Both walking and stationary bike riding offer excellent cardio workouts, and it isn’t easy to compare them, as both are completely different exercises and work on your body varyingly. If you are a fitness enthusiast and wonder how walking or biking can fit in your goals, keep reading.
Cardiovascular exercises play an important role in improving your heart health which in turn improves your blood circulation. Your breathing improves, and the oxygen levels in your blood increase, giving you a healthier body and better immunity which further prevents common illnesses.
Coming to the question of the three miles on a stationary bike is equal to three miles of walking? The answer is no. When you consider the calories burned while you perform each exercise, you will easily understand how they differ.
Walking for three miles will burn 600 calories, while riding a stationary bike for three miles will burn 160 calories. Compared to the time they take to complete the three-mile distance by walking, you can complete it on the stationary bike way faster.
So, when you observe these two factors, it is evident that several factors need to be measured before you consider one of the exercise forms. You can figure that out more clearly as you reach the end of this article after knowing what each exercise offers.
Is walking and riding a stationary bike the same?
As already mentioned, you cannot just compare stationary bike riding and walking even though they are both cardio exercises. You require different skills to implement them and obtain variable results from each exercise.
Walking has a limitation of speed unless you choose to run, and you can either choose to run fast to push your limits or settle with the fastest walking speed, which you can soon outgrow after a consistent workout.
A stationary bike has a wide range of opportunities to vary your exercise and take it to higher levels as you improve your endurance. It is faster than walking, and the variability it offers works different muscles, which is not the case with walking or running.
Walking three miles will take you at least one hour, but when you ride a stationary bike for one hour, you will cover about 10 miles. This shorter amount of time required to cover a greater distance on the stationary bike will help you get an extra workout in the same amount of time.
You can burn more calories during a cardio workout, especially when you try to push your limits. But it is important to understand your body and pace yourself to its capability, and planning following your endurance for achieving your goal.
An individual weighing more burns calories quicker than a person weighing less. A casual walk on a flat terrain burns about 600 calories in three miles. Similarly, a casual-paced ride of 10 mph for three miles burns around 160 calories.
The calorie burn is much more when you consider varying speed, resistance, and terrain while using a stationary bike. It also offers a quicker workout than walking, which allows you to cover more miles in the same time you walk 3 miles.
Differences between walking and stationary bike
While both the exercise options are great for your heart health, none of them can be termed a bad choice but can be classified as what suits you and what doesn’t. Once you understand the differences between walking and stationary bike riding, you can decide for yourself.
Walking includes bearing more weight which is useful for your bone health. A stationary bike exercise works your whole body where you activate several muscles. Both are low-impact exercises and can be restructured into high impact by adding more stress if you want certain customized results.
For instance, walking on an incline or fast is said to be high impact. Similarly, increasing your bike speed or incline is also termed as high impact.
Role of speed in burning calories during walking or riding
Riding a stationary bike at 14 to 15 mph is the regular setting and considered low difficulty, burning 380 calories in 30 minutes. When you walk at the 5 mph speed, which is considered the brisk walking speed, you burn around 300 calories for the same 30 minutes of exercise.
It takes around 12 minutes to complete a three-mile ride, and if you are riding at a speed of 14 to 15 mph, you will burn 75 calories. When you walk at 5mph speed, you cover 3 miles distance in 36 minutes and burn a little above 300 calories.
Avid cyclists can reach up to 25 mph speed, but that is not usual with the average riders. However, in that case, a cyclist can complete the 3-mile distance in 7 minutes and burn about 105 calories in that time.
Role of resistance in calories burnt while walking or riding
The higher the intensity more is the calorie burn. While riding the stationary bike, you can set the higher intensity by turning up the gears, giving you a better calorie burn. Most advanced bikes come with various gear settings and different terrain options that also indicate calorie burn for each activity.
An uphill walking burns an extra 100 calories per mile in comparison to walking on flat terrain. Also, walking over rocks or sand has a different calorie burn effect than on the flat sidewalk.
Is weight a factor that affects calories burnt during walking or riding?
A person’s weight is directly proportional to the calories they burn, meaning a person weighing heavier burns a higher number of calories than a lighter person. When two persons of 150 lbs. and 300 lbs. are biking for 30 minutes at the same settings will burn 300 and 600 calories respectively.
So, weight is considered an important factor in determining how many calories you expend during a certain time. While this is one of the factors, several other determining factors contribute to the final result.
Which is better, walking or riding when measured in time and not distance?
A cyclist can cover a 1-mile distance in 5 minutes if he is riding at a speed of 15 mph. This means they get to burn 60 calories in 5 minutes and about 720 calories if you continue riding for 1 hour at the same speed.
If the same person is walking at a speed of 5 mph, they complete the 1-mile distance in 12 minutes and burn around 100 calories. When they continue walking at the same speed, they can expend around 600 calories in one hour.
This implies that you burn more calories in the same amount of time when comparing walking and riding a bike. If you want to burn more calories in less time, riding a bike is a better option than walking. However, if your target is one mile, then you can extract more from walking.
To equal walking, how many miles should you ride?
To burn 300 calories by walking, you should walk 3 miles at 5 mph, which takes about 36 minutes. The same 300 calories are burned while biking by riding it for 7 miles at the speed of 12 mph that requires 35 minutes.
In the above scenario, it is clear that you spend similar energy in an almost equal amount of time using both exercises, but they do vary in intensity. Walking at a speed of 5 mph is more rigorous than riding a bike at 7 mph speed.
If you have an option and interest in performing both, it is best to keep altering your workout regimen to use different muscles. Varying the intensities from time to time helps you to keep your workouts fresh.
On the other hand, if you only need to choose one type of workout, go cycling if you need quick results, or walk if your only goal is to get fit and not worry about time or challenge yourself to higher intensities.