LivingIs running or cycling better for your health?

Is running or cycling better for your health?

Surely you have heard of running (going for a run) and cycling to burn calories, maintain a healthy weight and improve health . But have you ever wondered which of the two plays a role in burning calories more efficiently? Or which of the two is healthier? Let’s learn the obvious and fascinating facts that will help you improve your overall health by running and cycling.

The truth is that this is not an easy question to answer, mainly because we would have to define well what we mean when we talk about healthy . Are we talking about a reduction in cardiovascular risk? Or perhaps the risk of suffering from some type of cancer? Or perhaps the risk of death from any cause? Regardless, when done with some intensity and regularity, these two activities can help achieve all of these benefits.

With the above in mind, below we will explore some interesting questions about both activities , such as the differences in efficiency to burn calories, the risk of injury, etc.

Burn calories

Studies show that running is more effective at burning calories than cycling , since running uses more muscles that help burn calories. But, for those who want to do a more gentle exercise between the two, cycling is the best option for them. The number of calories burned by running or cycling per session depends on the level of effort, the demand, weight and height. The more time you spend running or cycling, the more weight you will lose. Therefore, increasing intensity and effort is essential for ideal results .

Boost cardiovascular health

Both running and cycling are effective ways to increase endurance and promote cardiovascular health , since they are both aerobic exercises . What happens with this type of exercise is that the heart rate rises, and it stays high for a prolonged period, in addition, the person begins to breathe hard and inhale more oxygen.

Studies show that the risk of heart disease is reduced by 50% with the help of cycling . If you create a routine and are consistent with exercise, you can improve cardiovascular endurance, but you have to keep in mind that whether you are running or cycling, 60 minutes of exercise is more than enough to keep your heart muscles healthy . People who perform one of these two exercises daily are more likely to have stronger heart muscles than those who do not follow this training.

Promote mental health

Endorphins are hormones that promote mental health and relieve stress , providing pleasant sensations. These hormones are released during workouts and have been shown to be effective in relieving stress and improving people’s mental health. These are chemicals that the brain releases and that, by producing a feeling of well-being, act as “painkillers” to reduce depressive thoughts. Also, those who engage in daily aerobic exercise, such as cycling, have better sleep patterns. In short, cycling, like running, helps release endorphins, which not only give you a pleasant feeling , but also relieve thoughts related to stress.

Build and tone muscles

If you want to build muscle , cycling would be an ideal option for you, but it only has access to developing the lower half of the body. If, on the other hand, what you want is to tone your muscles , your best option is running , since it works the whole body, not just the lower part.

When the pedals are pushed during cycling, it helps to develop the leg muscles, while the upper half of the body is less involved. But even though running involves using more muscles, it doesn’t build mass, but it tones.


It’s pretty hard to choose between cycling and running when it comes to weight loss. You have to understand how much weight you need to lose, and losing weight is not usually a matter of a single activity. Some people can lose weight with running alone, while others can balance it with both exercises. Do not forget that your lifestyle and diet also play an important role when it comes to losing weight. And even on many occasions we cannot reduce weight loss to only these factors.

You may think that running is more effective, as it is an activity that allows you to burn more calories per minute. Still, as cycling is easier on the joints, it allows you to train longer to burn as many calories as you do running.

It should be noted that, whatever you choose, it is necessary to perform both exercises with a medium-high intensity along with a balanced diet to obtain remarkable results .

Final thoughts

It’s been shown that people who regularly engage in aerobic exercise, such as running or cycling, tend to be fitter and healthier physically, mentally, and emotionally than those who don’t exercise. Basically, these workouts improve general well-being and are beneficial to health .

Staying active is always essential for maintaining fitness and health . Running and cycling are good sources to keep the body dynamic, functional and fit. In both cases, we not only improve endurance or burn calories, but also work efficiently to improve other aspects of our health.


Morres, I. D., Hatzigeorgiadis, A., Stathi, A., Comoutos, N., Arpin-Cribbie, C., Krommidas, C., & Theodorakis, Y. (2019). Aerobic exercise for adult patients with major depressive disorder in mental health services: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Depression and anxiety, 36(1), 39–53.

Oja, P., Titze, S., Bauman, A., de Geus, B., Krenn, P., Reger-Nash, B., & Kohlberger, T. (2011). Health benefits of cycling: a systematic review. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 21(4), 496–509.

Oja, P., Titze, S., Kokko, S., Kujala, U. M., Heinonen, A., Kelly, P., Koski, P. y Foster, C. (2015). Health benefits of different sport disciplines for adults: systematic review of observational and intervention studies with meta-analisis. British journal of sports medicine, 49(7), 434-440.

Pch.vector(s.f.). Man drinking water, riding bicycle, jogging on healthy food and giant heart background. tiny person doing sport and eating diet food flat vector illustration. health and life care, lifestyle concept [Free Vector]. Freepik.

Yıldız, M., & Akyıldız, Z. (2017). Los efectos del ejercicio de correr a intervalos en el gasto calórico agudo. Journal of Health Science, 5, 360-365. Doi: 10.17265/2328-7136/2017.06.012


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