Spring is here. Get outside. Cycling or running – which is the better choice?

Spring is here. Get outside. Cycling or running – which is the better choice?

Which is your spring activity?

The weather is warming, flowers are in bloom, and you're feeling the urge to get outside. You might enjoy a long walk, a little hike or simply sitting outside on the veranda. Or you might aim for some bigger physical challenges and ask yourself: cycling or running – which is the better choice?

We are going to compare these “classics of spring" and see why combining the two is truly the best choice.

Cycling vs Running: which burns calories faster?

The most important question for those who would like to get in shape this spring and summer is how many calories they can burn with a certain activity. There is no definite answer because the amount of calories depends on various factors, such as training intensity, terrain and personal specs like your gender, age, and body weight.

However, there is a general rule: because you are using many more muscles while running, you will burn more calories within the same time compared to cycling. At an average speed of six miles per hour (which equals a pace of ten minutes per mile), a male runner of 175 pounds will burn about 850 Calories an hour. The faster he runs, the more calories he burns.

Just for comparison: you have to go with an average of 12 m/h on the bike to burn at least 600 Calories. In addition, you can get a bit more out of your body, if you intersperse the training with some climbs and sprints. Even more power has to be used when you do not ride on a high-end racing bicycle but on a rickety old one (the latter definitely requires more effort and calories to achieve the same speed).

Cycling vs jogging: which is more joint-friendly?

Despite the fact that you can burn more calories with running, doctors and physical therapists usually advise sports beginners to go cycling rather than jogging. There is a simple reason for that: the strain on the joints is much less on a bicycle.

More than half of the body’s weight is carried by the saddle, which makes cycling one of the most joint-friendly sports of all. In addition, you can still build muscles and reduce stress on a bike. That makes cycling an ideal alternative and supplement to joint stressing sports like running and marathon training.

Cycling or running? Both!

After long runs your body needs to regenerate muscles and joints. If you go for a bike ride, it can do just that while still maintaining a good physical condition. With light physical activity, you can increase your metabolism which aids in recovery. For an additional benefit: clipless pedal systems allow for training of both, the leg extensor and the hamstring muscle. This practices the famous “circular pedal stroke” – which, in turn, can help you optimize your running technique and efficiency.

In short: cycling and running go together really well because cycling provides a good alternative for a varied training plan, especially if the plan includes 25+ running miles every week during marathon training.


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