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Treadmill vs Stationary Bike for Weight Loss: Which Burns More Calories & Fat?

stationary bike vs treadmill for weight loss
Written by Sharon Williams
Last Update: December 12, 2022

Benefits of Treadmill vs Stationary Bike

According to Harvard Health Publishing, people trying to lose weight have an advantage when they try to do it with a treadmill. The treadmill burns more calories than other machines—why? When people walk and run, they bear their body weight. Hence they use more of their body mass. This cannot be said about other exercises.



  • People burn more calories when they run or walk on a steep incline
  • They are foolproof, and everyone can do them
  • Treadmills have different speeds and inclines you want to run


  • When jogging on a treadmill, there is a higher risk of getting injuries like knee or back pains
  • It is easy to cheat on a treadmill because The handles can be tempting to hold.
  • The incline function breaks down so often
  • The impacts on the joints can make the exercises too demanding, especially for older people
  • People fall when using the machine.

Stationary Bike


  • When compared to a treadmill, the risk of getting injuries from a stationary bike is low
  • Easy to do for most people
  • They strengthen your lower body muscles
  • When you use the high resistance adequately, you can build your strength
  • They are non-impact


  • Compared to the treadmill, you cannot burn as many calories
  • You do not involve the upper body on a stationary bike
  • If you sit for too long, your butt may sting

Treadmill Vs Stationary Bike – What Are the Differences

Treadmill Vs Stationary Bike - What Are the Differences

Consider the following factors when pitching these two machines against each other.

  • Muscle Strength

When used properly, Stationary bikes may help you build strength. However, the case for a treadmill helping you to build muscles is strictly technical. As you run, your muscles are going to get tougher, especially when you find your limits and set new ones. However, since the stationary bike is such specialized machinery for the lower body, they will give you are a faster result for toning your thighs and hamstrings, etc.

  • Fat Burning

Fat forms in the body when people consume more energy than their body can burn out.

Treadmills provide an optimized workout for people as they are a high-intensity machine that works the whole body. People can lose as much as 700 calories in a single hour on a treadmill.

However, the same cannot be said about a stationary bike as they are specialized machine which works mostly the lower body. Even if the stationary bike can build endurance in an individual, one cannot burn as much fat as they would burn on a treadmill.

  • Joint Impact

When pitching these two types of machinery together, we have to consider the joint impact.

Running and jogging are high impact exercises, which means your joints absorb the impact of your feet hitting the floor.

The treadmill is a device, which helps people to jog or run in a controlled environment for comfort. Since the treadmill facilitates people to run, then they are a high impact machine and increases the risk of people having some form of joint injury like knee pain, etc.

Stationary bikes, on the other hand, do a better job absorbing impacts to the joints, hence reducing the risk of getting injured.

  • Weight Loss

Before most people go into starting a workout, they are trying to lose weight. You need to burn more calories than you take, so exercises that burn plenty of calories are the go-to for most people and will be great for you to accomplish your goal. The more calories you burn within a limited window, the more you burn excess weight.

the treadmill is a great asset and easily beats the stationary bike in this aspect. People can burn as much as 700 calories an hour if they jog or walk at a high incline using a fast pace. This will help most people burn more than they consume; however, with the bike, it is unlikely you will burn more than 500 calories even when the speed is set to high.

  • Full-Body Workout

Working on a treadmill is an optimized workout for the whole body. This factor is why they are preferential when losing weight. Generally, the farther one can run or jog for determines their fitness levels.

The stationary bikes do not provide the same kind of workouts that the treadmill would provide. All you have to do is sit and pedal away. While pedaling, it is only the lower body that puts in the work, and the only other muscles are the core if you tense them when you work out.

  • Tracking Progress

The stationary bikes and the treadmill offer the same function in this aspect. One can track their progress in both the treadmill and the stationary bike.

  • Focus On Legs

The stationary bike has an advantage over the treadmill here due to the fact that a stationary bike is a specialized machine for the lower body. Your legs are set to have a more defined and toned look.

The stationary bikes provide a safe and effective aerobic exercise. Stationary bikes work the quadriceps. Calf muscles and the hamstrings. And you can optimize the entire workout by increasing the resistance. Stationary bikes create workout plans that can stimulate interval training, hill climbing, and hill work. In all these, stationary bikes focus squarely on the legs.

  • Health Risk Reduction

One thing to consider when comparing the treadmill with the stationary bike is the health risks associated with them both. As we have earlier established, the treadmill is a high impact. That is not just the downside of the treadmill as they also come with the risk of falling off the machine. You can sprain your ankle if you land awkwardly, and depending on the severity, you are likely to be sidelined for weeks or months.

The bikes do not come with the severe injury risks that the treadmills have; however, they still have risks. For example, if you sit for too long on a stationary bike, you will have butt pain, and the circular motions can give you knee pain, and the back or shoulders develop pains from being hunched for a prolonged period.

However, taking some days off can help to manage pain or reduce the chances of having sore knees. Treadmills and stationary bikes come with their risks, although at the end of the day, treadmill injuries are more severe.

  • Machine Durability

Treadmills are more likely to break down. There is a lot that can go wrong with the belt motor and the inclination. In contrast, stationary bikes do not easily break down and would not require as much servicing as the stationary bike would require.

  • Variability

Constant variability is important for progression, meaning it is necessary to change the plan once in a while; otherwise, you become bored, and the workout becomes less thrilling. They both offer the same amount of variables to mix things up. With stationary bikes, you can increase the resistance and the speed while with the treadmill, you can mess with speed and increase the incline.

  • Ease of Use

There is no huge difference in this aspect because they require pretty natural movements you have done before. The treadmill might need a little adjustment for people to feel the belt moving beneath them while the bike just requires a hop and a go making them slightly more advantageous for beginners.

  • Ease of Maintenance

Treadmills would require more servicing than stationary bikes would require.

  • Space

Considering the size of the bikes and the treadmill, the bikes seem more compatible in a room and do not require as much space as the treadmill would demand. So if your space is tight, then we recommend going for stationary bikes.

  • Cost

Depending on where you look, the grade, durability, and functionality of the machine, exercise bikes are less expensive as you can buy them for as low as $60 to as high as $800, while treadmills can cost as low as $100 to as high as $2300.


After deliberating on the pros and cons of the stationary bike and the treadmill, the stationary bikes feel better because they are easy to use, reduces injury risk, and are generally a tough machine. However, if you are desperate to lose some weight, then the treadmill is just the one for you.


1. Can You Lose Belly Fat by Riding a Stationary Bike?

Ans: Like every other exercise that drops calories, stationary bikes can reduce belly fat. However, it is going to be a much slower process.

2. Are 30 Minutes On the Exercise Bike Good?

Ans: It is recommended to have a weekly 15 minutes of cardiovascular exercise weekly, and if you are able to keep this up daily, then you are right on track for optimal fitness.

3. Is Biking Good for Your Butt?

Ans: Biking can help tone your thigh, butt, and legs, just like running and swimming would. They would strengthen and build the leg joints and also help you to lose fat on thighs and calves.

4. How Much Weight Can I Lose Cycling 1 Hour a Day?

Ans: People who bike 1 hour a day at high intensity can lose as much as 500 calories.

About the author

Sharon Williams

A Certified Dietitian

This is Sharon, addressing those who are currently spending some time at the local gym or planning to opt in for a particular program. Among my friends and relatives, I got a lot of people who went to the gym, took exercises for months or years, and had patience to see a fit, strong, and perfect body, but in vain. Some of them used to complain against the instructors while some of them against the equipment and tools. However, nobody would talk about the diet and nutrition they were receiving. How could they tell? I guess most of them didn’t have the idea that a balanced diet should be the foremost thing to ensure while working out regularly. Here I got the motivation to go ahead with the subject. Truly speaking, I enjoy working on this track because it feels like helping out those who really need. Are you one of them? Let’s see my blog posts on this website!

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