Running on a Treadmill vs Cycling – Which is Best for Weight Loss?

Running on a Treadmill vs Cycling on a Stationary Bike - strip img

If you are on a weight loss journey, then you will know that every calorie counts. Whether you are eating them or burning them off, small numbers soon add up. In this post, we are going to look at two of the most popular types of cardio – running on a treadmill and cycling on a stationary bike – to consider which of these will help you to reach your weight loss goals faster.

How many calories will your burn treadmill walking?

When it comes to using a treadmill to lose weight, the more effort you put in the more it will pay off.

Starting gently, after 30 minutes of walking at a pace of 3.5 mph, a 125lb person will burn about 107 calories, a 155lb person will burn 133, and a 185lb person will burn 159. If you increase this to 4 mph, a 125lb person will around 135 calories, a 155lb person will burn 175, and a 185lb person will burn 189.

Treadmill calories

How many calories do you burn jogging on a treadmill?

Once you are ready to pick up the pace and burst into a jog the numbers incline even more.

  • A 125lb person, 155lb person, and a 185lb person will burn 180, 216, and 252 calories in a 30-minute session.
  • At 5mph, these go up to 240, 288, and 336.
  • At 6pmh, they rise again to 295, 360 and 420. And at 7.5mph, a 125lb person, 155lb person, and a 185lb person will burn 375, 450, and 525 calories…phew!

Hopefully, you followed us as we made our way through those numbers. The point of going through each increment of speed and corresponding calorie burn is that the treadmill offers a fantastic range of settings. Pushing yourself to add some extra speed can make a big difference to your end results.


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Stationary bike calories

In comparison to the treadmill, which is mainly focused on speed (although you can and should add an incline to your workout to make it more challenging), there are two metrics that you will be constantly adjusting while working out on a stationary bike: cadence and resistance.

Cadence is the number of spins your legs do per minute, whereas resistance is how difficult each spin is.

If you have ever sat on a stationary bike and rode without any resistance, you will know that it takes zero energy! ‘Adding on gears’ mimics the effect of cycling uphill.

Resistance levels are not standardised and vary from bike to bike, so we tend to talk about ‘moderate’ and ‘high’ intensity bike workouts, rather than focus on specific numbers.

stationary bike calories

During a 30-minute moderate-intensity workout, a 125lb person will burn about 210 calories, a 155lb person will burn 252, and a 185lb person will burn 294. This is comparable to a 4.5 mph jog on a treadmill. A high-intensity workout will see the same people burn around 315, 378 and 441 calories, which is roughly equivalent to a 6.5-7mph jog.


Treadmill vs stationary bike – which is better for losing weight?

You might have already spotted that neither the treadmill nor the stationary bike is necessarily better, what matters is how much effort you put into each session. The number of calories burned is roughly equivalent. So, we need to bring some other factors into consideration to determine which of the two is better for weight loss.

An important difference between the two machines is that running on a treadmill is a high impact exercise, whereas cycling on a stationary bike is a low impact exercise. This means that your joints are better protected from injury on the bike. There are lots of reasons why someone might prefer a low impact exercise, from injury to health conditions, or just to protect healthy joints. If you have knee problems, cycling is a good way to flush through the joint and reduce pain.

Another benefit of a bike is that you can exercise while sitting down. This makes it a good option for anyone with mobility issues, including seniors. It can also be more comfortable, especially for women who find that running causes their chest to bounce.

A final point to consider is that running offers very little by way of conditioning, whereas the resistance levels on a bike add an element of muscle resistance and promote endurance muscle growth. This will not add bulky muscle to your lower body – you will need to weightlift to achieve that – but it will add tone and shape to your physique.

Final verdict

Both a treadmill and a stationary bike can be used as part of a weight-loss programme to achieve fantastic results. However, in our opinion, the stationary bike wins out for its low impact on the joints, the comfort of sitting down, and the greater opportunities for muscle conditioning.

Tom Armstrong

Hey! I've been training in all kinds of places, with all kinds of equipment for the best part of 30 years. I love training with my weights at home and writing about new products and training methods online. Well, with a name like Armstrong, I would have to be into training, right?

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