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Biking vs. Running: Which One Is Better for Weight Loss?

Biking and running are two well-known and much loved ways to exercise. Luckily, you don't have to pick just one — you can combine them. Read this article to find out more about the benefits of biking and cycling for weight loss and learn how to combine these workouts.
Biking vs. running – these are two of the most common exercises that people enjoy worldwide. When it comes to weight loss, running and biking are two obvious choices. Both biking and running are forms of aerobic exercise that can be pursued outdoors. However, figuring out which one is best for weight loss can be somewhat confusing, as everyone thinks about these exercises – and their own needs – differently. Let's get into the biking vs. running phenomenon in depth.
a girl deciding between biking vs running

Stationary bike vs. treadmill: Which one to choose for an indoor workout

When you're choosing a piece of cardio equipment to work out indoors, you need to analyze what works best with your body, what (if any) other equipment you need, how it will serve your goal, and any other personal preferences you may have. Every piece of equipment is designed in a specific way and has its pros and cons.

When you are choosing a stationary bike vs. treadmill, here are some differences to consider. Running on a treadmill tends to burn a lot of calories, and it is an intense workout. Many treadmills offer variable speeds and inclines that you can set according to your needs. But running on the treadmill also carries a higher risk of injury to the knees, back, and joints. It can also be tempting to "cheat" by holding onto the handles for support. On the other hand, a stationary bike may not burn as many calories but provides good results, strengthening the body and building endurance. So, it is essential to choose the equipment according to your needs.

Can you combine biking and running workouts?

Rather than picking one or the other, you can also combine biking and running in your routine. Combining a bike workout with a running workout is great for people who love both. Both exercises help improve performance and fitness while strengthening the body. You can mix daily biking with a few runs per week or vice versa. It will help boost your performance and endurance and help improve recovery.
a man on a treadmill thinking about biking vs running

Benefits of running for weight loss

Running involves more muscles, which means that it elevates the energy burn and involves the whole body in action. Here are some of the benefits of running for weight loss:

  • It burns more calories than any exercise.
  • It suppresses appetite and may help you eat less.
  • It targets harmful belly fats.
  • It decreases the chances of heart disease.
  • It regulates the blood sugar in the body.
  • It increases the strength of blood tissues.
  • It reduces the chances of arthritis and knee pain.

What muscles does running engage?

Running is considered a whole-body workout, but it mainly involves the core and lower body muscles. It is essential to keep these muscles strong and healthy as they are responsible for the body's stability and spinal alignment. Proper running form helps you run efficiently. Similarly, understanding how each set of muscles works enables you to improve your running form, body posture, technique, and stamina, preventing injuries. The following muscles are involved in running:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Hip flexors
  • Calves
  • Thoracic diaphragm
  • Tensor fascia latae
  • Flexor hallucis brevis or longus
  • Tibialis anterior
  • Pectorals
  • Core muscles
  • Upper body muscles (chest, back, shoulders, etc.)
a man running outdoors thinking about biking vs running dilemma

Benefits of cycling for weight loss

Cycling for weight loss is a great cardio workout option. It helps strengthen the heart and lungs, improves blood flow, builds muscle strength, and lowers stress levels. Cycling for weight loss is aimed at burning fat and calories. In general, cycling is a great way to promote all-around fitness and improve strength and endurance. Similarly, the pedal power is often low impact and is very efficient for people who have knee or joint problems. Cycling for weight loss can be a good option for beginners.

What muscles does biking target?

Cycling has a transforming impact on the body. Cyclists can build muscle strength as well as lose weight. Cycling also improves cardiovascular fitness. Cycling involves many muscles of the body. Primarily, cycling targets the lower body, arm, and core muscles. Here are a few muscles involved in biking:

  • Calves
  • Thighs
  • Glutes
  • Arms
  • Shoulders
  • Feet

a man on a bike thinking about biking vs running dilemma


Generally, when considering biking vs running, running burns more calories than cycling but also has a harder impact on the muscles and joints. Both have their benefits, so choosing between biking and running should be done based on your personal preferences. Think about what you want to do and which will fit well into your daily routine. Weight loss takes time and effort, and making sure you enjoy the exercise you pick can help you stick to that routine. This info should help you make an informed decision regarding biking vs. running, as now you know what muscles biking works, the benefits of cycling for weight loss, and considerations when deciding whether to go with a stationary bike vs. a treadmill. If you are struggling to find the energy for biking or running, you can read this article to learn about nine tried-and-true ways to find motivation.
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