Exercise should be a regular part of our routine, especially if we have a desk job or a weight problem. Fortunately, there are several types of exercise, so we don’t have to be bored when chalking out an exercise regime.
The most common forms of exercise, which are also easy and enjoyable, include running and cycling. Some people prefer to set aside some time every day for running, be it on the treadmill or outdoors. Others find it more beneficial to strap on a helmet and knee pads, then zooming about on a bicycle. Of course, there are also cycling machines which many might have at their local gym or right at home.
However, which one is better? This seems to be a never-ending debate, especially among fitness and health enthusiasts: should we prefer biking or running? In order to make the decision easier, we’ll discuss the many benefits as well as disadvantages of both activities. There’s no right answer, but we can look at how these two compare with each other as an exercise for health or weight loss.
To start with, both running and biking are excellent forms of aerobic exercises that involve large muscle mass. However, there are some quite apparent differences between these two. Let’s examine them one by one.
Burning Calories and A Full Body Workout
Generally, in terms of burning calories, it is running that does the job better than cycling if you’re going by the per minute rule. Running generally burns more calories in less time than cycling does.
Even if you begin to do vigorous and intense cycling, the difference would be likely minimal at best. Plus, with running, you get an optimum full body workout, which is more than you obtain with cycling.
Cycling works wonder on the legs more than the rest of the body. It hence makes sense to go for cycling on days when you want to concentrate on toning your legs.
According to the computations conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine, a person who weighs 150 pounds and performs brisk running at seven minutes per mile will burn about 1,000 calories per hour. This is in comparison to a person (weighing the same amount) who does steady biking at 16 to 19 miles per hour, which results in about 850 calories burned.
Metabolic Level and Convenience
Running also does better than even the fastest cycling at the metabolic level. Consider the fact that when you’re biking down the hill, your body is basically at rest. This is because you’re just gliding along and not actually putting any effort into intense physical activity.
With running, though, you have to put in more and more effort as you go along. Running downhill might be easier, but you’re still burning calories and pounding your feet down as you go. Plus, you have to remain in control of your body in order to avoid going too fast or smashing into an obstacle.
Logically, running is also a lot more convenient than cycling. If you’re going out to have an outdoor workout, all you have to do is just head out your front door and go have a race right away. With cycling, you need to have the right kind of equipment, consider the time, check out the traffic, and adhere to a lot more rules than with simple running.
In terms of the level of enjoyment, running is a pleasant enough activity. This is especially true if you’re running outdoors in a nice area. If you have a park nearby or live in a gated community, running could be an excellent and enjoyable way to get both exercise and fresh air.
However, running can become quite boring if you don’t have all the factors above. If the weather isn’t comfortable, for instance, your running routine could become very uncomfortable. It might even be dangerous to run in the extreme heat or cold. On the other hand, running on a treadmill a home or in the gym could become quite a tedious activity.
If you want to have that element of speed and danger, though, this is where cycling comes out on top. You can have a whole lot of fun especially if you’ve got a road or mountain bike, which will enable you to reach astonishing speeds whenever you’re biking down a steep hill.
The feeling of biking downhill is an exhilarating experience, and lets you feel alive in a way that running simply can’t. While both activities get your adrenaline pumping, there’s no doubt that many people would say they actually enjoy cycling. Running, on the other hand, is only enjoyable up to a certain point and in specific situations.
Time Management and Commuting
Biking outdoes running from a time management perspective. When you’re commuting to a certain destination, time is of the essence. Of course, biking takes you to the office and back a lot faster than running.
Aside from the matter of speed, biking also enables you to bring essential stuff along. For example, when you’re on the way to the Laundromat twelve blocks away and you have to bring a pile of clothes, biking is a much better option than lugging a huge bag on foot.
However, one advantage of running for your commute is that you don’t have to bother taking care of anything but your own self. A bicycle needs care and maintenance. Even going inside a coffee shop for your morning latte would necessitate you taking out the time to chain up your bike. If you don’t it might get stolen. You also need a safe space to park your bike when you’re in the office or even at home.
Intensity Level and Likelihood of Injuries
One downside of running is that it’s more associated with injuries and muscle soreness. It also puts a lot of pressure on your feet, resulting in issues like twisted ankles or plantar fasciitis.
Biking, however, is a gentler activity that doesn’t put too much pressure and weight on your knees and joints. It’s also far less painful on most muscles in the body, except maybe for the rear and lower back.
When it comes to enhancing your cardiovascular system, the benefits of cycling and running are more or less equal. In fact, any aerobic activities will help to make your heart stronger. This will helps it pump oxygen into your body more easily than before.
Running and cycling are both cardio exercises, which mean they enhance your heart’s efficiency. However, vigorous forms of both exercises should be limited to about an hour a day, five hours a week. Any more than that could actually have an adverse effect on your heart health.
Taking the Right Precautions
Whether you opt for cycling or running on a regular basis, you need to take certain precautions in order to remain safe. When you’re cycling, it’s important to protect your head and joints in case of a fall or collision.
Many people run or cycle at night, deeming it safer to exercise when the streets are relatively empty. Another reason for nighttime exercise might be your busy schedule which takes up the whole day. Whichever the case, you need to take special care when cycling, running or jogging at night. The company RoadRunner has come up with a reflective vest for this purpose. Check it out here:
When you or a loved one is out running or cycling at night, wearing this vest could prevent many accidents. There are also two safety reflective bands included in the package, which you can attach to your bicycle or headband.
This vest will reflect light and keep cars of other vehicles from running you down. When the weather is cloudy or you’re running after dark, this vest is an essential item for your safety. What’s more, it’s a lightweight mesh material, so it won’t weigh you down when exercising. There’s also a zippered pocket for holding all your essentials such as keys, cash, etc.
There’s no easy answer to the question of whether biking or running is better. The specific answer depends on the individual’s needs and preferences as well as their physical condition. Whether you choose biking or cycling, both of these activities will definitely enhance your aerobic fitness, mental soundness and even result in a better disposition.
When you improve your overall fitness and health, you’ll have more chances of reduced risk of certain diseases such as heart ailments or stroke. This will hopefully result in prolonging your life span and increase the quality of your life as well. A combination of cycling and running might hence be the best option here, or just go for whatever is easier. The main concern is that you get out there and exercise!