Is Cycling Better Than Running & Walking ? (Weight Loss, Fitness, Social Element & Joints Impact)

The best way most individuals maintain a healthy lifestyle is by engaging in regular daily workouts/exercises. Such individuals prioritize their well-being, and for this reason, exercise is no joke to them. You will find most of them either cycling, running or walking.

Although these exercises are known to improve the overall well-being of an individual, there may be a debate about which one of these popular exercises is the most effective for weight loss, bodybuilding, and other goals you wish to reach in your physical fitness journey.

So, Is Cycling Better Than Running & Walking? In general, running is considered the quickest way to lose weight and burn calories, while cycling offers a lower impact on the joints and adequate calories consumption. Furthermore running is considered a better fitness workout as it targets a wider range of muscles. Also, walking is known to be the most social exercise among the three listed sports as it allows people to engage in conversation during the walk.

Which Is Better for Weight Loss, Running, Cycling or Walking?

Weight loss only happens when you burn more calories than you consume.

Running, cycling and walking are types of aerobic exercises that are notable for helping people lose sufficient calories.

Deciding which of these exercises is better for weight loss will depend on the level of impact each workout has on the body, your workout intensity, and how fast you are willing to lose weight. 

Cycling and walking provide a lower impact on the body when compared to running, so when these exercises are compared under the same level of workout intensity, Running helps you lose more calories in less time followed by cycling then walking. 

Overall we can come to a conclusion that running is a better workout for weight loss for healthy individuals without injuries to help them lose weight in a shorter time, while cycling is for individuals with joint or bone injuries who would prefer a low-impact activity.

Nevertheless, you can alternate between walking and cycling, but note that you will need to walk long miles to catch up with the weight loss results from cycling. 

Here is a snapshot of the approximate number of calories a person who weighs ~ 150 – 155 pounds (Approx. 68 Kg) would lose in 30 minutes (source).

IntensityRunning  (calories and speed)Biking (calories and speed)Walking (calories and speed)
Light284 calories (3.22 km/hr)240 calories (16 –19.15 km/hr)154 calories  (5.6 km/hr)
Moderate298 calories  (8km/hr)285 calories (19.3–22.4 km/hr)179 calories (6.4 km/hr)
High465 calories   (12 km/hr)357 calories  (22.5–25.6 km/hr)250 calories (7.2 km/hr)
Calories Consumed Per 30 Minutes of Exercise ( Per Sport)

How Long Do You Cycle Before You See Results?

The snapshot above gives detailed information on how long you need to cycle and the intensity required for a certain number of calories to be lost. But according to the American Council on exercise, you need to cycle for at least 30 minutes at a time with moderate intensity to lose weight. (Source)

How Many Miles Do I Cycle in A Day to Lose Weight?

If you need to lose weight and get a well-toned body, you should cycle for about 10 -20 miles per day. (Source)

Note that cycling alone will not only make you lose weight, so you have to incorporate other measures to aid weight loss, such as consuming fewer calories and alternating between other workout routines. 

Which Is Better for Losing Belly Fat, Running, Cycling or Walking?

Although cycling is the best exercise for weight loss, especially for individuals with joint or knee health issues, running is the best type of exercise for belly fat loss.

This is because it is considered a weight-bearing exercise that works on a larger group of muscles and increases fat metabolism compared to the rest. (Source)

We also recommend that you check out our post “Is a Stationary Bike Good for Bad Knees? What You Must Know!

How Much Cycling Is Equal to Running?

Cycling and running are aerobic exercises, but running produces more impact on the body when compared to cycling. This is because running affects all body extremities and works on almost all muscle parts.

For this reason, the ratio of cycling to running is 3:1 or 2:1, which means 3-2 miles of cycling yields the same result as 1 mile of running.

Also, check out our post ” Is Running An Effective Workout? How Does it Compare To Swimming And Cycling?

We also highly recommend that you check out our post titled ” Can Cycling Replace Running? What You Should Know!

Which of One the Exercise Is Better for Maintaining Body Shape?

Running and cycling help maintain body shape because they both help burn calories. But running is better for maintaining body shape because it works on a larger group of muscles like the calves, thighs, and butt compared to cycling.

Cycling alone is insufficient to help tone your body into the desired shape, so you have to include other exercises such as weight training exercises to work other groups of muscles.

For more on this, we recommend that you check out our post “Does Running Kill Muscle Gains? Or Does It Actually Help!

Which of These Exercises Is Best for Mental Well-Being?

Figuring out which exercise is best for your mental well-being depends on your preference, your interest, and the mental state you hope to attain from each. So, we can’t say any exercise is better than the other for your mental being.

You may prefer running in the morning because it helps provide that adrenaline surge you need to take control of your day. You may choose walking over running because it has less impact on the body.

Cycling may be another option because riding on a bike brings you a sense of balance.

Which One Has More Social Benefits?

Walking has more social benefits because it is easier to hold a good conversation without trying to catch your breath since walking is not intense to the body. A positive correlation exists between walking and having a conversation because they enable each other.

On the other hand, cycling has good social benefits, especially if you are cycling with your friends or partner at a slow, relaxed rate. Unfortunately, running doesn’t offer good social benefits because most of the time everyone would be too exhausted and out of breath to communicate with each other.


There is a good number of people who partake in either of these aerobic exercises as an estimate of 621 million people run daily, 580 million households who have access to a bicycle cycle daily, and those who walk, reach an average of 6,886 steps per day.


The people who partake in these exercises have a common goal of either weight loss, a healthy lifestyle, physical strength improvement, or engaging in a social activity. Out of these aerobic exercises, cycling and walking are usually preferred for socializing and weight loss because it has a low impact on the body, while running is best for belly fat loss. 

On a general note, before you select the best exercise for you, you have to consider your preference, your current state of health, and the overall results you wish to achieve. 


A medical student with passion in health and sports-related topics that discuss the optimization of one’s overall health through healthy nutrition, fitness, and adequate rest

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