Cycling Vs. Running: Which One Is Better for Your Health?

We all want to get fitter, faster, healthier at every stage of life. But some questions are always buzzing in our minds. For example, running or cycling, which is the more effective exercise for getting fit? And there is always a debate on it.

Some of your friends may have signed up for races on the reg. In fact, they have the medals to prove it. They know the difference between a half-marathon pace vs. a sprint pace. You may also have friends who are obsessed with two-wheelers, cycling. Today we will discuss the following facts you should know before choosing any: 

Building Muscle

In cycling, the quadriceps and hamstrings in the upper legs, the soleus, and gastrocnemius in the calves are responsible for the bulk of the power. Whereas in the running, the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, iliopsoas, also calves are the major muscles that stay engaged. 

Running does not develop muscle, but it can help you maintain strength and decrease fat, so your muscles seem more defined. For a slimmer appearance, run slower for longer. Whereas cycling can help you gain muscle in your lower body. When you run, your abs hold you straight, whereas your back and the bike keep you upright when you cycle.

Weight Loss

There’s more to losing weight than exercising. In addition, it’s important to maintain a healthy balance between the number of calories consumed and what you have burned. 

Diet with exercise is the best way to lose weight. Because running burns more calories than cycling, it makes sense to suggest that running is also better for weight loss, right? There are a lot of factors to consider. The intensity, frequency, also a safe practice of any exercise you like to do are among the most important.

In order to make an informed decision, one needs to consider a lot of aspects beforehand. When it comes to doing exercises, intensity, frequency, and safety are all crucial. Although running burns more calories than cycling, the latter is easier on your joints. Longer cycling sessions can burn just as many calories as a shorter running session, if not more.

Young men’s appetite may be suppressed by both running and cycling, according to a 2013 study. Therefore, you can benefit from either sort of exercise if you’re aiming to lose weight by restricting your food intake.

Burning Calories

Your calorie expenditure relies on the intensity and duration of each workout you perform. When it comes to burning calories, both cycling and running are fantastic ways to perform. 

Running, in general, burns more calories than cycling since it involves more muscle use, and Cycling, on the other hand, is kinder on the body, and you may be able to do it longer or faster than running. For any component of your activity that involves jogging or cycling uphill, you’ll burn more calories than if you were exercising on level terrain.

Heart Health Benefits

Running and cycling are both good for your heart. As a result of regular cycling, the risk of cardiovascular disease reduces, improves lung health, stimulates blood circulation, strengthens heart muscles, lowers resting pulse rate, reduces levels of fat in the blood and many more. On the contrary, a large-scale study of 263,450 participants found that cycling to work lowered the incidence of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality. They also found that walking to work decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Another study found that cycling was helpful for people suffering from strokes which improved heart rate recovery after exercise.

Bone Health Benefits

For long-term bone health, running may be preferable to cycling. In fact, if you think for bone improvement, running can be the best option for the long term, which puts a greater strain on bone than cycling

Whereas non-weight bearing exercise such as cycling is a low-impact workout that is gentle on the joints. At some point, cycling can be effective for reducing the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.

Risk of Injury

Injuries can spell catastrophe for your well-planned workout regimen.

In the case of cycling, here’s a list of some of the most common cycling:

  • knee pain
  • head injury
  • neck pain
  • back pain
  • wrist or forearm pain or numbness
  • genital or rectal pain or numbness
  • foot numbness or tingling

Runners are most likely to get a knee injury. Injuries caused by running include:

  • foot
  • legs, including the thigh and Achilles tendon
  • pelvis
  • back

Consult your doctor if you have previous injuries, especially in certain areas of the body, to determine if exercising is safe for you. Then again, starting activity may require them to take extra measures as well.

Pain Points

Although exercise is a great way to build yourself up, there are detrimental facts too. Scientific research conducted on groups of cyclists vs. runners at identical exercise intensities validated the widely held idea that running is harder on the body than cycling. Runners’ signs of muscle injury were 33-40 percent higher than cyclists.

Limitation of Age with Exploring Many Places

One of the biggest advantages of cycling is that it’s far easier on your joints than other forms of exercise. In the case of runners, this can be the difference between needing knee surgery as you age or not. However, the added bonus is that cycling is a better activity for senior athletes to get into or stay in shape because it doesn’t put additional stress on aging or arthritic joints.

Equipment’s Requirements

When it comes to cycling, you need a complete outfit, as well as some cycling-specific. Even though runners prefer to amass clothes for all seasons, at least some of that clothing can be used for other sports as well.

Hunger Reduction

According to common knowledge among athletes, running was thought to be a better technique to suppress hunger throughout the day than cycling. After a pair of studies that impression has shifted dramatically as it is found that cycling or running are equally effective at suppressing a hunger hormone. Don’t haste to make a decision, there are still a few facts you should consider.


Want a workout that’s essentially free? That’s running… for the most part. If you have running shoes, you can run outside without spending a dime. Of course, you can potentially spend money on running. At some point, you may need to buy good-quality running shoes, which can get expensive.

Due to the fact that it requires an initial investment, cycling is more expensive than running. Besides purchasing helmets, cycling shoes, clothes can add up to your budget. It can even increase if you are having a high-tech bike as it requires special maintenance.

Underlying Chronic Conditions

Even a little exercise can have a tremendous impact on virtually everything. But if you have a chronic health issue, it’s crucial to check with your doctor beforehand to make sure your chosen exercise is safe for you. As an example, if you have diabetes, exercising too much may raise your chance of developing low blood sugar, may suffer a deadly complication known as ketoacidosis.

Running or cycling both have disadvantages over advantages, it’s hard to say which is better for you in the long run. It is all your choice. If you don’t enjoy running, you won’t do it much. But if you are fond of your cycle, you’ll probably enjoy cycling every day. So choose the option that makes you the happiest, then make it work. The greatest decision is the one that makes you feel good or fits into your healthy lifestyle.

Anika Bushra
Creative, strategic and collaborative professional with hands-on-experience and broad knowledge in Copywriting, Content Writing, Campaign Ideation, Feature Writing, Public health, Biochemistry, Molecular biology, Genetic engineering as well as Biotechnology. Currently working on sustainable agriculture projects and my recent mission is to discover new things related to sustainable developments


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