Have you been thinking about changing your fitness routine?
You want to get fitter, but you don’t know which is better: an exercise bike or walking? We’ll explain the differences and help you choose.
We’ve put together a complete guide to help you decide which is better an exercise bike or walking to give you one less thing to think about!
Which Is Better an Exercise Bike or Walking
There are a lot of important components of fitness. What is important to one person may not matter to another.
So, to make your decision as easy as possible, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most important considerations and what that means for your choice between an exercise bike or walking.
Technically, walking can be done anywhere. In fact, you could walk laps around your home all day and get the same amount of steps as someone who goes for long walks in nature.
However, that’s often not a very exciting workout! When it comes to walking, you have a few choices. You can buy a treadmill to get your steps in from the comfort of your own home, or you can walk outdoors.
Unfortunately, a treadmill can be one of the more expensive fitness machines. They do come in a range of prices, though.
If you’re willing to give up some of the more in-depth analytics screens which are frequently designed for runners then you can find a more budget-friendly price.
If you chose the outdoor walking route, your biggest expenses will be a comfortable pair of trainers and any additional accessories.
Exercise bikes are found in gyms all over the world. If you already have a membership, they’ll be easy to find.
They are also incredibly easy to keep in your home, whether you have a home gym or just enough space for an exercise bike. They tend to run a lot cheaper than most treadmills, too. While it doesn’t beat the non-existent price of walking outdoors, it remains a budget-friendly choice.
Weight Loss Options
Walking and using an exercise bike are ways of exercising that will help you burn calories and lose weight if you’re doing enough of it. However, this is an area where one option outshines the other. The use of an exercise bike is a faster way to help you lose weight.
Which Burns More Calories?
A person of average height and weight can burn as many as 391 calories on an exercise bike after only 30 minutes (if you’re using it vigorously). Depending on your body and the intensity of your workout, this can go up or down. That’s not a bad number! Biking is guaranteed to work up a sweat.
Comparatively, someone of the same weight is likely to burn anywhere between 75-100 calories per mile of walking. Most people walk a mile in about 20 minutes.
So, it’ll take quite a bit more time to burn as many calories from walking! You can certainly increase the number of calories burned if you’re walking uphill and at a brisk pace, but it will still be less than the exercise bike.
Which Burns More Fat?
One of the biggest reasons to work out is to burn fat. Exercise bikes are very effective at burning fat in your legs, butt, and thighs – your lower body! This can be especially great if you feel you have excess leg flab or cellulite.
However, many people find it surprising that walking actually helps you burn more fat. This may be because it’s considered a weight-bearing activity, while cycling isn’t. You can burn up to 5 percent more fat with walking than you would by riding a bike.
Walking is also very good at toning your core muscles, so it will definitely help if you feel like you’re “flabby around the middle.” Plus, it strengthens your heart and lungs which leads to better endurance.
Which Builds More Strength?
There is a common belief that you can’t build strength without weights. However, strength training simply means building the muscles in your body to make them stronger or more capable of doing work. You can “build strength” by using resistance bands, working out on an exercise bike, and even swimming.
Both walking and cycling are excellent at building your lower body muscles, but walking actually has more carryover than other workouts. For example, adding ankle weights while you’re walking will help you build strength even faster than biking would. They can be very useful for muscle toning and toning the core area.
According to Healthline, cycling is associated with increased strength. One study discovered that cycling increased strength and muscle hypertrophy. This effect was more prominent in older adults than younger adults. However, younger adults could achieve the same effect by cycling at a higher intensity.
Walking is one of the lowest intensity workouts you can find. So, it’s perfect for those who have health concerns that are triggered by high-intensity exercise. It’s also incredibly easy to modify.
If you feel out of breath or any type of pain, you can slow down or stop immediately. The biggest risk with walking is that if you are walking in an area alone and you fall down, you may struggle to find help.
So, if this is a concern, make sure to walk with a buddy or keep a cellphone on you whenever you go out for walks.
Exercise bikes also have a limited impact on your joints and muscles. Since you’re suspended, you’re putting less stress on your body. It’s certainly a step-up from many exercise machines and activities (like running), though it still isn’t as safe as walking.
When deciding which is better an exercise bike or walking, you always have the option of going for both. Since walking and exercise bike use are both low impact, you can do both with confidence that you aren’t going to overwork your body.
Which Workout Option is Better for Those With Injuries?
Both cycling and walking are lower impact activities and can be good to perform if you have injuries. However, be sure to choose the one that feels best for any injuries you have.
It’s also a good idea to warm up with gentle stretching before you do either of these exercises. Cycling can strain your joints and is bad for people who have arthritis in the knees or hips. If you want to bike, be sure that it’s not painful when you do so.
When it comes to walking, you’re less likely to strain your joints. This is why it’s especially good if you have arthritis or are recovering from an injury. However, this doesn’t mean that walking is without any risks.
In conclusion, cycling may be a more acceptable form of exercise if you have pain when doing weight-bearing exercises like walking. Walking, on the other hand, may be a better option if the bent position of cycling causes you pain.
Weight loss isn’t always the only reason for exercising! Many folks choose to exercise to work on specific parts of their body or gain more overall strength. So, what parts of the body do each exercise target?
Walking will help in the following areas:
- Glutes (especially when walking uphill)
- Hip flexors
Using an exercise bike will help with these areas:
- Upper body (biceps, triceps, shoulders – if the bicycle has handles)
So, both mode of exercise is almost tied when it comes to the number of areas that it targets. If you want to work on the strength of your legs, it’s not a huge difference. Though, the exercise bike has a slight edge for walking out the core and the back.
Curious about comparing other exercises? Check out some of our other guides!
Cycling or Walking: Which Option Should You Choose?
There are clear strengths and weaknesses when choosing which is better an exercise bike or walking.
Exercise bikes are going to work out more parts of your body and help you lose weight faster. Also, there are plenty of budget-friendly models.
Walking, on the other hand, is the ultimate safe choice, and can even be done for free if you choose to walk outside. However, it’ll impact fewer parts of your body and take longer for you to lose weight if that’s your goal.
Cycling and walking both provide you a great workout while having a lower impact than other kinds of exercise.
If you’re uncertain, try both and discover which one feels more comfortable and fun. Even if you don’t own a bike, you should rent or borrow one to get a feel for it.
Cycling tends to benefit people who:
- don’t have much time to exercise
- enjoy a faster pace
Walking is beneficial if you have:
- bone density issues, such as osteoporosis
- back pain
- limited funds to invest in a bike and related bike gear
Don’t have any of these issues?
Then base your choice on what you enjoy doing more and what is more convenient for you.
For example, you can try replacing your commute to work with cycling. But, if you have to take your bike on a car or public transit to get to a place where you can bike, then cycling may not be the most convenient option for you.