Is Biking Better Than Running?

Biking and running are two great forms of exercise that can be done whilst also enjoying the natural world of the outdoors, however, if you’ve ever questioned which one is better for you in terms of fitness or on your body then you’re in the right place.

Is biking better than running?

There are both benefits and drawbacks to both these forms of aerobic exercise and this article will be going more in-depth to find one place higher above the over in the rankings. 

Better For Weight Loss

Exercise and fitness are not always about trying to lose weight, but for some people that is one of the major reasons they do work out as it helps them to maintain or lose weight.

To lose weight, you’ll need to burn more calories to be in a calorie deficit, so which one burns more calories, biking or running?

Well, there is no set answer to this as it can depend upon your weight, the intensity of the exercise, and also how long you’re working out.

However, as an average, running does tend to burn more calories than cycling does as you’re using more of your muscles and your body is required to work harder, whereas you’re only using your legs when you’re cycling.

1 hour of cycling can burn around 700 calories, whereas 1 hour of running can burn anything up to 850 calories depending on the incline and speed you’re running at. 

Increasing the difficulty of your incline and speed will result in greater calories burned for both running and biking in a short amount of time. 

However, as running is a high-impact activity, it can cause pain or fatigue on the body, particularly the joints and the muscles in your legs which could cause you to spend less time doing that activity.

Whereas cycling is lower impact and will allow you to bike around for hours without feeling as tired as 

you would if you were running. 

Remember, weight loss is contributed by 70% diet and 30% exercise, so you’ll need to focus more on your eating habits than you will on your exercise if your goal is to lose weight. 

Building & Toning Muscles

If your goal is to tone the muscles in your legs, then the best option would be to stick with running as you engage all the leg muscles at the same time and will lead to stronger and leaner-looking legs.

If your goal is to try and build muscles in your legs, then cycling will offer a more effective workout as pushing the pedals and especially pedaling uphill is a good form of resistance training that slowly builds muscle gain.

Is biking better than running?

However, if you’re looking to seriously build some muscles in your legs, then either of these forms of exercise will not be effective just on their own.

The best form of training you should do is weight training doing leg exercises such as squats, Romanian deadlifts, lunges, etc… 

Cardiovascular Health

Biking and running are both equally beneficial in terms of cardiovascular activity, as long as you’re raising your heart rate and getting a sweat on for at least 30 minutes a day doing either form of exercise then your cardio health will be good. 

Distance Travelled 

The benefits of biking or running are not just limited to weight loss or fitness, it’s also about being able to escape from your day-to-day life and explore the world around you.

When it comes to travel, biking gives you more freedom and power to travel to destinations further away from where you live whilst running covers a much smaller distance meaning you’ll have to spend more time to get to that same destination.

If you’re someone who gets bored of routes easily, then biking is the better way to switch up your exercise routine as you can easily bike to new destinations whilst also getting in a good workout whereas you may need to drive to a new destination to do a run if it’s too far away. 


There really is no running from the truth (no pun intended) when it comes to the fact that runners experience nearly double the number of injuries that cyclists do. 

Running is a high-impact activity and can cause shin splints, runner’s knee, stress injuries, pulled muscles which can cause you to be out of action for weeks and even months.

Whereas cycling puts less strain on the body, meaning you can work out more often in confidence knowing that you probably won’t incur any injuries. 


It’s time to consider the cost of biking and running, or in particular, the cost of having a bike as we all know it doesn't cost a dime to go running. 

One of the obvious drawbacks of biking is that you’ll need to buy a bike or hire one out every time you want to go on a ride.

Granted, you can find some great second-hand deals for bikes online however if you’re serious about pursuing this hobby then it’s best to go for the lowest option available. 

The average cost of a bike is around $100 and it may cost you extra money to help maintain the bike throughout the year, depending on how much use you get out of it.

Obviously, there will be some expenses when it comes to running, such as a decent pair of sneakers however, whilst a solid pair of running shoes is more recommended, a running beginner will not need to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of comfortable and supportive shoes. 

Like we previously mentioned, you can walk out of your front door whenever you want and go for a run, but unless you’ve bought a bike or you can borrow one from a friend, then you won’t be able to go for a bike ride.

With these factors considered, running is the more financially beneficial option. 


So there we have it, both running and biking have great positives and some minor drawbacks, which one is better will depend on your circumstances, if you don’t have a bike then you’re probably more into running whereas if you’re a keen cyclist then you may be loyal to that form of training. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *