Is an Exercise Bike as Good as Walking?

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Many people believe that walking is the best form of exercise, period. However, there isn’t a single exercise that can be called the best. Instead, different exercises are suitable for different people. Regardless, walking is definitely beneficial to everyone. But what about using an exercise bike? Is it as good as walking?

Riding an exercise bike is absolutely as good as walking. In some aspects, it is actually superior. Walking is a simple activity that anyone can do. It is relatively low-impact, keeps bones and joints healthy, and improves your overall cardiovascular health. And the same things can be said about an exercise bike as well. Each has its own pros and cons but in general, both are excellent forms of exercise.

Common Benefits

Walking and riding an exercise bike have some shared upsides. As with any form of exercise, these activities also release endorphins inside your body. This leads to an uplifted mood and lower stress levels. Being more active, you will notice that you don’t experience any energy slumps and generally feel less tired throughout the day. Moreover, both walking and cycling are primarily cardio exercises. Meaning, they reduce the likelihood of diabetes, heart diseases, low/high blood pressure, and even some types of cancers. So, you will be leading a longer and happier life.

There are other advantages as well. Using a stationary bike or taking a walk is something that nearly everyone, at any age group and any fitness level, can do. There is no learning curve and both are among the safest forms of exercise out there. Additionally, you will have better stamina and endurance which can be carried forward to other activities.

Exercise Bike vs Walking

Even though both activities are excellent forms of exercise, there are some aspects in which one might excel over the other. We can’t really say with certainty whether walking or indoor cycling is better. The answer will depend on your goals and preferences. The following points that we have discussed should help you decide what’s best for you.

Calories Burned

When talking about the number of calories burned, an exercise bike is a clear winner. According to an article by Harvard Health Publishing and an online calculator by verywellfit.com, stationary cycling can burn between 400 and 900 calories in one hour. The exact value will depend on the intensity and your body weight. In contrast, walking will allow you to burn between 200 and 450 calories per hour. Again, your weight and the pace at which you are walking will matter.

As you can see, there is quite a big difference. So, if your main goal is to get rid of fat and lose weight, an exercise bike is the way to go. The key to weight loss is to maintain a proper diet and burn as many calories as possible.

➥ If you specifically want to target your abdomen for losing betty fat, then, we suggest you have a look at the comparison between exercise bikes and treadmills for losing belly fat.

Indoor cycling

Indoor cycling

Bone Strength

Exercise plays a very important role in maintaining healthy bones. The ones which will develop bone strength the most are load-bearing exercises. While walking, your legs have to support your entire body the whole time. Meanwhile, you will most likely be sitting a lot of the time during stationary cycling, especially on a recumbent bike. Hence, not as much load will be on your legs. For someone who walks, there will be a lower chance of osteoporosis onset which causes the bones to become thin and less dense.

Muscle Development

You can probably guess that both indoor cycling and walking target the lower body muscles. These include the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves, among others. You also get some engagement of the core muscles. While it is not possible to build a lot of muscle mass, you can tone your muscles and enhance endurance with these exercises. If you are frequently walking uphill or pedaling at a high resistance level, you will definitely be building up more strength in your legs than before.

Impact Level

Walking and cycling on an exercise bike are both classified as low-impact exercises. However, there are slight differences that you should know. In most cases, walking does have a slightly higher impact compared to cycling. And if you have a sprained ankle or bad knees, then going for a walk might not be an option. We suggest carrying out certain exercises for bad knees.  Indoor cycling can be done even with an injury in most cases.

Secondly, there is one issue that might arise from cycling. The repetitive circular motion can cause strain in the knee joint for some. The best way to avoid this is to properly set up the seat. Also, standing up on the exercise bike and at high resistance levels does slightly increase the stress placed on the knees. Those who face such issues or have any back problems should use a recumbent stationary bike.

Expenses

When it comes to walking outdoors, there is no major expense at all. All you need are a good pair of shoes that fit well. Therefore, you can pick up this habit at any time. You have two ways of using an exercise bike. Either join a gym or buy a machine for home, and both will cost money. Getting an exercise bike for your home might be the better option since you are spending money only once. After that, it’s practically free. One major advantage of an exercise bike is that the weather will never be an obstacle.

Long-term & Short-term Effects

Walking is an activity that can be done by people for years, even into old age, without much of an issue. Exercising on a stationary bike can also be done for years. However, some problems might arise. For example, the bike itself might need occasional maintenance. There is also the possibility of a complete breakdown, in which case you’ll have to buy another one. Furthermore, a lot of people might develop overuse injuries with indoor cycling. You should take care to maintain proper position and give yourself enough rest. In essence, walking is something that you are more likely to stick to for longer. Hence, there are more long-term benefits.

Going for a walk

Going for a walk

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Which activity is less boring, walking or indoor cycling?

Ans.: Using a stationary bike is relatively more boring. This is because you are pedaling in the same place every day with the same view. Conversely, while taking a walk, you are going outside, breathing in the fresh air, and looking at different scenery. You can also go on different routes and walk with others, making it enjoyable. To make your indoor cycling less boring, you could set up the machine in front of a tv, or listen to audiobooks. You could also try joining a spin class which lets you work out with a group.

Q2. Should I do both exercises?

Ans.: Yes, if you want to. That way you will be getting more overall exercise and you’ll reap the benefits of both walking and cycling. As we have already said, there is no clear winner between these two. In fact, we encourage you to try out other exercises as well and find which suits you best. There is absolutely no reason for you to adamantly stick to one form of physical activity. However, be sure to consult with a doctor beforehand in case you have any medical conditions.

Q3. Should I walk on a treadmill or outdoors?

Ans.: Generally, going for a walk outside is less boring and you’ll feel better going outside after working indoors all day. You have the option to go on different routes, and even go on hikes to enjoy the scenery. On the other hand, you can use a treadmill anytime and in any weather, if you have one at home. Also, there is no need to dress up too much. There are no real advantages in terms of health with one or the other. So, just choose what you want to do.

Conclusion

As you can see, using an exercise bike and walking are both excellent cardiovascular exercises. Going for a walk is very simple, barely costs anything, and can be done by anyone. While a stationary bike has less impact and burns a lot of calories. Ultimately, the better of the two depends on your requirements and preferences.

My name is Dion Lewis. I’ve been cycling since my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions. In my college life, I took a part-time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally. Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or bike gear.

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