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Cycling Vs Walking

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 03/01/2024
  • 2 min read

You wake up early in the morning, feeling refreshed and energised. You decide to go for a workout but are unsure whether to choose cycling or walking.

You have heard both are good for your health, but which is better? Let's find out.

Cycling or Walking: Which is Better?

To decide on cycling vs walking, you need to review several parameters discussed below.

Cycling vs Walking: Calorie Burn

Burning calories depends on how intense the exercise is: the greater the intensity, the more calories you burn. The number of calories you burn also depends on your weight, age, gender, and metabolism.

If you wonder which burns more calories, biking or walking, read the following.

According to Harvard Medical School, cycling is more calorie-intensive than walking. If you weigh around 68 kg (150 pounds) and cycle at a light speed of 16–19.15 km/hr for 30 minutes, you will use about 240 calories. However, if you walk at a speed of 5.6 km/hr for the same duration, you would use only 154 calories.

The reason cycling burns more calories than walking is that cycling applies more muscle groups. It demands more effort to maintain balance and speed. Cycling also has a higher oxygen consumption rate. That means your body uses more energy to fuel your muscles and organs.

Given the above rationale, when deciding on cycling vs walking for weight loss, you may prefer cycling.

Cycling vs Walking: Impact on Muscles

If you are working on improving your body shape and are confused about the best exercise, cycling or walking, you must read the next few lines.

Cycling primarily works the leg muscles, especially the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. These muscles produce force to push the pedals and propel you forward. Cycling at a higher speed or resistance or standing up to the pedal can increase the activation and power of these muscles. It can also engage your core muscles to stabilise your body and maintain your balance on the bike.

Conversely, walking involves a broader range of muscles, including those in the lower body, core, and upper body. Walking requires using your glutaeal muscles and hamstrings to move your legs, calf muscles to push off the ground, core muscles to support your posture, and arm and shoulder muscles to swing your arms. Walking uphill or upstairs can further challenge your muscles and increase their strength.

Cycling vs Walking: Injury

Cycling can be a good option if you have an injury that affects your lower body, such as your knee, ankle, or foot. Cycling can help you maintain your cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength without aggravating your injury.

However, cycling can also lead to overuse injuries, such as inflammation of the tendons or fluid-filled sacs, due to repeated motions. You may need to adjust your bike fit, posture, and pedalling technique to avoid these problems. Cycling can also be more expensive and less accessible than walking, as you need a bike and a safe place to ride.

Walking is a weight-bearing activity. It strengthens your bones and muscles. It can be a suitable alternative if you have an injury that affects your upper body, such as your shoulder, elbow, or wrist. Walking can help you improve your balance, coordination, and flexibility without worsening your injury.

However, it also puts more pressure on your joints than cycling, especially if you walk on hard or uneven surfaces. You may need to wear supportive shoes, use a walking aid, or adjust your speed and distance to avoid these problems. Walking can also be tedious and less challenging than cycling, as you may not reach your target heart rate or intensity level.

Cycling or Walking for Belly Fat

Maintaining a calorie deficit is a must to lose belly fat. That means you have to use up more calories than you take in.

As discussed, cycling and walking can help you burn calories, but cycling tends to burn more calories per hour than walking, especially if you cycle at a moderate to high intensity. Therefore, cycling may help you lose belly fat faster.

What Is the Right Amount of Exercise for a Week?

Exercise is vital to an active lifestyle. But how much exercise do you need per week? The answer relies on your age, goals, and current fitness level. Here is a general U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guide.

  • To stay healthy, as an adult, you must do 150 minutes of aerobic activity at a medium intensity or 75 minutes at a vigorous intensity every week. You can also combine both types of exercise.

  • Moderate-intensity aerobic activity includes brisk walking, swimming, biking, and lawn mowing. Examples of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity are aerobic dancing, swimming laps, running, and heavy yard work.

  • Exercises that enhance the strength of all the major muscle groups are also necessary at least twice a week.

  • Try doing strength training using your body weight, weight machines, heavy bags, weights, paddles in the water, or resistance bands. Also, do activities such as rock climbing that work your muscles.

  • Spread your exercise throughout the week. You should aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.

  • You can also break up your daily exercise into shorter segments of at least 10 minutes, as long as the intensity is moderate to vigorous. You may need more exercise to reach specific fitness goals, lose weight, or maintain your weight.

  • You should also reduce your sitting time as much as possible. Sitting too much can increase your risk of metabolic problems, even if you get enough exercise.

  • Some research has found that people who sit less are likelier to keep off lost weight. Every half hour or so, you should attempt to get up, move around, or do some stretches.

Conclusion

Cycling and walking are both beneficial for health, aiding in muscle strengthening, lowering cholesterol levels, and improving overall mental well-being. The choice between them depends on personal preference. Cycling requires an investment, but if you seek quick weight loss results, it is ideal.

While cycling and walking are important in our daily lives, they cannot serve as a substitute for medical insurance. Suppose you or any family member is suffering from a chronic disease. In that case, a family floater health insurance plan helps cover medical expenses such as OPD charges, pharmacy bills, ICU expenses, and more.

To choose the best health insurance plan, reviewing varied plans, claim settlement ratios, network hospitals, coverage limits, and inclusions is necessary.

FAQS

What is better for you, cycling or walking?

Cycling and walking benefit your health, but cycling has some advantages over walking. Cycling burns more calories, works your muscles better, and reduces the risk of death by natural causes in the long term. However, walking is cheaper, easier, and safer than cycling. Ultimately, the best alternative relies on your personal preferences and goals.

How many km of cycling is equal to walking?

This question has no direct answer, as it depends on many factors, such as your cycling and walking speed, intensity, terrain, and step length. However, a general rule of thumb is that one hour of low-intensity cycling is equivalent to walking for about 6000 steps.

Is cycling or walking better for losing belly fat?

Both cycling and walking can help you lose belly fat, but cycling may be more effective. Cycling, in comparison to walking, burns more calories per hour. It lets you establish a greater calorie deficit and potentially lose more fat.

Is it better to walk or bike for 30 minutes?

Cycling is better than walking for 30 minutes if you want to burn more calories, work your muscles better, and improve your cardiovascular fitness.

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