Running Vs Cycling: What Burns The Most Calories?

Running Vs Cycling: What Burns The Most Calories?

February 28, 2020 57 By Ewald Bahringer


– If you want to lose
weight, then you simply need to burn more calories than you
consume on a regular basis, and you can do this by
either altering your diet or doing more exercise, and
if you do opt for exercise, then the question is which sport is best for burning those excessive calories? – Yeah, so we’ve already
compared the difference between swimming and running
in a rough experiment, and now we wanted to look at
the differences between cycling and running. So to do that, we’re going to
step things up a little bit. We’re going to head into the
physiology lab here at Team Bath and we are going to get science involved. – Today, we have chosen
cycling and running due to the fact that they are
both land-based activities so we can get more scientific
with our calculations, but also because they’re
both commonly used to help you lose weight. – Yeah, and before we
delve into the comparisons of the calorie numbers
themselves, we thought it would be worthwhile looking at
the pros and the cons of each sport individually. (upbeat music) – Running is weight-bearing,
therefore it helps to beat osteoporosis through the loading of the bones and the joints. – Cycling, on the other hand,
will cause less wear and tear on our joints, and as a
result will less likely give us an injury. – Running requires minimal equipment and can be done pretty much anywhere. – However, cycling does require a bike and a little bit more kit,
although most gyms do have indoor spin bikes so there
are some alternatives as well. – Both sports can be social,
although cycling is probably a little more so as it can be done at a slightly lower intensity. – Now, leading on from the last point, you can of course cycle
longer as it puts less strain on our bodies. (upbeat music) – We’ve chosen to use calories
as the measurement today as most people are aware of this unit and it’s a simple way to measure energy. We are actually though going
to be referring to kilocalories which are the equivalent of 1,000 calories as that’s the number that
you’ll get on any food labels, but also on your fitness trackers. – Yeah, and put quite simply,
in order to lose weight, you need to be consistently
burning more calories through your exercise and daily activities than you’re taking onboard through food and drink over the course of each day. – But with that in mind, let’s
look at how we can measure our calorie output. Now, there are several options out there, but some are more accurate than others. – Now, you could use a
simple calorie calculator, and this is a case of you
putting in your sex, your weight, your age, and then guessing the intensity that you have been working
at, but you’re going to get a very rough number out of this because that calorie calculator
is going to have to figure out how hard that you were going
to give you an indication of how many calories you burned. – Stepping up from that
would be a fitness tracker or a sports watch which
can continually measure your heart rate throughout
the activity so it knows the intensity you’ve worked
at and then combines that with the personal data
that’s already stored on that to be able to give you a
more realistic estimate of just how many calories
you’ve burned in that activity. – So today we’re going to take
that one step further yet again to measure our calorie output
by using the most accurate of measurement techniques. So we’re going to head off into the lab to see exactly what that entails. (upbeat music) – Hi Jonathon, thanks again
for the use of your lab and your time. Today, we want to look at
the calorie consumption comparing cycling to
running, and I wanted to know how we can do it and how we can actually measure that accurately here. – Okay, so what we’ll do today is we’ll measure oxygen consumption. So commonly referred to as VO2,
and people heard of VO2 max, but this will be submaximal
so it’s how much oxygen you’re using at a certain
exercise intensity, and from that, with a few
assumptions you can work out calorie consumption. – And obviously that varies depending on what intensity you’re working at. We haven’t got that much
time today, so if we were to pick two sort of levels to work at, what’s the best two to choose? – I think for what you want to do today ’cause obviously you
want to look at levels that people might sustain so
we might look at level two, fairly aerobic work, and
then probably level four, so kind of threshold-based
work which might be zones that people would sustain for
certain periods of time really and you do, when we’re
doing VO2 measurements, you see a huge difference
in oxygen consumption from the transition from
walking into running. – Okay. – Even for any, say,
one K change in speed. – All right, well I’m
intrigued to find out what the results look like. – [Fraser] Myself and Heather
will be measuring our calories burnt whilst running and then cycling. Heather has drawn the shorter straw and will be working harder
closer to her threshold in zone four, however, I’ll be sticking to a more aerobic capacity
at my zone two intensity. (upbeat music) – [Heather] Most people
presume that running burns more calories than cycling,
so we’re keen to find out if this is true, and if
so, what is the difference? (upbeat music) – [Fraser] With both the
bike and run completed, it’s time for Jonathon
to do some calculations and work out the calorie output
for our respective efforts. – [Heather] All right,
we’ve just about got our breath back, Jonathon. I want to have a look at the numbers. First of all, how do my calories
come out for bike compared to run if we looked at it for the hour? – If we work it out for an hour, running is about 991 calories per hour and then biking is 868. – [Heather] Okay. – [Jonathon] So that’s a
difference of about 124. – And then how do Fraser’s numbers look? – So Fraser’s are slightly higher. So reasons behind that is
obviously he’s slightly bigger so he’s using more oxygen. So in terms of actually
energy using you’d expect it to be higher. So that’s 1,156 for
running and 994 for biking. So that difference comes out
to a little bit more than 212. – Now, I think it’s safe to say
that we both thought running was going to come out on top
in our little experiment here which it did. Considering the weight-bearing
element of that sport, plus the fact that it is
more of a full body workout compared to cycling, it
gives it that advantage. – However, cycling you can obviously do for a far longer duration, so
if you’ve got plenty of time on your side you might be
better off using cycling to burn more calories, but I
personally find that running is the easiest way for me to lose weight. Partly because it suppresses my appetite, but partly because when I
go cycling I quite often have coffee and cake. – Which is no bad thing at all. Now, if you have got one of these sports that you perhaps lean
towards if you’re trying to lose a little bit of
weight, please let us know and drop those down in the comments. I’d really love to hear about that. Hopefully, you enjoyed
our video so please hit that thumb up like button and
find the globe wherever it is onscreen so that you can
get all the other videos that we have done, and if
you want to see a video that we did about losing
calories a little bit larger, 1,000’s of them, well, you
can get that video here. – And if you want to see a
comparison between swimming and running when it comes
to calorie consumption, you can find that one just down here.