In terms of the sheer amount of calories burned, cycling is more effective than walking. Although a variety of factors should be taken into consideration on an individual basis, a study done by Harvard Medical School has shown that if there are two people of roughly the same weight and one were to bike for 30 minutes while the other walks for the same amount of time, the individual who bikes would lose approximately 100 more calories.
What are the benefits of biking for weight loss?
Although there are a number of benefits for biking over walking, the clear number one reason is simply that cycling burns more calories per hour than walking. Walking burns approximately 230 kcal per hour, whereas cycling burns about 560 kcal (https://www.welovecycling.com/wide/2018/10/17/what-is-better-10000-steps-or-an-hour-of-cycling/). As you can see, this is a significant difference, and can really add up over the weeks and months.
Another benefit of biking is that it is usually easier on the joints for people that have pre-existing injuries, or who are overweight. Hopping on a bicycle and going for a ride may be much more realistic for an individual who struggles to get around on foot.
What are the benefits of walking for weight loss?
The main benefit of walking, as opposed to biking, is that almost anyone can open their door, step outside, and begin walking. The low barrier to entry makes walking an impactful and affordable tool that anyone can use to lose weight.
Walking 10,000 steps a day has been touted as a great benchmark for individuals looking to lose weight and reduce body fat, including those who are looking to build muscle. Walking does not require any special equipment, besides sneakers, although a pedometer is recommended.
Pedometers are a great way to track your steps and keep you motivated. They also provide useful information, such as heart rate, distance traveled, and how many calories you’ve burned. Fitbit provides some quality fitness trackers at reasonable prices. Below is one of our favorites, the Fitbit Charge 5.
What are the cons of biking over walking?
Biking can be significantly more costly to get started with. Especially, if you don’t already own a bicycle. An entry-level road bike or hybrid bicycle can cost anywhere between $400 to $1,000 dollars. You will also, at the very least, need a cycling helmet, which can be between $50 to $100, on the low end. Some high-end road bikes can exceed the $3,000-$5,000 range.
Other things to consider
Whether you are cycling or walking, it is always a good idea to be able to monitor your heart rate when performing any kind of cardio activity. There are many kinds of monitors you can choose from, including chest strap and wrist-worn heart rate monitors. For more information you can read our article on “The 10 Best Heart Rate Monitors for Running: Chest Straps vs. Fitness Watches”.
Photo by Serg Alesenko: https://www.pexels.com/@sergk1/