Are Cyclists Fitter Than Runners?


Cycling and running are two of the most common forms of exercise that people use to stay fit and healthy. But, the question that arises among fitness enthusiasts is which one is better? Which one provides better fitness benefits? In this article, we will explore whether cyclists are fitter than runners.

The Comparison

Cycling and running are both aerobic exercises that engage the cardiovascular system and improve overall fitness. However, cycling is considered to be less intense than running, and therefore, it may not be as effective for weight loss as running. But, the good news is that cycling can help build muscle strength and endurance.

The Benefits of Cycling

Cycling is a low-impact exercise that is gentle on the joints and reduces the risk of injury. It is an excellent exercise for people with arthritis or other joint problems. Cycling also helps build leg muscles and improves overall strength and endurance. According to research, cycling can burn up to 600 calories per hour, making it an effective exercise for weight loss.

The Benefits of Running

Running is a high-impact exercise that can improve cardiovascular health, boost mood, and increase endurance. It is an excellent exercise for weight loss as it burns more calories per minute than cycling. Running also helps improve bone density, which can reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

The Fitness Debate

The debate on whether cyclists are fitter than runners has been ongoing for years. While cyclists may have more leg muscle strength, runners have better cardiovascular endurance. According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, cyclists have a higher peak power output than runners, but runners have higher VO2 max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen that the body can use during exercise.

The Verdict

In conclusion, the answer to whether cyclists are fitter than runners depends on the context. Both exercises provide excellent fitness benefits and can improve overall health and well-being. Cycling is an effective exercise for building leg muscle strength and can be easier on the joints, while running is an excellent exercise for improving cardiovascular endurance and burning more calories.

Final Thoughts

No matter which exercise you choose, the most important thing is to stay active and consistent with your workouts. Whether you are a cyclist or a runner, make sure to incorporate other forms of exercise into your routine to avoid overuse injuries and improve overall fitness. Remember, the best exercise is the one that you enjoy and can stick to in the long term.

Exercise Type Calories Burned (per hour)
Cycling 600
Running 900

Source: Harvard Health Publishing