Running and cycling both have amazing health benefits. They are a good choice for losing weight and improving cardiovascular health. But the benefits go beyond the physical and in some instances, they can even help reduce stress levels and fight depression.

But both running and cycling have their own particularities. For example, running burns more calories per minute compared to cycling. On the other hand, cycling can have a reduced impact on the joints and can thus be a recommended alternative when going on a weight loss plan. If you are new to cycling you can learn more on the activity to get started as soon as possible. Let`s have a look at some of the major benefits of the two activities and how they might differ:

Cardiovascular Benefits

The cardiovascular benefits of running and cycling are very popular in the fitness industry. There still is ongoing research on the true benefits of the cardiovascular system, but what we know for sure is that running can actually reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. An extensive US study shows the true benefits of running. Thus, even a few minutes of running each day can actually diminish some cardiovascular diseases. Even more, running can reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular issues. So how much should you run? The study claims that even one or two weekly running sessions, up to 6 miles each, can already produce major health benefits. So there is increasing evidence that running can actually make you live longer and healthier.

Weight Loss

Weight loss is one of the areas in which both running and cycling are great alternatives. The general rule is to try and avoid joint damage by running when you are out of shape. This means that instead of choosing between cycling and running, you can combine them to see the best benefits.

At the beginning of your weight loss process, you can cycle a few times per week to boost your metabolism and begin losing body fat. When your weight has decreased you can then add running to your weekly routine for improved weight loss efforts in the same timeframe. 

A common mistake in the weight loss process can be abiding by a single type of activity. While this can produce physical results, it can get frustrating mentally. This is why you can combine both activities to maintain workout variety and to keep yourself motivated to achieve your fitness goals.

Eliminate Depression

Depression can be difficult to tackle in modern society. The good news is that there is increasing evidence that intense physical activities can actually reduce depression. A 2004 study claims that this is the case for most adults and it is based on a simple principle where certain areas of the brain can benefit from the increased temperature as a result of exercising. This can lead to overall relaxation and can help tackle depression. 

The study also makes an interesting recommendation. It is not the duration of the exercises that matters the most. It is actually the frequency of the exercises which can benefit your mood. This is why it is important to have a regular exercise routine above everything else.

Muscle Toning

Building muscle with running can be difficult. The same goes for cycling. Since these activities involve maintaining a higher heart rate for a long period of time they are a good solution to lose weight. But muscle toning can be possible if you know how to achieve it.

If you are a runner you know that you are using multiple muscles in your activities. The same goes for cycling but since there is no impact, it can be a better choice if you plan to reduce the pressure on the joints. However, both routines activate muscles such as the quadriceps and the hamstrings. The abdominal muscles are also activated with both activities but from a different angle. This is why you can combine both running and cycling for optimum muscle toning and development.

Build A Community

Running and cycling are not solitary activities anymore. They both come with numerous communities which can help you find training partners and events around your area. For dedicated activities, you can look at online groups, forums or even dedicated smartphone apps to see which events might interest you the most. However, since running requires less equipment, it can have the benefit of having more fans. This leads to increased socializing opportunities and improved interaction with like-minded people. If you can`t find a community in your area you can join the sports and travel trend

Running and cycling both have amazing health benefits. Even new runners or cyclists can benefit from these activities. All you need is a few minutes each day to see the results you want in time. Whether it’s the cardiovascular benefits you are looking for or the mental paybacks, both activities can represent a solid alternative to achieve a healthier lifestyle. If you are struggling to find numerous communities in your area for cycling you can always opt for running groups which tend to be larger as they require minimum equipment and can be practiced everywhere. 


John T Lyons grew up riding the canyons of San Diego on his single speed Huffy. After a stint working for Shelby American in automotive and then in the Aerospace industry, JT started Moment Bicycles. He developed a "better way to buy a bike" using his engineering problem-solving skills. Learn more at