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Do You Burn More Calories Running Than on a Bicycle?

by
author image William McCoy
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.
Do You Burn More Calories Running Than on a Bicycle?
Couple running in winter Photo Credit Maridav/iStock/Getty Images

If you're eager to lose weight in a hurry, your first order of business is to pick one or more exercises with a high calorie burn. Running and bicycling aren't just simple exercises -- they're also some of the highest burning physical activities available.

Whether you burn more calories running or cycling depends on your intensity and duration. Run for an hour at a fast pace and you'll burn more calories than you might cycling leisurely for just 30 minutes, and vice versa.

Running Off the Calories

If you're able to maintain a fast running pace, it's hard to find an exercise that brings about a greater calorie burn. A 155-pound person burns 614 calories in 30 minutes of running at 10 mph. This speed is difficult for most people to maintain, however. If the same person drops her pace to 7.5 mph, she still burns 465 calories in 30 minutes.

Bicycling to a Better Body

Bicycling burns just about as many calories as running -- provided you work at a relatively equal intensity level. A 155-pound person who bicycles at a speed of 20 mph burns 614 calories in 30 minutes, which is the exact same rate of calorie burn as running at 10 mph. Slowing your bicycling pace to between 16 and 19 mph results in 446 calories burned.

Make Your Choice

You don't have to exclusively select either running or bicycling if you're eager to get in shape. Including both exercises in your workout keeps your fitness routine varied and helps you avoid boredom. If you feel inclined to choose one activity over the other, consider how long you can reasonably perform each activity.

For example, if you can't run at a pace approaching 10 mph but are comfortable bicycling at 17 mph, the latter exercise is going to give you a better burn rate. Running requires less equipment than bicycling, but bicycling puts minimal impact on your joints.

Exercise for Physical and Emotional Health

Whether you choose running, bicycling or a combination of the two exercises to burn calories, each activity can play a significant role in the improvement of your health. Both exercises strengthen your muscles, help you build or maintain a physically fit body and improve your cardiovascular capacity. Aerobic exercises such as running and bicycling are also an ideal way to reduce your risk of chronic disease and improve mood.

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