I am intending to start working out in the morning. I am a fan of being outdoors so would prefer not to go to a gym or use any indoor equipment.

My goals are to remain fit and in shape. I am not currently overweight but extended periods (9 to 12 hours) spent sitting per day have started to affect the size of my belly.

I was wondering what the merits are of cycling versus running as a beginner with regard to achieving the goals stated above?

  • 1
    Better for an initiator? Whats an initiator? Also, you probably need to mention your goals.
    – user2861
    Sep 26, 2013 at 6:45
  • 1
    "One, who is going to introduce himself to world of workout"!
    – rptwsthi
    Sep 26, 2013 at 6:53
  • If you want to ride, ride. If you want to run, run. Welcome. I enjoy going to the gym, but you don't like that. Only you know what you like. What exactly is your goal or reason for working out?
    – user2861
    Sep 26, 2013 at 6:57
  • Assuming that initiator means a beginner, I suggest you to read this Q&A. If this suits you, please comment here.
    – Freakyuser
    Sep 26, 2013 at 9:01
  • 3
    I've suggested an edit to your question that should hopefully make it clearer what you're asking about. If you disagree feel free to reject it. Sep 26, 2013 at 11:32

2 Answers 2


If you run, you will get a stronger forefoot, your hip flexors are called into play much more, your quads and hamstrings both have a very active role, as well as your calve muscles. You must swing your arms and bring your core into the motion. There is a huge emphasis on landing and pushing off, your shoes are important, as well as the gait of your foot, your stance, and whether your an overpronator or underpronator.

I would say running is more taxing on your knees and joints.

If you want to bike, your bike will be more important than shoes, however shoes will still serve their purpose (try laceless ones if you get serious). Your quads and hammies are both activated, as well as your calves, but not to the extent of that in running.

Your core is much less activated, your arms are not activated unless you're turning, even then it's minimal. You get places faster, you can cover much more ground while on a bike. It is less taxing on your knees. More cushioning for your whole body, but I would say in general less of a full body workout than running.

I can appreciate your love for the outdoors, and personally I found running kept that love at the forefront of my run, where as when on a bike I am more focused on not running over large objects, dodging children, and when I can I will take a minute to enjoy my surroundings.

I am not a scientist, I can't justify my reasoning, I just know what feels right, for me.

Best of luck friend.

  • initiator is an english word last time i checked, so maybe it's the ignorance that makes my contempt a bit more convenient.
    – Hituptony
    Oct 29, 2013 at 17:38
  • Initiator is an English word, however it wasn't really used in the correct context. The entire post just wasn't very clear on what was being asked. The comments asking were so that the question could be edited to make it a better fit and easier to understand.
    – JohnP
    Oct 29, 2013 at 17:41
  • Deal. JohnP for mod!
    – Hituptony
    Oct 29, 2013 at 17:46
  • Well, I loved your perspective and your second last para helped me to visualise what I actually want. And With that I decided, and initially went for cycling only but now I go with both.
    – rptwsthi
    Jun 25, 2014 at 12:28

The bottom line is going to be whichever activity you enjoy more, you will end up doing more. That being said, here are some comparisons of cycling versus running.

  • Time: You will get more out of running for the time spent. You work harder in running, so you burn more calories for about the same amount of time spent (For the same effort level. If you really crank it on the bike compared to the run you can get near the same expenditure.)
  • Cost - Cycling will have a much greater initial cost. Obviously even an entry level bike will run a few hundred, while you can get decent running shoes for under $80 (All dollar values US based).
  • Time to be comfortable - Initially if you are not used to it, running can be very tough on the body. It takes time to build up to where you can run for 30 minutes straight at a time. Bikes you can leap on and go.
  • Weather - You can run in just about any weather. You can cycle in just about any weather with the proper clothing, but it's a lot more unsafe to cycle in a rainstorm than it is to run in one. As long as you have proper clothing, in most climates you can run or ride nearly year round. (Presuming your locale does road clearing/plowing).
  • Muscle building - Cycling will bulk most of your lower body, as it engages all the muscles from where the abs connect to the ribcage down. Running does as well, but it doesn't have the type of stress on the muscles that will produce mass. Neither running or cycling will really engage the chest/arms.
  • Injury rates - I have not checked this in a long time, but the last time I looked cycling ran around 5-7 injuries per 1000 hours, where running is 10-12 per 1000 hours.

Please note - This is pretty much for a road cycling perspective. If you do cyclocross or mountain/off road style biking, there will be a little more upper body engagement, and the equipment will be different.

As far as the fitness goes, any aerobic activity done consistently will help you achieve your body and weight goals, so find activities that you enjoy. If you don't like it and "only do it for weight", then you will soon find excuses not to do it. If you do like it, you will find excuses to continue.

Along with the exercise, you would need to take an honest look at your dietary choices, and make sure that they support and do not hinder your fitness/weight goals. It does no good to exercise if you keep eating fast food or similar junk items. Have fun and good luck!

  • I would expand this by one point: Do you find tracks that you enjoy cycling on, and tracks that you like for running that are conveneint for you?With any exercise, boredom is an enemy.
    – mart
    Oct 30, 2013 at 12:20
  • Well I know it's too late but better late than never. I have thoroughly went through all the points you made an d was really helpful for making my decision. Well as like to explore place and morning time is really good so end-up with cycling with running. For upper body I do some pushups, chin ups and plank. Hoping that will be enough. Also thanks to @mart for that boredom point. I choose different path for my day schedule and Now I ma ran out of new path long ago. But by then I found set of ma fav paths to repeat.
    – rptwsthi
    Jun 25, 2014 at 12:25

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