As you go about getting your cardio training in, you may start to wonder what the best method of cardio exercise is. Should you choose one over the other? The debate is often between running and using a stationary exercise trainer, but what about cycling? Where does it fit in?
If you were going to choose between cycling and using the stationary exercise trainer, which one should win? Let us look at a few things to consider…
1. The Impact. The good news is both of these are a very low-impact means of cardio training. You will not be putting your joints under much stress by doing them, and as such, the risk of injuries is considerably lower.
Both are great for those who are recovering from injuries as well, as many people are.
2. The Calorie Burn. Also consider the calorie burn. Here, there is a clear winner. The stationary exercise trainer is going to burn more calories than the bicycle because both the upper and lower body is involved. Also, you will be standing as you do this movement pattern, meaning more core engagement is also going to take place, and core engagement is further going to help not only strengthen the midsection but increase your calorie burn.
This assumes, of course, both exercises are being completed at similar intensity levels.
3. The Upper Body Involvement. The upper body involvement is the next big factor to consider. As just noted, you will not be getting much upper body involvement when riding the bicycle, so the only strengthening benefits you will receive are those that are directly focused on the lower body.
With the stationary exercise trainer, provided you are holding onto the handlebars, you will get upper body stimulation as well, so it is more of a total body workout.
4. The Biomechanics. Finally, also think about the biomechanics. This is going to be personal preference here. Some people will find the bike is a lot more comfortable than the stationary exercise trainer while others will find the stationary exercise trainer is more comfortable than the bike.
This simply comes down to how these two pieces of equipment are built in relation to your own body movement patterns. Generally speaking, you will almost always perform better and be able to exercise at a higher intensity level on the piece of equipment you feel most comfortable on, so that may sway your selection in exercise execution.
There you have a few of the main factors to think about regarding whether you should use the bike or the stationary exercise trainer. Both are excellent pieces of cardio equipment and if you choose to work hard, will serve you well.