To Bike or Run?


As we head toward fall, many people who gave up exercising outside in the heat of the summer are getting ready to lace up their running shoes or pump up their bike tires. Recently, on the New York Times Well blog, a reader asked if either biking or running are superior forms of fitness from a weight loss perspective. The conclusion of the response is that it depends on the individual. In terms of calorie-burning, you expend more calories by running for an hour than you do by biking for the same amount of time:

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 being said, running isn’t for everyone.

Running has a downside: Injuries are common. Biking, meanwhile, is gentler. “Cycling is a nonweight bearing activity, so it is better for your knees and joints,” Dr. Tanaka said, “and it does not cause much muscle soreness.” Walking, likewise, results in few injuries, unless, like me, you are almost comically clumsy.

The most important thing, when considering taking up a new exercise, is to find something that you enjoy. As we move toward cooler autumn days, try different activities that get your heart rate up, and see what is the most fun for you. Remember, the best exercise for YOU is the one that you actually do!  Any activity is better than none!

–Caren Swanson

Image by flickr user Ed Yourdan, via Creative Commons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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