Walking vs Cycling – 5 Reasons Cycling Wins Marginally

  • Usman 

Walking and cycling are two of the easiest and most readily available exercises. They do not require a lot of investment to start and are known to give results related to fitness. But when we are talking about walking vs cycling, which one is the winner. Should you cycle or keep walking?

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A recent study published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity has tipped the balance in favor of cycling because it found that those people who cycle have better lungs with more oxygen utilization efficiency and need less oxygen for walking. According to the tests, the older people who were also cyclists had 15 percent better oxygen utilization by their lungs. The net result that researchers concluded was that cyclists walked more efficiently in their old age. 

It is a medical fact that physical activity not only keeps you away from obesity but it also helps reduce risk of diseases significantly. Current recommendation for physical activity is 150 minutes a week moderate exercise or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise every week. 

Brisk walking is one of the easiest moderate intensity exercises to meet that target physical activity guidelines. Since walking also burns fat, therefore, it is also a vouched weight loss exercise, though it will take a long long time to lose weight if you rely just on walking. 

Lets have a look at other benefits of cycling and then we would leave up to you to decide whether you choose cycling or walking for your fitness regime. 

Benefits of Cycling

Walking takes up more time

Time is the first domain where cycling wins in walking vs cycling comparison. Walking is a time consuming activity. If we consider the average speed of walking which is 5 km per hour, it would take more than one and a half hour to complete the much popular target of walking 10000 steps a day. 

So in comparison, cycling is a more activity filled exercise and fits the bill precisely if you do not want to spend so much time walking. 

What burns more calories – walking or biking

Cycling burns more calories

And not only it takes less time to exercise, cycling also burns more calories. So if you want to know how many calories does cycling burn, lets do a little math. 

Walking helps you burn 232 calories per hour when you walk at average speed of 5 km/hour. In comparison, when you are cycling at a moderate speed of 8 km/hour, you will be able to burn 563 calories in the same hour. 

Cycling still wins when you brisk walk at speed of 6.5 km/hour because you will burn about 350 calories in an hour. But cycling wins by a big margin because when you cycle fast paced, you are able to burn double the calories that you burn while brisk walking for an hour. When you are cycling at a fast speed of 30 km/hour, you will be able to burn 844 calories. 

According to American Council of Exercise, a 45 minutes cycling session burns anywhere between 350 to 600 plus calories, based on the intensity. 

Is cycling good for weight loss?

Cycling is better for obesity prevention.

But can you get a flat stomach by walking? 

As we saw above, cycling is more efficient and burns more calories per hour. Walking, even brisk walking, in comparison is a lower intensity exercise. 

However, multiple studies have confirmed that when walking or cycling to work is preferred over public transport/own car lead to reduced weight over a period of time. In fact a study found that those who cycled to work were found to weight 5 kg less than those who preferred car as a medium of commute. 

Walking doesn’t require any equipment

While cycling also doesn’t require a lot of investment, but walking wins here comprehensively. All you need is a pair of joggers and you can start walking. 

And you can walk almost anywhere which is not the case with cycling. Though it is also possible to cycle around the block but ideally you would need more space for cycling.

Is walking or biking better for knees

It might surprise you but cycling is a lower impact exercise when compared with walking. The main reason is that it is a non weight bearing exercise which puts your knees, hips and joints under less weight than in case of brisk walking or jogging. 

Therefore, if you are worried and want to pick between walking or cycling because of your arthritis worries, then you can safely pick cycling over walking. 

But what about running? Is it safe for knee joint?

Running has been proven to help reduce pain and inflammation in the knee joint. It is one of the best exercises for improving mobility and strength in the legs. However, there are some things you should keep in mind before starting out on this form of exercise. You must ensure that you don’t run too hard or too long. If you feel like you cannot continue due to excessive fatigue, stop immediately.

If you do decide to go ahead with running, make sure you warm up properly first. This includes stretching all major muscle groups such as hamstrings, quadriceps, calves etc. Also, wear proper shoes that fit well and provide support. Make sure they are comfortable enough so that you won’t experience discomfort during the workout. Wear clothes that allow freedom of movement without restricting your movements. Avoid wearing tight clothing since it may restrict blood flow and cause overheating.

Running is an excellent way to improve cardiovascular fitness and overall physical conditioning. But it’s important to note that while running improves aerobic capacity, it actually decreases muscular endurance. So although running helps build stamina, it takes away from flexibility and power.

So now we know why both walking and cycling are good options for us. Which one will be our choice? Well, I personally prefer cycling over walking. Why? Because I find cycling much easier than walking. And I am very lazy person! 🙂

Hope this helped answer your question. Please let me know if you have further questions. Happy riding!

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Muhammad Usman

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