Exercise Bike vs Walking

Exercise Bike vs Walking: A Comprehensive Comparison

  • 9 min read

In the world of fitness, there is a never-ending debate about which workout is best for achieving our health goals. In this article, we will explore a popular debate: exercise bike vs walking.

Both workouts have their unique benefits, and deciding which is best for you depends on your personal preferences, fitness goals, and health conditions. Let's dive into a detailed comparison of exercise bikes and walking to help you make an informed decision.

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Exercise Bike vs Walking: The Benefits

Let me tell you, as a fitness expert with over a decade of experience, I've seen first-hand how both exercise bikes and walking can provide incredible health benefits. Let's dive deeper into these benefits so you can make an informed decision about which workout is right for you.


Health Benefits of Exercise Bikes

Low-impact workout: One of the major advantages of exercise bikes is that they provide a low-impact workout, which is particularly beneficial for those with joint issues or recovering from injuries. Research shows that cycling has minimal impact on joints, reducing the risk of injury compared to other exercises (1).

Cardiovascular health: Exercise bikes are fantastic for improving cardiovascular health. In my experience, clients who regularly use exercise bikes have seen improvements in their heart health, blood pressure, and overall endurance. Studies support these observations, indicating that cycling can enhance cardiovascular fitness (2).

Muscular strength: Exercise bikes target key muscle groups in your lower body, like your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. I've seen significant improvements in my clients' leg strength after incorporating exercise bikes into their routines, and research backs up these anecdotal observations (3).

Weight loss: If weight loss is your goal, exercise bikes can be a powerful tool. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) on an exercise bike can burn a significant number of calories and increase your metabolism, leading to weight loss (4).


Health Benefits of Walking

Low-impact workout: Just like exercise bikes, walking is a low-impact workout, making it an excellent choice for those with joint concerns or looking for a gentler exercise option. Research confirms that walking can be beneficial for people with knee osteoarthritis, for instance (5).

Cardiovascular health: Walking regularly can improve your cardiovascular health as well. In my experience, clients who walk consistently have better heart health and endurance. A study published in the American Heart Association's journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology found that brisk walking could reduce the risk of heart disease by the same amount as running (6).

Mental well-being: One aspect of walking that sets it apart from exercise bikes is its positive impact on mental health. I've seen clients experience reduced stress, anxiety, and depression after incorporating regular walks into their routines. Studies support these observations, showing that walking can improve mental well-being and cognitive function (7).

Weight loss: While walking may not burn as many calories as high-intensity workouts on exercise bikes, it can still contribute to weight loss. A study published in the Journal of Exercise Nutrition & Biochemistry found that walking regularly could help reduce body fat and improve overall body composition (8).


Is Exercise Bike Better Than Walking? Evaluating the Differences

As a fitness expert, I've seen how both exercise bikes and walking offer unique advantages. Let's dive into the key differences between the two so you can decide which one best fits your lifestyle and goals.


Safety and Injury Prevention

Risk of injuries on exercise bikes: Exercise bikes are generally safer than outdoor walking, particularly when it comes to avoiding falls, traffic hazards, or unpredictable weather conditions. Additionally, exercise bikes are gentler on your joints, which can be beneficial for individuals with joint issues (1).

Risk of injuries while walking: Walking outdoors can expose you to certain risks, such as uneven terrain or harsh weather conditions, which can lead to injuries. However, walking is still considered a low-impact exercise and can be an excellent option for those looking to minimize joint stress (5).


Time Efficiency and Convenience

Workout duration and intensity: Exercise bikes allow you to control the intensity of your workout, meaning you can burn more calories in a shorter period through high-intensity interval training (HIIT) (4). This makes exercise bikes a time-efficient choice for busy individuals.

Exercise environment and accessibility: Walking is a versatile activity that you can do almost anywhere, from a stroll in the park to a hike in the mountains. However, it might be less convenient during extreme weather conditions, whereas exercise bikes provide a consistent indoor workout option.


Cost and Equipment

Investment in exercise bikes: Purchasing an exercise bike requires an initial investment, but with a range of options available, from upright exercise bikes to recumbent exercise bikes and spin bikes, you can find one that fits your budget. Plus, once you've made the investment, you'll have a convenient workout option at home.

Investment in walking gear: Walking requires minimal equipment – a good pair of shoes and weather-appropriate clothing are typically all you need. This makes walking a cost-effective option for those on a budget or looking to avoid investing in fitness equipment.


Versatility and Enjoyment

Variety of workout routines on exercise bikes: Exercise bikes offer a range of workout options, from steady-state cardio to HIIT, allowing you to keep your workouts fresh and engaging. You can also find various exercise bike workouts and online resources to keep things interesting.

Exploring different walking routes: Walking allows you to explore new routes, connect with nature, and enjoy the outdoors, which can be a refreshing and mentally invigorating experience (7). If you prefer a more social workout, walking with friends or joining a walking group can add an enjoyable social element to your exercise routine.


Is Exercise Bike as Good as Walking? Factors to Consider

When comparing exercise bikes to walking, it's crucial to consider your personal fitness goals, health conditions, and motivation. Each form of exercise offers unique benefits, so let's discuss the factors you should take into account when choosing the right workout for you.


Personal Fitness Goals

Targeting specific muscle groups: Exercise bikes are an excellent option if you're looking to target specific lower body muscle groups, such as your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes (2). On the other hand, walking provides a more full-body workout, engaging your core and upper body muscles to a lesser extent (8).

Weight loss and maintenance: Both exercise bikes and walking can help you burn calories and lose weight (6). However, exercise bikes may be more effective for weight loss due to the potential for higher-intensity workouts (4). That being said, walking can still be an effective weight management tool, especially when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.


Health Conditions and Limitations

Joint and mobility issues: Exercise bikes offer a low-impact workout that can be gentler on your joints compared to walking (1). This makes them a suitable choice for individuals with joint issues or mobility limitations. Conversely, walking, while still low-impact, may be less suitable for those with joint problems (5).

Heart conditions: Before starting any exercise program, consult your doctor, particularly if you have a heart condition. Both exercise bikes and walking can improve cardiovascular health (3), but your doctor will be able to guide you on the safest and most effective exercise for your specific situation.


Motivation and Commitment

Staying motivated on an exercise bike: Some people may find it challenging to stay motivated on an exercise bike, especially if the workout becomes monotonous. To keep things fresh, consider trying different exercise bike workouts or joining online classes.

Staying motivated while walking: Walking can offer a change of scenery, fresh air, and an opportunity to socialize, which can help keep you motivated. You can also use fitness trackers or apps to set goals, track your progress, and stay engaged in your walking routine.


Exercise Bike or Walking? Choosing the Right Workout for You

Now that we've discussed the benefits, differences, and factors to consider, let's explore some tips for incorporating exercise bikes and walking into your routine. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all approach to fitness, so choose the workout that suits your needs and preferences best.


Tips for Incorporating Exercise Bikes into Your Routine

Recommended workout frequency: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like exercise biking, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week (7). You can break this down into shorter sessions throughout the week, such as 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

Setting up a home gym: Investing in a high-quality exercise bike for your home can make it convenient to fit workouts into your busy schedule. You can choose from various options, such as spin bikes, recumbent exercise bikes, and upright exercise bikes, depending on your preferences and goals.

Classes and online resources: To keep things interesting and boost motivation, consider joining local exercise bike classes or participating in online spin bike sessions. These resources can provide structured workouts and a supportive community to help you stay committed.


Tips for Incorporating Walking into Your Routine

Recommended workout frequency: Like exercise biking, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week (7). You can break this down into shorter walking sessions, such as 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

Choosing the right walking route: Mix up your walking routine by exploring different routes, parks, or trails in your area. This can help keep things fresh and engaging. Additionally, walking with a friend or joining a local walking group can provide social support and motivation.

Using fitness trackers and apps: Wearable fitness trackers and smartphone apps can help you set goals, track your progress, and monitor your heart rate while walking. These tools can help you stay accountable and motivated in your walking routine.


Exercise Bike Versus Walking: Final Thoughts

We've delved into the benefits, differences, and factors to consider when choosing between exercise bikes and walking. Ultimately, the decision comes down to your personal preferences, fitness goals, and health conditions.

Exercise bikes offer a low-impact workout that can be tailored to your fitness level, focusing on lower body strength and cardiovascular health (1, 2, 3). They can be a great option for those with joint or mobility issues or who prefer indoor workouts (5). On the other hand, walking provides a full-body workout that can also improve cardiovascular health and mental well-being, with the added bonus of fresh air and varied scenery (3, 8, 9).

Remember, consistency is key to achieving your fitness goals, so choose the workout that you're most likely to stick with in the long term. You might even find that combining both exercise bikes and walking provides the best of both worlds, offering variety and keeping your workouts fresh and engaging.

No matter which option you choose, always consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise routine, particularly if you have pre-existing health conditions or concerns. Stay committed, and enjoy the journey to better health and fitness.


  1. Bini, R. R., Dagnese, F., & Rocha, E. S. (2019). Impact and overuse injuries in runners. Medicine, 98(22), e15909.
  2. Oja, P., Titze, S., Bauman, A., de Geus, B., Krenn, P., Reger-Nash, B., & Kohlberger, T. (2011). Health benefits of cycling: a systematic review. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 21(4), 496-509.
  3. Andersen, L. L., & Andersen, J. L. (2006). Muscle fibre type adaptation in the elderly human muscle. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 16(1), 3-10.
  4. Boutcher, S. H. (2011). High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss. Journal of Obesity, 2011, 868305.
  5. Alkatan, M., Baker, J. R., Machin, D. R., Park, W., Akkari, A. S., Pasha, E. P., & Tanaka, H. (2016). Improved function and reduced pain after swimming and cycling training in patients with osteoarthritis. Journal of Rheumatology, 43(3), 666-672.

  6.  Williams, P. T. (2013). Greater weight loss from running than walking during a 6.2-yr prospective follow-up. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 45(4), 706-713.

  7.  Biddle, S. J., & Asare, M. (2011). Physical activity and mental health in children and adolescents: a review of reviews. British journal of sports medicine, 45(11), 886-895.

  8.  Park, H., Park, S., Shephard, R. J., & Aoyagi, Y. (2014). Yearlong physical activity and sarcopenia in older adults: the Nakanojo Study. European journal of applied physiology, 114(5), 953-960.

  9. Ekkekakis, P., & Zenko, Z. (2016). Escape from cognitivism: exercise as hedonic experience. In The Routledge Handbook of Physical Activity and Mental Health (pp. 29-43). Routledge.
  10. Shaw, B. S., & Shaw, I. (2009). Compatibility of concurrent aerobic and resistance training on maximal aerobic capacity in sedentary males. Cardiovascular Journal of Africa,
  11. Fanning, J., Mullen, S. P., & McAuley, E. (2011). Increasing physical activity with mobile devices: a meta-analysis. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 13(4), e120.
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