Which is better for health? Cycling vs Running

cycling vs running- which is better

What person are you: a cycling person or running person? Running and cycling are classic exercises and hobbies. Are you confused about cycling vs. running? If yes, please don’t.

Both of these are a type of aerobic exercise that is practiced outdoors, whether on nature trails or city streets. Running burns more calories and has a higher impact on muscles and joints than cycling. 

So which one should you choose? This completely depends on your fitness goals and how you plan to achieve them.

Cycling vs. running

Woman lifting her cycle overhead on the top of a mountain
  • Cardiovascular Health Benefits

In terms of cardio health, both cycling and running have equal benefits. Aerobatic activities strengthen your heart, which enables it to pump more oxygen in the blood.

Cardio exercises like biking and running will help your heart pump more efficiently even when your body is resting.

If you practice cycling or running, limit your activities to not more than 60 minutes every day.

According to studies, vigorous exercises done more than 5 hours a week or 60 minutes a day can negatively impact your cardiovascular health.

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  • Calories burn

We are always curious to know how many calories do we burn every day. The number of calories burned depends majorly on the intensity and duration of the exercise. In general, calories burned in the running are more than cycling because they use more body muscles.

Cycling is gentle on the body, and you may be able to cycle for longer than you can run.

If you are biking or running uphill, you will burn more calories than exercising on a flat surface.

Your weight, age, gender, and many other factors determine the base of burning calories. You can consult a doctor to determine your goals.

  • Muscle building

Cycling builds muscle in the lower half of the body. Running won’t bulk on muscles, but it will help you build lean and toned muscles.

When pushing pedal while cycling is a form of resistance training, which makes the leg muscles stronger. The top half muscles of the body are less engaged.

Running uses every muscle of the body at the same time but doesnt engage them in a way to build bulk.

Your bones and muscles get stronger with the impact of hitting the ground.

woman cycling in a park
  • Toned muscles

If you want to tone your muscles than running will be the right choice because it works the whole body and burns more calories comparatively. You can add weight training and change the diet to see noticeable results.

Lean and tones muscles are a result of overall fitness and low-fat content. You cannot decide where the body will lose or gain fat, but you choose the muscle-building spot.

It was found in a study that working out 4-5 times a week is effective to maintain tone muscles among active and aging adults.

The key to tone muscles is exercising for a longer period without getting muscle fatigue.


Short distance sprints are better compared to slow and steady running to achieve a toned body.

  • Weight loss

If you want to lose weight, find the right balance of calories consumed and calories burned. You will burn more calories while running, than means fast weight loss.

However, if you cycle for a long time duration, you can meet the calorie loss and exceed that of running.

The potential of weight loss by cycling or running depends on the way you participate in these cardio activities and how you combine healthy eating and lifestyle. 

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While running is good for burning more calories, cycling is gentle on the joints, which will allow you to exercise for longer stretches and burn more calories.

In a study, it was found in a cycling vs. running challenge that both suppresses appetite in young people.

These cardio activities could help you control your cravings and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.

group of people running on road

Other factors to take into consideration:

Consider these additional factors when you have to choose between cycling vs. running.

How much money do you want to spend?

Cycling is expensive in comparison to running because of the initial investment required for bicycles.

The cost of maintaining a cycle is also involved in the long run. You will have to spend on helmet, shoes, and clothes.

However, buying quality running shoes can be expensive too. You can find hi-tech running gear as well.

Good shoes will protect your joints, and active-wear will keep away the sweat. The right gear helps you run long distances.

If you are more interested in cycling, then use borrowed gear before making the investment.

If you are only looking for a new sport activity to indulge in, the running will be a cheaper option.

Do you have any serious medical conditions?

If you have any chronic medical condition, consult with your doctor before indulging in a new exercise. 

Cycling gently on the joints, but it can negatively impact back pain. 

It is more common to get injured while running. However, if you are poor at keeping balance, then running or jogging will be the safe option.

Final words by Fix The Life

Neither cycling nor running stands far away in the competition that one another. You can pick whichever suits your needs and lifestyles to ensure you enjoy and do it consistently.

You can keep switching between both to reap the benefits of each exercise and not get bored.

Cycling vs running? don’t get into the debate just start now. If you want to achieve specific fitness goals, like muscle toning or weight loss, work with a personal fitness trainer who can help you adapt with an exercise routine to fit your needs.


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