Cycling vs. Running – Which is Better for Your Health

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    No matter if you are equipped with the pair of the best running shoes or have the best road bikes in your possession, understanding the impact and influence that following either exercise from among the two will have on your body, and overall health is essential along with the fact that what your expectations are from your workout regime. The latter in fact is something that actually matters at the end of the day!

    Cycling and running, both are considered some of the most classic forms of aerobic exercises that almost all fitness enthusiasts and athletes come across on their journey towards fitness and better health. While a thorough comparison of pros and cons of one over the other certainly is a topic of perennial debate and biased for any dedicated cyclist or runner, choosing the best one in your case for better health, nevertheless relies on a variety of factors and environment that you find suitable for your healthy well-being. So how to choose which is better for your health – cycling or running?

    Let’s look at a closer look at the various factors, information which will undoubtedly come in handy in helping you figure out which exercise can be better for your health – is it cycling, or is it running, or even both!

    Your Primary Fitness Goals

    The kind of exercises and activities you tend to follow in your workout regime are positively affected by the expectations you have from the workout routine and what are your fitness goals.

    If Weight-Loss and Fat-Burn Is Your Goals

    Cycling or spinning exercise focuses on your lower body, which is your legs while affecting your shoulders and arms. You generate energy from your core and deliver it to the leg and shoulder muscles. However, running, on the other end, focuses more on overall body functioning and demands equal involvement of the majority of body muscles.

    A few research pieces also state that running can be almost twice as effective in burning specific calories in a given time as burning 200 calories could take almost twice as much as the time compared. But to be practical, most things depend on the intensity at which you pace up with your exercises. As long as you are good to go and ready to push to the limits, either form of exercise is more than capable of delivering you your desired results in respective terms of fitness goals, so in this case, the end decision depends on which form of exercise you are more comfortable with.

    If Your Goal is Muscle Growth and Muscle Toning

    As already stated, running involves the use of the majority of body muscles. At the same time, cycling focuses more on lower body parts. In this case, the primary differentiator is resistance, which is often paired with muscle growth when talking about exercises. Cycling offers appropriate resistance at lower body muscles starting from the glutes to upper legs, hamstrings, calves, and feet, resulting in muscle growth at these body parts. So cycling, in the long run, will definitely enhance the muscle mass at your lower body parts. However, running on the other end tends to be more strenuous to the muscles. It is also a great promoter of Insulin-like Growth Factor levels that indeed results in enhanced fat cutting and gaining more leaner muscles.

    Cycling is preferred more if developing lower body muscles is concerned. At the same time, running works best in delivering enhanced results in muscle toning.

    How Stressing Cycling vs. Running Is On Your Body

    While both of these exercises can be stressful to your body if carried for a longer duration at high-intensities, cycling is definitely a low-impact workout. It goes smooth on joints and bones. On the other hand, running can be rough on the bones and joints, especially in extended durations of the activity. Besides, there is no resting in this case. At the same time, a bike seat serves excellent in supporting the upper body weight and gives you a comfortable way to relax and take a breath when cycling.

    While it may be stressing towards your body, running (in the form of sprints) also works as one of the best promoters of Growth hormone generation that’s good for overall muscle growth and recovery.

    As long as you are fit and fine physically inside out, you can proceed with any form of exercise as per your preference, but if you have any form of a pre-existing medical condition, it’s best to consult a medical practitioner before you end up with a specific choice. If you have been dealing with joint pains (arthritis) or a pre-existing heart condition, it’s best to avoid running and instead share up some low intensity, low impact cycling sessions. If you are not good with body balance, its best suggested to cycle indoors on proper spin bikes as the risk of injuries is higher in outdoor scenarios. If cycling is not your thing, there are many variations you can use to replace running, such as jogging and power walking, which would work equally amazing to appreciate your overall health and physical well-being.

    Don’t OverDo It

    Remember that anything in excess can be harmful, and there is research to support that. Exceeding 5 hours per week of high-intensity exercises can instead harm your cardiovascular health, so make sure you don’t overdo things and stress yourself out no matter whatever form of exercise you choose. If you are a beginner, it’s best suggested to start slow with less intense regimes, where you can always scale up depending upon your consistency and physical capacity.