Maintaining your health and vigor via aerobic exercise is crucial. If you’re new to doing workouts or need to change your exercise routine because of an injury or illness, you might not know the best aerobic exercise.

One of the most common forms of aerobic exercise is walking, followed by cycling. Both may be modified for novices or those with injuries or other medical concerns.

Compared to aerobic exercises like jogging or jumping rope, they both provide a reduced-impact workout. They are also accessible regardless of the weather since you can do them inside and outside.

But in terms of price, they often vary. While walking takes a pair of shoes (or no shoes at all) and the will to go, cycling requires a bicycle.

You may be wondering which exercises and workouts are best for your health.

Which has a more significant caloric expenditure?

Cycling burns more calories with the same amount of time and effort as walking.

You might burn more calories by walking or bicycling, depending on how hard you work. The following table estimates the number of calories a 150-pound (68-kg) individual would burn during a 30-minute workout.

Look: Bicycling,

Look: Walking.

Intensity Biking (calories and speed) Walking (calories and speed)


240 calories: 10 ~ 11.9 miles per hour (16 ~ 19.15 km/hour)

154 calories: 3.5 miles per hour (5.6 km/hour)


285 calories: 12 ~ 13.9 miles per hour (19.3 ~ 22.4 km/hour)

179 calories: 4.0 miles per hour (6.4 km/hour)


357 calories: 14 ~ 15.9 miles per hour (22.5 ~ 25.6 km/hour)

250 calories: 4.5 miles per hour (7.2 km/hour)

As a result, cycling burns more calories in the same amount of time and intensity. Consider the intensity to be the rate of perceived effort.

Look: Higher fat oxidation.

Cycling might be a better option if you only have a little time but still want to burn calories.

Which strengthens muscles more?

When you walk or ride a bike, you use many of the same muscles to move and exert force. Cycling, on the other hand, causes your muscles to work more.

Both cycling and walking require using many of the same muscles to generate force. When you walk or ride a bike, the hip and hamstring muscles give you power.

When you raise your pace when cycling, these muscles become more active, particularly when you stand up to cycle. Furthermore, gluteal activation rises while walking uphill or upstairs.

Look: Cycling,

Look: Walking.

Cycling involves the quadriceps (knee extensors) to a greater degree than walking. When cycling while seated, they exert more force during the power or push-down phase.

Look: A joint-level analysis.

Lastly, cycling and walking rely heavily on the calf muscles (soleus and gastrocnemius). The muscles help you move forward, whether walking or cycling, during the push phase (mid-stance to pre-swing phases).

Look: Lower-limb muscle function.

Look: Meta-analysis of gait mechanics in young and older adults.

As a result, both sports use the same muscles, but cycling requires the muscles to exert greater effort.

Which burns fat faster?

Walking triumphs over cycling in the race to reduce body fat. Walking counts as weight-bearing activity, whereas riding does not.

A study that compared the effects of walking and cycling on fat metabolism found that walking increased fat metabolism more than cycling did. Both were done with the same amount of effort or intensity, according to the people who did them.

Look: Higher fat oxidation.

Another research discovered that, in comparison to cycling, weight-bearing workouts like walking and running were linked to lower amounts of a form of fat that builds up in bone marrow.

Look: Physical Activity.

Which one helps you get stronger?

Compared to walking, cycling could help you acquire greater strength. However, additional study is required.

Cycling was linked to greater strength in a study of muscle strength and hypertrophy.

Stronger muscles and more developed muscular tissue were discovered to be benefits of cycling. Older people were more affected than younger ones by this phenomenon. Younger folks, however, may be able to do this with more vigor.

Look: Cycle training.

Studies on whether and how walking builds strength in young, healthy individuals are not very common.

However, one research discovered that when elderly sedentary people started walking, their strength rose.

Look: Walking.

For the same results, a younger person may need to bike harder.

Which one will help you lose weight most effectively?

If you have a short amount of time to exercise, cycling can be more effective for weight reduction. However, as long as you control your diet, both forms of exercise may aid in weight reduction.

Increasing your daily calorie expenditure compared to your intake is necessary to lose weight. Increasing your exercise levels while properly reducing your calorie intake is one of the key ways to do this.

According to the data above, cycling often burns more calories per minute than walking.

Look: Bicycling,

Look: Walking.

Therefore, cycling can be a better option if you want to reduce weight but only have a little time for exercise.

But the best course of action is to limit your calorie intake while engaging in the activity you like the most. You may exercise by walking, riding, or doing both at once. Combining the two may provide variation and improve program adherence.

In the case of injuries, which option is preferable?

Injuries may benefit from low-impact exercises like cycling and walking. However, for whatever injuries you may have, go with the one that most comfortably supports your body.

Injuries are a normal part of life. They may be uncomfortable and make it difficult to exercise. Finding an activity that allows you to be active when injured is critical. However, this may vary depending on the nature of the damage.

One research, for example, found a significant prevalence of low back discomfort among bikers. Long road rides require a flexed trunk position.

Recent research shows that people with chronic low back pain are less likely to avoid activities and have less pain when they walk.

Look: Cyclists With and Without Low Back Pain.

Look: A meta-analysis of randomized trials.

Studies have shown that walking and cycling can help people with knee osteoarthritis deal with the pain. As a result, both may be beneficial exercises for joint discomfort caused by arthritis.

However, if you have other reasons for joint discomfort, you may find one exercise more pleasant than another.

Look: Home-based management of knee osteoarthritis during COVID-19 pandemic.

If weight-bearing exercises like walking make you feel bad, cycling might be a better choice. If the bent posture of cycling causes discomfort, walking may be a better option.

If you wish to start walking or cycling but have injuries or other health concerns, consult a healthcare practitioner, such as a family doctor. They will help you choose the activity that will meet your needs best.

Which one is more advantageous? Who should avoid each?

You may burn more calories and improve your lower-body strength by cycling. But walking has been shown to improve bone density, and it’s usually less expensive than riding.

Cycling is advantageous for people who:

  • having fewer opportunities to exercise,
  • appreciate a quicker speed.

For example, cycling at a moderate speed burns more calories than walking at a moderate pace. You may work on your leg muscles and fitness by riding a bike.

However, if you find cycling unpleasant or painful owing to back pain or difficulty sitting for lengthy periods, you should avoid it.

The following are conditions in which walking becomes more beneficial:

  • Problems with bone density, such as osteoporosis,
  • backache,
  • limited finances to purchase a bike and accompanying biking equipment.

On the other hand, walking may not be helpful for all forms of pain. If you have pain that worsens when you stand or bear weight, cycling may be more comfortable.

Where to start making a decision

Choose an activity based on your preferences, what is easiest to fit into your schedule, and whether you can walk or bike with others who motivate you to move more.

Walking and cycling are great exercise methods that are easier on your body than other activities.

If you need more clarification, think about trying both and seeing which one you prefer in terms of comfort and enjoyment. Even if you don’t own a bike, renting or borrowing one to try out could be beneficial.

Which one is also the simplest to carry out? Depending on your circumstances, you can walk practically anywhere, even in your own home or in a shopping center.

Cycling is convenient when it substitutes for your commute to work. Still, it is less convenient, for example, if you have to use a vehicle or public transportation to get to a location where you may cycle.

Think about what you can most easily include in your daily routine.

Do you have any buddies that bike or walk? It can be easier for you to maintain a routine if you work out with others.

What this means, in essence

Among the best ways to exercise are by riding a bike or taking a stroll. Everyone, from beginners to seasoned professionals, will find something to enjoy and something with which to struggle within them.

Both are good ways to lose body fat, and some people who can’t do other kinds of exercise because of health problems or injuries may be able to use them instead.

If you’re short on time yet want to burn fat and bulk up, cycling might be a good option.

Walking could be a better option if you may benefit from weight-bearing exercise but don’t want to or can’t afford a bike and all the accessories that go along with it.

The good news is that your health will benefit just as much from any physical activity you choose.


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