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5 Ways That Outdoor Cycling Is More Beneficial Than Running

Updated: Jun 14

Outdoor cycling and running are both excellent exercise methods; however, we believe that cycling offers more rewards.

Exercises that improve your cardiovascular fitness are essential to your health and wellness, specifically those that boost oxygen consumption, cardiac output, and lung function, such as running and cycling. These characteristics of cardiorespiratory fitness can prevent disease while promoting overall heart health.

So, with this knowledge, many people wonder which of the two is better for you: heading out for a bike ride or a run. Both of these exercises offer excellent benefits to your health and overall wellness.

Still, there are critical differences between the two that might make one better for you than the other, depending on your fitness goals, personal preferences, resources, and experience level.

However, we are on the side that cycling is the superior workout. Continue reading below to find out why.

Cardio Exercise and Your Health

Whether you are swimming, rowing, running, or riding a bike, you are doing cardio. Cardio workouts are exercises that get your blood pumping and increase your heart rate. Cardio is a great way to keep your heart and lungs healthy and helps you pump oxygen and blood throughout your body, making you better able to take in more oxygen more efficiently.

Cardio is also a great way to lose weight because it increases the total amount of calories you burn daily. The amount of energy — AKA calories — you burn during cardio workouts depends entirely on the duration, intensity, and several other factors.

For example, you will not burn nearly as many calories during a low-intensity workout as you will during a high-intensity one. Similarly, cycling for 45 minutes burns far more calories than cycling for 15 minutes. Moreover, a person who is overweight or has more muscles will have to work harder to do the same movements, thus burning more calories.

Because of this, many doctors recommend cardio workouts to most people. One of the best ways to get cardio exercise is outdoor cycling.

Outdoor Cycling vs. Running

Outside of training for a triathlon, you probably will not run and cycle in the same exercise session. So, how do you go about choosing which workout to participate in? We are diving into some ways that biking is more beneficial for your health than running. Here is everything that you need to know:

  1. Cycling is a Low Impact Sport — The most common injury among runners is the "runner's knee," or patellofemoral pain syndrome. It affects as many as 25-30% of runners since running is a high-impact sport caused by overuse. The intense impact of your feet against the hard floor with every stride reverberates through the kneecap and causes it to rub against the femur, resulting in extreme pain and discomfort. Other common injuries include shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and IT band syndrome. Biking, however, is a low-impact sport, as the cycling motion puts far less strain on your joints, making it an ideal sport for those rehabilitating an injury, individuals surfing from a specific joint-related condition such as arthritis, or those that simply want to protect their bodies.

  2. Cycling Seamlessly Fits into Routines — Instead of carving out time to go to the gym, more and more people are opting to bike to work. Swapping the typical morning commute in your car to a cycling commute is easy! Moreover, studies have shown that employees who choose to cycle to work are happier, more productive, healthier, and less likely to miss work than those who drive to work.

  3. Indoor Cycling Options — Like running indoors on a treadmill, there is an indoor option for cycling. Indoor cycling classes are called spin. Spin can be done at a studio, gym, or even at home on a stationary bike. In these classes, you will cycle between periods of lower-intensity and higher-intensity exercise synced to music. If you love group exercise, you will love a spin class's upbeat and motivating environment.

  4. Cycling Allows You to Go the Distance — The ability to ride for multiple hours at a time means you get to cover plenty of ground and see some great sites along the way. There are hundreds of beautiful bike tours you can go on worldwide! Another perk of cycling is that you can carry a lot more things a lot more easily than while running. Whether you stuff your jersey pockets full, wear a backpack or messenger bag, or add a carrying unit to your bike, you are free to use your bike for day trips, commutes, everyday transportation, and more.

  5. Build More Muscle with Cycling — While running develops muscle tone, cycling can help to increase overall muscle mass better than running. This is because muscles build when they work against resistance. The pedals on your bike act as a resistance, resulting in that burning sensation in your glutes, quads, and calves that you are likely feeling during and after a good cycling session.

Love Outdoor Cycling? Sign Up for Saints to Sinners Bike Relay Today

While we think outdoor cycling is superior to running, it really does not matter which type of exercise you choose. Cardiovascular exercise is a great way to improve your health and really just comes down to personal preference: what resonates most with you and what brings you the most joy.

If you want to refine your cycling skills and improve your health and wellness while supporting a good cause, sign up for the Saints to Sinners Bike Relay Race today! All of the proceeds of this even go to the fight against ALS. We are fighting back and are here to show ALS that it will not win.

This scenic race begins in the majestic Salt Lake City mountains and ends in the desert of Las Vegas. Don't let your chance to participate in this year's exciting race pass you by!

Registration is open now! So grab your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to support a good cause and join the fun today! Contact us to learn more.


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