For most people who have already decided to buy an exercise machine to be used at home, the next step is to decide if they want to buy an exercise bike or elliptical machine. To hardcore bikers, the decision is clear – exercise bike is the only way to go. Elliptical machine will never cross their mind when come to work out. However, for those who would like to explore on other forms of cardiovascular exercises, elliptical machine is something worth considering.
What Is an Exercise Bike and It’s Benefits
First of all, let’s look at what a typical exercise bike can do for you. There are two main types of exercise bikes; Recumbent and Upright exercise bikes. Recumbent exercise bike is more comfortable to work on, as there is a seat with back support for the rider. The pedals are located in front, and therefore the body does not exert pressure on the knees and ankles while riding. Upright exercise bike is designed to emulate a real bicycle on the road, with the pedals right below the seat. The seat is just a normal bicycle seat without any back support. When riding, the rider is in an upright position, and there is a possibility that he/she can ride while in a standing position. This will enable the rider to exert more force, and to work out on other muscles besides the legs.
Watched the video below on benefits of exercise bike, and a simple fat loss workout using the exercise bike.
To use an exercise bike is easy. Everybody knows how to ride a stationary exercise bike. There is hardly any learning curve. It is a great way to exercise with little or no impact to your joints. The main advantage is that you can sit through the entire workout. Recumbent bike is also an excellent choice for those with low back or knee problems.
What Is an Elliptical Machine and it’s Benefits
The elliptical trainer is another low impact exercise machine that replicates running or fast walking with minimal stress on the joints. The elliptical machine has two large pedals that your feet will rest on, and it swings around in a flowing fashion. It is not like running whereby the feet will have to leave the ground repeatedly and then stepping forward. When riding on an elliptical machine, your feet never leave the pedal. They stay on the pedals and move together in a cyclic motion while standing. It has similar feeling with walking on sand dunes. As you put your weight on your foot, the pedal slides down and away. Usually there are handlebars to hold onto, and they served as additional cardio workout on the arms.
Watch the video below for an overview of the benefits of exercising on an elliptical machine.
Not many people will find it easy to work on the elliptical machine especially on their first attempt. It takes some balancing of the body. But once you get the hang of it, exercising using an elliptical machine can be quite fun. Most of the machines allow you to also pedal backwards, therefore involving different parts of your muscles. As you ride on the machine, your arms, legs and the main core muscles are used. This gives a very balanced workout to your entire body.
Exercise Bikes vs. Elliptical Machines: Which Burns More Calories?
One of the main objectives that people buy exercise machine to workout at home is to lose weight. Therefore it makes lots of sense to first determine which machine can actually help you to lose more weight easily before deciding to buy an exercise bike or elliptical machine.
Stationary exercise bikes focus mainly on the lower body. It uses mainly the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes and abdominal muscles. Many leading health and fitness entities have benchmarked the stationary bikes at having a calorie burn rate of approximately 100 to 300 per hour of exercise. This number of course will vary depending on the resistance and intensity level used during the workout.
The elliptical machine works on the whole body, and involves more muscles groups as compared to an exercise bike. The arms, legs, glutes, abdominal, back, shoulders and the obliques are all involved in a typical workout on the elliptical trainer. Therefore it is not surprising to see that it can easily burn at least 300 calories per hour exercising on it.
The elliptical machine is clearly providing a higher calorie burn per hour as compared to the exercise bike due to the core strengthening qualities and the usage of a larger group of muscles. One word of caution here; People will take for granted the fact that elliptical will burn more calories than exercise bike, and therefore they will lose weight faster working on an elliptical. This is only true if there is sufficient resistance and intensity used during the workout with a proper monitoring of your heart beat for effective weight loss.
In summary, both the exercise bikes and elliptical machines burn calories, build aerobic fitness and lung capacity. Each has its own benefits and disadvantages. So exercise bike or elliptical machine? I would say that whichever that you enjoy most and motivates you to start your workout each time, go for that one.
I have compiled a pros and cons list below so that you can have an overview on comparison between exercise bike and elliptical machine to help you make an informed decision.
Pros of Exercise Bike
- Low impact exercise (easy on the joints)
- Able to multi tasks while exercising, e.g. reading a book while working on a recumbent bike
- Ideal for those with back and knee problems (for recumbent bikes only)
- Comfortable (for recumbent bikes only) for rider and tends to exercise longer
- Typically requires less space
- Less expensive
Cons of Exercise Bike
- Exercise is only focusing on the lower body
- Long workouts can become boring as only the legs are moving
- Lower calories burn rate
Pros of Elliptical Machine
- Low impact exercise (easy on the joints)
- Fun to work on
- Exercise involves much more muscle groups of the body, more efficient workout session
- Higher calories burn rate
Cons of Elliptical Machine
- Standing position not suitable for people with back and knee problems
- Challenging for people that could not balance properly
- Movement uncomfortable and difficult to master for some, resulting in de-motivation to continue in exercise programs
- Usually requires more space
- Usually more expensive
I hope you have now a better idea on whether an exercise bike or elliptical machine will work better for you.
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