Cycling versus running: What’s better for weight loss?

Did your friend shed lots of kilos by running everyday, inspiring you to do the same? Or was it your other friend who showed off her toned legs by cycling daily and you too want the same? Running and cycling are classic exercises that people enjoy around the world. So, which is better to help you lose weight? Read on to find out.

Calorie burn

The number of calories you burn in either exercise depends on the intensity and amount of time you do it. Running burns slightly more calories per hour than biking, so it may help you lose weight faster. Generally, running burns 566 to 839 calories an hour, while cycling at a vigorous pace burns 498 to 738 calories an hour, according to the estimates by the American College of Sports Medicine. Your age, weight, gender, and other factors also determine how many calories you’ll burn.


If you are overweight, have a history of heart attacks, knee pain, or high blood pressure, Kaitlin Donner, Doctor of Physical Therapy, recommends you to start with cycling. Because running is a high-impact exercise, it puts stress on your joints, so the potential for overuse injuries is higher than it is with cycling. About 60% of runners will at some point experience an injury that prevents them from running.

With cycling, the bigger danger is being hit by a car or falling off the cycle. So if you’re a beginner, it’s important to learn how to bike safely. If you have knee or back issues, other injuries, or any chronic health conditions, Marques Garcia, a clinical exercise physiologist, says he would not recommend taking up biking or running without first getting clearance from your doctor.


To start running, people do not need any equipment other than a pair of running shoes, which can make it a cheaper option than cycling. For long-term running, people may want to invest in breathable running clothes.

Those new to cycling can borrow or rent a bike first to try it out before making an investment. There are also plenty of options online to buy a second hand cycle. People will also need to buy a helmet, lights, and reflective gear for safe cycling if they plan to cycle on roads or in the dark.

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