Is Cycling Better for Your Knees Than Running

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Biking and running are aerobic exercises that can greatly benefit a person’s health and fitness. However, is cycling better for your knees than running? In general, running burns more calories per minute than cycling, but the difference narrows if you ride furiously. And cycling is a nonweight bearing activity, so it is better for your knees and joints compared with running.

Cycling vs. Running: Which Burn More Calories?

There are certain distinctions that may lead you to choose one activity over the other. According to Dr. Tanaka, running burns more calories per minute than cycling. However, the difference narrows if you ride furiously. According to the American College of Sports Medicine’s general estimations:

  • A 150-pound person running at a fast seven minutes per mile will burn roughly 1,000 calories per hour.
  • The same person will burn around 850 calories if they bike at a constant 16 to 19 miles per hour.
  • Walking, on the other hand, burns considerably fewer calories, around 360 per hour at a 4-mile-per-hour pace.

What Muscles Do Cycling Work?

Cycling uses all the major muscle groups. It uses and builds up the leg muscles in particular, includingTrusted Source:

  • quadriceps (rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius)
  • hamstrings (biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus)

What Muscles Do Running Work?

Some of the key muscles involved in running include:

  • quadriceps
  • gluteus maximus, particularly when sprinting
  • hamstrings
  • plantar flexors

What Are the Benefits of Cycling and Running?

Exercising vigorous, such as running or cycling, might also temporarily suppress hunger.

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Healthy, active males were randomized to run for an hour one day and then cycle aggressively for the same length of time the next day in research published earlier this year.

The men’s blood levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger, decreased throughout both activities compared to when they sat quietly.

However, there is a disadvantage to running: injuries are prevalent.

Biking, on the other hand, is milder. “Cycling is a non weight bearing sport,” Dr. Tanaka explained, “therefore, it is better for your knees and joints and does not produce much muscle pain.”

Walking, too, causes little injuries unless you’re nearly comically clumsy like me.

Any of these activities, on the other hand, will enhance your aerobic fitness, which is related to a lower risk of chronic disease and a longer lifespan.

“It’s impossible to tell which exercise is superior since it varies on the individual,” said Dr. Tanaka. “I can’t cycle because of an iliotibial band issue I have. So I flee.”

However, he claims that any physical exercise is better than doing nothing.

So take a walk one day, jog another, then rent a bike or join a spinning class the next.

The ideal activity for you is the one that you like the most and will persist with.

Cycling vs. Running: Calories Burned Chart (Based on Weight)

The table below provides an estimate of calories burned during 1 hour of activity for people of different weights. Weight is in pounds (lb) and kilograms (kg).

130 lb (59 kg) 155 lb (70 kg) 180 lb (82 kg) 205 lb (93 kg)
Cycling
Less than 10 mph (16 km/h) 236 281 327 372
More than 20 mph (32 km/h) 944 1,126 1,308 1,489
10–11.9 mph (16–19 km/h), light 354 422 490 558
12–13.9 mph (19–21 km/h), moderate 472 563 654 745
14–15.9 mph (22.5–25.6 km/h), vigorous 590 704 817 931
16–19 mph (25.7–30.6 km/h), racing 708 844 981 1,117
Mountain bike or BMX 502 598 695 791
Running
5 mph (8 km/h) 472 563 654 745
5.2 mph (8.4 km/h) 531 633 735 838
6 mph (9.7 km/h) 590 704 817 931
6.7 mph (10.8 km/h) 649 774 899 1,024
7 mph (11.3 km/h) 679 809 940 1,070
7.5 mph (12.1 km/h) 738 880 1,022 1,163
8 mph (12.9 km/h) 797 950 1,103 1,256
8.6 mph (13.8 km/h) 826 985 1,144 1,303
9 mph (14.5 km/h) 885 1,056 1,226 1,396
10 mph (16.1 km/h) 944 1,126 1,308 1,489
10.9 mph (17.5 km/h) 1,062 1,267 1,471 1,675
Cross-country 531 633 735 838
Track running 590 704 817 931
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