Biking vs. Running: Which is the Best for Your Fitness Goals?

Are you on a mission to lose weight or simply maintain a healthy lifestyle? Running and biking are two of the most popular physical activities that can assist you in achieving your health goals. But which one is better for improving fitness? Should you stick to one over the other, or is mixing both forms of exercise the best way to optimize calorie burn? In this post, we'll dive into the world of running and biking to help you make the best choice for your fitness routine.

Pedal Your Way to Better Health: The Benefits of Biking over Running

#1 Biking Helps With Weight Management

With cycling, you can burn around 300-500 calories in an hour, depending on the intensity of your ride. This means you can maintain a healthy weight over time without having to hit the gym and spend hours on the treadmill.

#2 Biking Helps With Mental Health

Regular biking can also improve your mental health in a range of ways. For example, biking is an excellent form of aerobic exercise, which can help to release endorphins, known as feel-good hormones. This can lead to an improved mood and a reduced risk of depression, anxiety, and stress. Additionally, biking allows you to get outside in nature, which has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health and well-being.

#3 Biking Helps In Building Muscle Strength and Tone

Biking is not just a cardiovascular workout; it can also be an excellent way to build muscle strength and tone. When you ride a bike, you engage many of the major muscle groups in your body, including your legs, glutes, and core. Frequent biking can help to build lean muscle mass, which can boost your metabolism and lead to improved overall fitness.

#4 Lower Risk of Injury

Biking has been shown to have a lower risk of injury than running. Because biking is a low-impact workout, it places less strain on your joints and bones. Additionally, biking allows you to control the intensity and speed of the workout, so you can gradually increase your fitness level without risking overuse injuries. This makes biking an excellent option for people who want to stay active and healthy, regardless of their age or fitness level.

#5 Biking Increases Your Sense of Adventure

Biking can take you anywhere you want to go! From exploring new areas, and scenic routes, or even taking on tougher terrains, biking gives you a sense of adventure and a feeling of freedom. Additionally, it's a great way to discover new spots in your area that you may not have visited before.

Run Towards Health: The Advantages of Running Over Biking

#1 Aids Weight Loss

Running is a high-intensity cardio workout that can elevate your heart rate and burn calories quickly. Running also boosts the production of human growth hormone, which stimulates the conversion of fat into energy. Studies show that regular running can help you shed excess weight and maintain a healthy body mass index.

Does Running or Biking Burn More Calories?

Running and cycling are both excellent calorie-burning workouts. However, running burns more calories in a shorter amount of time. For instance, if you weigh 70 kg, running at 8 km/h burns 606 calories per hour while cycling at 20 km/h burns 536 calories per hour.

It also depends on the intensity of your workout. If you run at a moderate pace (roughly 10-minute miles), you'll likely burn around 10 calories per minute. Biking at a moderate pace (around 12-13 mph) can burn between 8-10 calories per minute. Therefore, if you combine a faster pace with a more challenging terrain, biking can help you burn more calories than running.

#2 Boost Mental Health

There is a reason why "runner's high" is often mentioned. Running is excellent for mental health because it releases endorphins that can boost your mood and reduce stress levels. This is a significant benefit for people who struggle with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. Running can even help keep your mind sharp and focused, improving your cognitive function.

#3 Boosts the Immune System

Running can give your immune system a boost, making you less susceptible to infections and illnesses. Regular aerobic exercise, such as running, activates immune cells and increases the circulation of antibodies and white blood cells, which fight off infections. Studies show that runners are less likely to catch colds and other viral infections, even during periods of high stress.

#4 Boosts Cardiovascular Health

Running can also improve your cardiovascular health by increasing your heart rate and oxygen consumption. When you run, your heart has to work harder to pump blood and oxygen into your muscles, improving your overall cardiovascular endurance and reducing the risk of heart disease. A study published in the journal Circulation found that running for just five to ten minutes per day can significantly lower the risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease.

#5 Increases Brain Function

Lastly, running can also enhance brain function by promoting neurogenesis, and the growth of new brain cells. Running increases blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain, which stimulates neural connections and improves cognitive performance. A study conducted by the University of Arizona found that running can improve memory and learning abilities, making it a great exercise for students or those who want to stay sharp in their later years.

Running Vs. Biking: Which is the Best for Your Fitness Needs?

#1 Cardiovascular Health Benefits

Running and biking both provide excellent cardiovascular health benefits but in different ways. Running helps to increase your heart rate, strengthen your heart muscle, and improve blood circulation, whereas biking helps to improve the efficiency of the heart by reducing stress on the heart muscle. If your goal is to improve your cardiovascular health, both activities are great options, but running may provide a better overall workout.

#2 Muscle Toning

To achieve optimal muscle toning, you need a workout that engages all your major muscle groups. Running mainly works the leg muscles, but can also engage the core and upper body with proper technique. Biking, on the other hand, works the leg muscles, glutes, and core muscles, but not upper body muscles. If you want to tone your upper body muscles along with your leg muscles, then running is a better option for you.

#3 Low Impact

One of the biggest differences between running and biking is the impact it has on your joints. Running is a high-impact exercise that puts stress on the joints, especially the ankles, knees, and hips. Biking, on the other hand, is a low-impact exercise that is gentler on the joints. If you have joint issues or injuries, biking is a better option for you. A stationary cycling machine can also be an excellent option for individuals with sciatica or back pain.

#4 Weight Loss

Both biking and running are great for weight loss, but running is more effective in burning calories than biking. Running burns more calories per minute than biking, and it’s a better option if your goal is to lose weight quickly.

#5 Variety, Fun and Convenience

Ultimately, the best exercise for your fitness needs is the one that you enjoy doing and can conveniently fit into your lifestyle. Both running and cycling offer a lot of variety, but cycling allows you to explore further distances and terrain than running. You can go on long rides, choose different routes, and switch up your bike gear for a new challenge. Biking is also an excellent option for adventurous individuals who love exploring different landscapes and scenic trails. If you love the great outdoors and prefer to go on adventures, biking might be your best option. However, if you prefer to get in shape in the comfort of your own home or gym, running or indoor cycling would be convenient for you.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does Biking Help with Running?

Yes! If you're a runner looking to switch up your routine, cycling is a great cross-training option. Cycling works your leg muscles differently than running, which can help you avoid overuse injuries that can come with running alone. Additionally, cycling can target smaller muscles that may be overlooked by running, potentially improving your running form and helping you run more efficiently.

How Can You Prevent Injury While Cycling?

Cycling is a generally safe form of exercise, but like any physical activity, there are injury risks. To prevent injury, be sure to properly adjust your bike to fit your body. If you're feeling pain or discomfort in your joints or muscles, take breaks and adjust your bike accordingly. Additionally, be sure to wear proper cycling shoes and invest in padded bike shorts to reduce pressure points and avoid chafing.

Is Stationary Cycling Good for Sciatica?

If you suffer from sciatica, you may think that cycling is off the table. However, stationary cycling can be an effective way to manage sciatica pain. Cycling can strengthen the muscles surrounding your spine, which can relieve pressure on your sciatic nerves. However, be sure to start slowly and gradually increase your resistance to avoid causing further injury or pain.

How to Get Faster at Cycling?

If you're looking to improve your cycling speed, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you get there. First, focus on your pedaling technique. Make sure you're pedaling in smooth circles by pushing and pulling on the pedals equally. Additionally, use high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to build your endurance and speed. Finally, pay attention to your body position on the bike. Proper positioning can reduce wind resistance, making it easier for you to pedal faster.


Whether you prefer running, biking, or a combination of both, there's no denying that physical exercise is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Running and biking both have their pros and cons, and choosing the best exercise for you depends on your personal preferences, fitness goals, and physical condition. However, no matter which activity you choose, always remember to prioritize safety and listen to your body to avoid injury.