There is a high chance of you coming across a heated argument over cycling vs running and which one is the better for health benefits and the better workout option. While a lot of people claim cycling better than running while others prefer the opposite. But in reality, both activities are equally heavy on the body and hence come under the category of cardio workouts. If you are wondering whether you need to take up cycling or running for belly fat and lose weight then here’s a guide that not only indicates the health benefits but one that will point out which one is the best match for you.

How cycling combats heart disease

Now a lot of people might question is riding a bike good cardio exercise. Well, in fact, both running and cardio are great forms of aerobic exercise that provide immense benefits where it is found that people who practice running or biking have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those who do not include cardio workouts in their schedule. They are also said to have a lower risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterols which again leads to major cardiovascular disease.

Cycling vs. Running: Which Is Better for Weight Loss

Running and biking are highly recommended for weight loss. But when it comes to running vs biking and which one helps in weight loss faster, the answer would be running. As running helps burn calories faster than when you go on cycling. So be it cycling or running for belly fat, all you need to remember is you need to be consistent while also maintaining healthy eating practices.

Apart from this, other factors play an important role while working out such as body weight. The higher the body weight or with high muscle mass, the more calories the person will burn. Apart from this, the duration for which the workout is performed will also play an important role.

Running vs Cycling

Both cycling and running are two forms of cardio that are quite similar to each other. Here’s a list of similarities that are quite visible between the two:

  • You can complete a session of cycling or a sweaty run both indoors and outdoors in any weather
  • Both of the exercises will get your heart pumping
  • Both running and cycling will allow you to burn a lot of calories.

When talking about cycling vs running it is observed that running exerts a lot of stress on joints while being a high-impact workout whereas cycling can be considered to be a lower-impact workout.

Why Running

To get a better idea when comparing running vs biking and which one is the best suited for your lifestyle, here is a list of reasons why you need to adapt running as a part of your schedule.

 Running Comes Naturally

Running is quite natural when it comes to humans. There is no need for any sort of equipment that can aid in running. All you need to have been a good pair of running shoes and the skills that are important to be able to move your body. This is one of the basic reasons out of many other reasons that people choose running when they compare cycling to running.

 Running Is Perfect for Beginners

Cycling is something that needs prior experience. Whereas when it comes to running, novice exercisers can also put in their effort and take up running in their daily life easily. Especially when looking at a workout that provides a great pump, running is one of the basic places to start at.

 Running Is Easy to Adjust

If you are quite new to running you need not just jump onto a long run for example a marathon. Instead, you can start with just one mile at a time. Then practicing and increasing your endurance to improve the fitness level that will help you in adjusting to longer distances and duration. There is also an additional benefit of not needing a fitness professional to guide you.

 Running Burns Belly Fat

If you are aiming to lose belly fat then running will definitely help you with the same. Apart from burning belly fat, visceral fat can also be aimed at when performing high-intensity running activities such as HIIT sprints. Another added benefit to HIIT is that all you need to devote is about 5 to 15 minutes. So, if you are wondering whether to go cycling or running for belly fat removal then running is the right option. However, you need to consider your own likes and the question is biking or running better for you?

 Running Improves Muscle Tone and Bone Density

Running helps build up essential muscles, especially in the lower body areas such as the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. It does not however increase the size of muscles but will be able to contribute to improvements in muscular tone. You also get the added benefit of a positive effect on bone mineral density which undergoes breakdown as you age naturally.

Why Cycle?

Unless you are a part of the triathlon team you need not take part in both cyclings and running however if you are confused about which one to choose when thinking of running vs biking here are some of the reasons why you need to adapt cycling in your daily life.

 Cycling Is Easy to Work Into a Routine

With increasing people choosing to cycle to work it has become one of the most popular ways of transport. People can even replace the morning gym cycling routine with a cycling commute which not only saves the time needed to go to the gym but will also help get your workout in the morning done. People who choose to commute via cycle are also found to be more productive, and happier, and have fewer days of absence in their record.

 Cycling Is Low Impact

Those people who suffer from knee injuries might find running too extreme on their knees and hence cycling is a great option to replace running. Apart from this, cycling is also a low-impact workout that will exert lower pressure on the injured knee. It can also be included as a part of rehabilitation for faster recovery from various joint problems.

 Spinning Is Also Cycling

Cycling need not always require a cycle and an outside environment to get it done. Indoor cycling also commonly called spinning can be as effective as an outdoor cycling session. If you are worried is cycling good cardio then can be both high-intensity and low-intensity based on your requirements and the music you are referring to. An indoor stationary cycle is also a good option for cycling without having to go out.

 Cycling Burns the Same Calories

At times it is misunderstood that running will lose more calories than that when cycling is considered. So, when it comes to thinking about is biking or running better option, it is seen that both will have almost the same impact on burning calories. However, the intensity with which the cycling is done will matter when the burning of calories is considered.

 Cycling Builds More Muscle

While running improves muscle tone, cycling helps in increasing muscle mass. This happens as the muscles grow when they work against resistance where the resistance can be referred to as the bicycle pedals. This in turn provides a burning sensation in your quads after an intense session on a cycle. This is why a lot of people claim cycling is better than running when the comparison is in question.

How to Decide Between Running or Cycling

There remains the most important question as to which one to choose when it comes to running vs biking. And the answer is quite simple, choose the one that you enjoy the most.

Exercising is not about the number of calories you’ve burnt or the number of muscles you’ve built instead it is about the one that you enjoy the most. While some people enjoy biking more than running, they choose biking. Also, as both forms of exercise provide lots of benefits you need not restrict yourself to just a single form, you can also get on a combination of both to get multiple benefits.

7 Health Benefits of Running and Cycling.

Now that you’ve understood which one to choose when it comes to cycling vs running, here is a list of benefits when it comes to both running and cycling.

1. Cardiovascular health

When it comes to cardiovascular health both cycling and running are equally beneficial. So, if your question is, is riding a bike good cardio, then it definitely is. As it helps pump up your heart and increase the overall blood flow and in turn increases the oxygen flow in your body. 

2. Calorie burn

While burning calories will completely depend on the intensity of the workout and the duration of the same, it is said that both running and cycling can equally contribute to the burning of calories. There are also other factors you need to consider when considering burning calories with the help of cycling. So if you are wondering is cycling good cardio, then it sure will help you burn calories while also helping you to lose fat.

3. Building muscle

When you consider building muscles you might think is biking or running better and which one works effectively. In such a case, cycling is the better option to build muscles. So, it is important to understand whether you want to build muscles or tone your existing muscles.

4. Toning muscle

When considering toning of muscles is considered, running is one of the best options when it comes to running vs biking. Running uses all of the muscles at the same time which hence impacts the tone of the muscles. The key to toning muscles is the amount of time you work out without reaching muscle fatigue.

5. Weight loss

To lose weight you need the right number of calories that needs to be burned through exercise while also balancing out the number of calories that are taken in through food and the calories that are burned. Is cycling good cardio and weight loss activity? Well yes, however, you will need to continue cycling for a longer period to get an effect equal to that of running. 

6. Heart health

When it comes to heart health both running and cycling are equally impactful and are equally good for your body while also strengthening your body. While exercising moderately with both cycling and running is alright for your heart’s health, too intense activity can impact negatively heart health. However, you need to check is riding a bike good cardio as biking can be low impact and give better benefits.

7. Maintaining lean muscle mass

While building muscle is quite possible with the help of cycling, it also needs to be maintained. To make sure the maintenance is spot on you need to include weight training in your workout schedule. Hence to look lean you will have to incorporate both cycling and weight training together.

Things to Consider.

When you are trying to choose between cycling vs running you will need to consider the following points:

  • How much do you want to spend?

Investment plays a major role in choosing between running vs biking as the amount spent on both can differ. While cycling will be a bit expensive option as it needs a bicycle to be invested initially along with buying the right gear such as clothes and shoes which will provide a comfortable cycling experience, on the other hand, running can be a cheaper option to be considered as it only needs an initial investment in a good pair of shoes. So you need to questions based on expenditure whether cycling better than running and whether you can devote such an expense.

  • Do you have a chronic condition?

Apart from the expenditure, the condition of the person taking up these activities might also be important. For example, if a person has a chronic condition it is advised to contact a doctor and consult on the same before taking up any new activity. While cycling is a better option when considering the impact, it can however increase lower back pain. Running or speed walking can hence be a safer option if you are worried about lower back or any other injuries due to a bicycle.


While both running and cycling go hand-in-hand there is no way that one benefits much more than the other. Apart from this no matter what you pick, you need to be able to enjoy the activity and stick with it to gain benefits while also seeing better results. These activities are also great ways to avoid boredom and for specific reasons such as weight loss and a better lifestyle.


  1. How much cycling is equal to running?

If you cycle for about 2 to 3 miles then it will be equal to 1 mile of running. Hence the average ratio can be 1:2 or 1:3. This is because running has a higher impact and running for a shorter distance will make up for the effects shown by 2 or 3 miles of cycling.

  1. Is running or cycling better for fat loss?

Running definitely tops when it comes to fat loss. As running generally burns around 566 to 839 calories per hour whereas vigorous cycling may only burn around 498 to 738 calories per hour.

  1. Is running or cycling better for your core?

If your main motive is to strengthen your core then running is a better option as it consists of a high impact on your body. Whereas cycling is a low-impact type of activity it might be hard to strengthen your core unless you work out rigorously for extended hours.

  1. Is running or cycling better for weight management?

For weight management, you can prefer cycling over running as this even though it is low impact will help maintain your weight and muscle mass


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