Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Wondering what is better for burning fat, cycling or running? Well, whether one chooses to get their exercise on two wheels or on their own feet, they are sure to burn calories necessary for losing fat. A best plan that works is a proper combination of various types of exercises for burning fat, building muscles and improving stamina in addition to a well-crafted diet plan.

What Is Better For Burning Fat, Cycling or Running?

Burning fat is the main aim of most of those who wish to reduce weight or belly fat. Apart from regular exercise forms, active cardio exercises are known to help in burning fat. However, many people have this question in mind, as to what is better for burning fat, cycling or running?

Both cycling and running are challenging activities which pump up the heart rate for maximum calorie burn, and each has its own advantages and drawbacks. The number of calories one burns depends on the intensity of their workout. The amount of fat they lose depends on the way they balance exercise and their diet.

Calories Burned Through Running

The number of calories one burns through running depends on many factors, including the pace at which they run, the duration for which they run, and their body weight. This largely helps to explain what is better for burning fat, cycling or running. The faster and longer a person runs, the more calories they burn. The more they weigh, the harder their body has to work to propel them forward. When running at a pace of 12 minutes per mile, a person weighing 125 lbs can burn 240 calories in 30 minutes, while a person weighing 185 lbs and running at the same speed can burn 355 calories in the same time. At a moderate pace of 10 minutes per mile, these numbers can increase to 300 and 444 lbs, respectively. When sprinting at a pace of 8 minutes per mile, 375 to 555 calories can be burned in 30 minutes, depending on the weight. At a vigorous pace of 6 minutes per mile, these numbers increase to 495 to 733 calories.

Calories Burned Through Cycling

The same factors determine burning fat or calories while cycling. The duration and pace of cycling, and the individual’s body weight are the main determinants. In fact, the calories burned at specific running speeds correspond closely with those at specific cycling speeds. When cycling at a speed of 12 to 13.9 miles per hour for 30 minutes, individuals weighing 125 to 185 lbs can burn 240 to 355 calories, equating the calorie burn during an easy pace run. By cycling at 14 to 15.9 miles per hour, 300 to 444 calories can be torched, like a moderate-paced run. Cycling at a speed of 16 to 19 miles per hour pumps those numbers to 360 to 533, a bit lower than an 8-minute-per-mile pace in running. Cycling at a fast pace of 20 miles per hour or more can burn 495 to 733 calories, just like sprinting vigorously.

Thus, all in all, both cycling and running are great for burning fat, just that the intensity and duration must be chosen based on individual capacity.

Burning Fat - Cycling Or Running?

Many other variables determine the amount of burning fat through cycling or running. By cycling on a flat road, a person can burn fewer calories than running up a mountain trail. Running in hot climates can help them burn more calories than cycling in 60°F. Lastly, an individual’s current fitness level and exercise tolerance influence the effectiveness of their exercise. The fitter one is and, the more accustomed their body is to a particular exercise, the fewer calories they burn. Maybe, that is one reason, a combination of exercises and planned variation in exercise schedule helps people burn more calories.

As far as the question, what is better for burning fat, cycling or running, the approach is very simple. By doing either of these exercises, cycling or running regularly, an individual can burn the calories necessary for fat loss. The harder and faster one runs or bikes, the more calories they burn. For instance, a person who wants to lose 1lb of fat, needs to burn around 3,500 calories. If they weigh 155 lbs and cycle or run at a moderate pace for an hour, five days a week, they can burn 1 lb of fat in less than a week.

However, it is scientifically proven that one exercise may be better for a person than the other. For example, a person can tolerate long distance or high intensity running while another person may be more comfortable with cycling, as it may put less strain. So, the exact choice of exercises also depends a lot on individual health, fitness and exercise preference. This will easily answer the question of what is better for burning fat, cycling or running.

A study was conducted in which researchers observed competitive cyclists and runners during a 3-day period of intense exercise. It was seen that a group of runners showed significantly more muscle damage, muscle soreness and systemic inflammation. Hence, it was concluded that cycling puts less stress on the body and cyclists are thus able to train for longer. So, cycling is recommended over running for beginners looking to shed those extra pounds and get in shape.

Importance of Diet

Diet plays a vital role in the success of any weight loss program. If one cycles every day at a vigorous pace but eats a lot of high-calorie junk food, they will fail to lose as much weight as a cyclist who trains regularly and consumes a healthy diet. For supporting weight loss and an active lifestyle, a person’s diet should consist mainly of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, fish, chicken, nuts and seeds, and some low-fat dairy. These foods flaunt a naturally low caloric value and high nutrient content, and thus can greatly increase the energy level and stamina, without adding on calories, in the body.

Now that you have a fair understanding of what is better for burning fat, cycling or running, you can plan an appropriate diet and exercise schedule, based on your health and fitness.Wondering what is better for burning fat, cycling or running? Well, whether one chooses to get their exercise on two wheels or on their own feet, they are sure to burn calories necessary for losing fat. A best plan that works is a proper combination of various types of exercises for burning fat, building muscles and improving stamina in addition to a well-crafted diet plan.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: July 12, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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