts on joints and back.

  • Great for people with poor balance.

Disadvantages of Stationary Cycle:

  • You cannot burn as many calories when compared to the treadmill.

  • The upper body will not be involved on a stationary bike

  • Sitting for a long time on a stationary cycle will cause the buttocks to sting.

Which is Better, Treadmill Or Stationary Cycle?

Stationary cycles and treadmills are the most popular exercise machines, which can be used at home and in the gym. They both help to provide an effective cardio workout.

The aerobic exercise that you get from both the stationary cycle and treadmills is highly beneficial and can even help overcome pain. This is because aerobic exercise causes a release of endorphins, hormones that inhibit pain signals and help to feel good. Aerobic exercise can also improve the symptoms of patients with depressive disorders.

Compared to the stationary cycle, to burn calories, treadmills are better if you want fast, strenuous workouts in short periods. In contrast, with the stationary bike you will need about thrice the number of workouts to burn the same calories as on the treadmill.

Traditionally, treadmills and cycle ergometers are the most accepted and accessible forms of aerobic exercise for maintaining and improving health. But, if one had to choose between a treadmill and a cycle ergometer, then a treadmill could be preferred because of higher fat oxidation and energy expenditure.

Research has proven that the treadmill results in higher fat oxidation than a cycle ergometer exercise at equivalent exercise intensity or workload done by children, women, men, athletes, and obese adolescents.

The cardiovascular stress caused by treadmill walking is also less than that caused by cycling on an ergometer. It has been postulated that the sympathetic discharge is more after cycling than walking. Also, recovery of parasympathetic discharge is more delayed after cycling than walking. The net effect is that blood pressure reactivity is more for treadmill walking than cycling on an ergometer.

It has been reported that cardiovascular response to treadmill exercise is less in obese or normal-weight women. Similarly, it has been shown that exaggerated systolic blood pressure response to cycling occurred in young, healthy males following a graded exercise test. Similar results were reported in young adults and sedentary women. Thus, in a nutshell, treadmill exercise will cause a lower burden on the cardiovascular system. Therefore, an individual can perform activities for a longer duration or at a higher intensity than cycling.

Studies have confirmed that at equal perceived exertion, the treadmill causes more significant energy expenditure. The energy expenditure also seems to be higher on a treadmill than on a cycle ergometer. However, it has been postulated that if we consider the change in blood lactate levels and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption and oxygen uptake during exercise, the disparity in energy expenditure disappears.


One must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both machines to achieve a better health-related quality of life. In people who require higher fat oxidation to burn their calories at a faster rate, treadmill exercise is preferred. Also, it must be taken into account that the danger of falling from the treadmill is greater for certain specific individuals who have balance issues. For these people, stationary bikes are better because they are easy to use and have less risk of injury. To conclude, both treadmills and stationary bikes have their own advantages and disadvantages. Which suits you is the ultimate deciding factor.

Frequently Asked Questions


Why Running on a Treadmill Is Not Advised?

Running on a treadmill does not involve the hamstrings and the glutes to a greater extent, and also, a treadmill has no finishing line, which makes the workout boring. These are the reasons why the treadmill is not advised.


Can the Treadmill Burn Fat?

In order to lose fat while working on a treadmill, the exercise should be done at the fat-burning zone of every individual. It is different for every individual and corresponds to about seventy percent of the maximum heart rate of that particular individual.


Which Is Good, Treadmill or Walking?

Since walking on a treadmill offers a uniform terrain, it is better to stick to it while walking if the weather is not optimal for outdoor exercises or if the route of walking is not favorable.


Can Belly Fat Be Reduced by the Treadmill?

Working on a treadmill in the fat-burning zone is very much helpful in persons with severe obesity as it not only reduces the belly fat but also the areas of visceral fat.


Can We Use the Treadmill Daily?

Walking on the treadmill in a suitable environment for about 30 minutes daily is advisable and is a form of good aerobic exercise that aids in weight loss.


Do Treadmills Hurt the Knees?

Increasing the speed of the treadmills imposes a strain on the knees and can result in joint pain and irritation due to conditions like IT (iliotibial) band syndrome, runner's knee, and knee bursitis.


Walking for How Long on a Treadmill Is Beneficial?

Walking on the treadmill for about 43 to 44 minutes daily or 300 minutes weekly is beneficial and can result in one kilogram of weight loss in a week.


Does Using the Treadmill Daily Enable Weight Loss?

A treadmill is an excellent form of cardio exercise that helps burn the extra calories and makes you lose weight. Exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes to a maximum of 45 minutes is advisable on a treadmill to effectively lose weight.


What Is the Minimum Speed for a Beginner on a Treadmill?

For walking on a treadmill, a speed between 2 to 4 mph is recommended for beginners. While in the case of jogging, the speed for beginners should be 4-5 mph and anything above five mph in terms of running.


Which Aerobic Exercises Can Be Done at Home?

- Burpees.
- Jump ropes.
- Squat jumps.
- Bicycle crunch.
- Pushups.
- Jumping jacks.
- Mountain climbers.
- Running in place.


What Is the Significance of Aerobic Exercises?

Aerobic exercises are very much helpful in reducing the risk of the following conditions:
- Cardiac diseases.
- Obesity.
- Hypertension.
- Type-2 diabetes mellitus.
- Stroke.
- Metabolic syndromes.
- Osteoporosis.
- Few types of cancer.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
12 May 2023  -  4 min read




Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

Heart Healthy Foods

Article Overview: Are you in search of foods that are healthy for the heart? Read the article below to know about them in detail. Read Article

What Are Heart-Healthy Foods? In the last few decades, heart diseases like atherosclerosis, ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease, and stroke have increased in their count exponentially all around the globe. As per the American Public Health Association, a sedentary l...  Read Article

Heart Valve Regurgitation

Article Overview: Regurgitation is the backflow of blood in the opposite direction due to improper closure of the heart valves. This article discusses why it occurs. Read Article

Lekshmipriya. B
Lekshmipriya. B

What Is Regurgitation? Regurgitation refers to the leakage in the heart valves. The heart comprises four valves that open and close and allow the blood to flow through it. But sometimes, the blood may remain in one valve or get leaked out due to the backflow of the blood in the opposite direction, o...  Read Article

Which waves in my treadmill stress test indicate problems?

Query: Hello doctor, I have attached a treadmill stress test result. I would like to obtain technical info regarding these results, particularly regarding the infarction. I would appreciate the severity of this infarction and whether it could be a machine error. Could you also tell me by perhaps drawing on...  Read Full »

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on Treadmill Test or Aerobic Exercise?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.