In a previous post, we covered the benefits of standing over sitting. Standing, as would turn out, won out as a better way to burn calories than its sedentary rival. But what about those of you who want to get up and move? There’re all types of exercise you could choose – running vs walking, cycling, swimming and more – so which is best for burning calories? For losing weight? General health? Let’s look at a few comparisons to see how they stack up.
Running vs Walking
At first glance, you’d think that running vs walking would amount to more calories burned. After all, you’re putting a lot more effort into running, right? Those legs are just going as fast as they can carry you.
As it would turn out, running does burn more calories, but only a few more. Running a mile will burn about 112 calories, while walking a mile will burn a total of 89. That number is pretty close, isn’t it?!
However, there are other factors to consider. Think, for a minute, about how much time you spend exercising. Now translate that to running vs walking. Walking for one minute will burn fewer than 5 calories. But running for one minute will melt over 11.
That having been said, if you’ve only got 10 minutes to exercise, go for the sprint. You’ll burn over 110 calories, as opposed to the 47 you’d burn by walking for the same amount of time.
Walking does have its advantages, though. Walking is great for those with knee and back problems. It’s also more of a total body workout. The most efficient runners run with little arm motion, whereas walkers will tend to move their upper bodies more.
Running vs Cycling
Moving on, let’s look at running vs cycling. Again, cycling has its advantages because it’s easier on the knees and sometimes on the back. Both exercises will help to improve your cardiovascular and respiratory health, and you’ll build awesome muscles in your legs with either activity.
But what about those calories? Well, that’s where it gets tricky. No matter at what speed you run, you’re always going to burn 112 calories per mile. Cycling is different. Wind resistance and speed do impact the number of calories you’ll burn.
A cyclist travelling at 10 miles per hour will burn a total of 26 calories per mile. A 15-mph pace will net 31 calories burned. And an ultra-fast 30 miles per hour will burn 59 calories per hour for the average cyclist.
If you do the math, that means that even a cyclist who pedals along at 30 miles per hour will need to travel 1.9 times the distance of the runner, just to burn the same number of calories.
Another factor in the number of calories burned by running vs cycling is that runners will be supporting their own body weight, and using their muscles to propel them forward. Cyclists enlist the help of a machine to do this.
Once again, a running vs cycling faceoff leaves running the clear winner.
Running vs Swimming
Alright, you triathletes. Running vs swimming is another question we’ve gotten from you. First of all, though, we need to extoll the virtues of swimming.
Swimming is an awesome exercise, all around. It’s low impact, it’s great for everyone from 1 to 101, and it truly offers a full body workout. Head to toe. Even dog paddling will burn some calories, and it’s a damn fine way to cool off in the summer. If you’ve got any concerns about your joint health, talk to your doc about adding swimming to your exercise routine. You can thank us later. We prefer Amazon gift cards.
Now, what about the calories? You already know that running will burn 11.6 calories per minute. Swimming, however, will burn 550 calories per hour. That’s just over 9 calories per hour.
The winner? Once again, running. So if your joints are healthy and you can swing it, opt for the trail instead of the pool. You can always dive in when you’re done breaking a sweat.
Running vs Lifting
Every been to a gym? Then you’ve heard the argument before. Cardio queens and weight stack kings will be heard debating the merits of running vs lifting. You’ve listened to a hundred different opinions, so which is correct? Let’s solve the running vs lifting debate once and for all.
Running, as you now well know, burns 700 calories per hour. A typical person who weighs 180 pounds will burn a mere 281 calories per hour while lifting weights. Running’s the clear winner, right?
Kind of. Weight lifting is better than running at adding lean muscle mass to your body. And lean muscle mass is more effective at burning calories in your body throughout the day. So while you’ll burn more calories running for an hour than you will lifting, lifting will have quicker long term effects.
Weight lifting will help to boost your metabolism, so it’s popularly argued that it’s better for weight loss. However, we feel that running vs lifting doesn’t have to be an argument. Instead, why not do both weights and cardio at the gym? Can’t we all just get along?
Running vs Biking in the Gym
Not everyone can get out and about, particularly in the cold winter or hot summer months. So if you’re confined to the cardio theater in the gym, you’ve got a choice to make: running vs biking. There’s a treadmill to your left and a recumbent or exercise bikes (see Indoor Training Bikes) to your right – which should you choose?
The treadmill. Always the treadmill. A recumbent bike, at a healthy 5.5 miles per hour, will net you about a 3.3 calorie per minute loss. A stationery bike will burn about 5 per minute. The treadmill will burn just slightly less than trail or road running; you can expect to see about a 680 calorie per hour loss.
To make a long story short, unless you’ve got health or environmental factors preventing you from doing so, always choose to run. You’ll burn the most calories and enjoy improved heart and respiratory health.
Plus, runners get to put those cool 26.2 stickers on the backs of their cars.