When It’s Better To Run Or Bike

When It’s Better To Run Or Bike

Bicycling and running are two of the most commonly prescribed types of aerobic exercises, but choosing between the two isn’t easy. An article by the New York Times breaks down the benefits and downsides of both so you can decide which is best for you.

Photo by Stuart Grout . Both activities are good for you, but which is best for you on a personal level depends on what you need. From a calorie-burning standpoint, running is a bit better:

In general, running burns more calories per minute than cycling, Dr. Tanaka said, although the differential slims if you cycle vigorously. According to broad calculations from the American College of Sports Medicine, someone weighing 150 pounds who runs at a brisk seven minutes per mile will incinerate about 1,000 calories per hour. That same person pedaling at a steady 16 to 19 miles per hour will burn about 850 calories. Meanwhile, walking requires far fewer calories, only about 360 per hour at a four-mile-per-hour pace.

That said, running injuries are much more prevalent than cycling injuries, and cycling tends to be easier on the joints. Which is best for you depends on your preferences, but both are good forms of aerobic activity.

Ask Well: Is It Better to Bike or Run? [The New York Times]


  • Why not skipping? Th rope costs much less than a bike, it has less injury potential than running, and it burns more calories than both running and cycling and you can do it indoors.

    • How do you figure that it burns more calories than running? I thought that was an urban legend. Looking at places like caloriesperhour.com, for an equal amount of time and a comparable intensity, running seems to come out on top.

      Skipping is a great activity though, if your ankles and calves can take it. Unless you’re like me of course, where no sports bra in the world can make it bearable 😉

      • Hmm, tables I’ve looked in the past indicated skipping to be a very effective exercise for calorie burning, like here http://www.nutristrategy.com/activitylist4.htm, unless you can sprint for long distances with ease. But yes you are right, it is comparable to running at best.

        Advantage is that you stay in one spot with skipping – if you twist an ankle half way during your jog, you’ll have to limp home where as with skipping you are already home.

    • Because skipping’s boring. At least with running and cycling you actually go somewhere. Imagine just staying inside while skipping rope for half an hour. Ergh.

      • That’s true. No exercise is any good if you won’t do it. I don’t mind skipping and I can do it for half an hour, so not an issue for me.

  • The headline “When It’s Better To Run Or Bike” is grammatically one sausage short of a barbecue.
    It implies that there is an unstated third option…
    “When It’s Better To Run Or Bike (rather than x)”.
    To have a headline which allows us to choose between running OR biking you need to write something like…
    “How to Choose Between Running and Biking.”
    “When is Running Better than Biking (and vica versa)?”
    This has been a community service announcement.

  • What is wrong with doing both (at different times)? You get the best of both plus the cross training effect which will reduce the chance of injury.

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