Is Walking Better Exercise Than Bicycling?

Walking and cycling are effective ways of increasing your cardiovascular system if you do them regularly. Both activities can ward off diseases, shed pounds, improve mental outlook and also reduce the likelihood of dying young.

Each has their merits and drawbacks, and which is the best choice for you largely depends upon what you’ll enjoy doing most, the health of your joints and how much weight you’d like to lose.

But the question still burns like the calories they burn. Which of the two is more effective?


Walking is the most common form of exercising everywhere in the world. However, not all people know that it is also calorie burning exercise. Most of the time it is unconsciously done.

If you walk regularly, this can be an effective way to help you maintain a healthy weight, prevent and manage health conditions, strengthen bones and muscle.

Walking is also known to improve moods and manage stress. Personally, when the cloud is heavy, and pressure is too much, I take a stroll. When I get back, I have a whole new perspective on approaching the situation at hand. I am sure you can relate with this

It is easily performed nearly anywhere, requires little equipment and doesn’t pound the joints as hard as running. To gain the best cardiovascular benefits, medical practitioners recommend daily brisk walking for a minimum of 10 minutes at a time and a total of 150 minutes per week


Biking, on the other hand, is low-impact and easy just like walking.

It’s also more fun. Reports rate it as higher regarding calorie burning than brisk walking. The average adult who exercises for one hour by biking at a moderate pace burns 563 calories, more than double what the average person burns by walking briskly for one hour

In addition, biking builds leg strength. The reports that women may have an easier time keeping off weight if they make biking a part of their fitness regimens.

Factors To Consider

With walking there are not many complexities that may cause you to burn fewer calories, however with bicycles; it may cause different results in terms of:

  • Gears your bike have
  • Gear you will be cycling in
  • Whether you are going uphill, downhill?
  • Terrain you are cycling/running on
  • How fast you are going to cycle

All these factors can affect the number of calories you will burn during the whole exercise. However, we shall look at other factors that can be put into consideration when comparing both walking and biking such as

  • Distance
  • Terrain
  • Cardiovascular stress

Distance Covered

Many people make the mistake of comparing the exercises regarding distance, and they often forget that the rider is bound to cover more distance within the same time than the one walking.

Hence with this point of view, this can be deceiving since you can achieve greater distance on a bike with less effort than you can do with a brisk walk. It is, therefore, wise to consider the time taken rather than using the distance.

Studies have proven that bike riding and walking relatively equal. This was arrived at when all other external factors such as terrain, winds and other environmental factors were kept constant.

The same study has refuted this fact have backed cycling as the most effective concerning maximum calorie burning. This is on the condition that the rider continues peddling without coasting


The terrain is one of the factors to consider when determining the difference. When you cycle, you are bound to cover more distance over the same period than walking.

The longer the distance, the more likely you are to encounter different terrains. The more inclines or uphill tasks you face, the more effort you need to continuously move your bicycle. Therefore after considering this, more calories you will likely burn if you peddle continuously on a rough terrain


The higher the number of peddles means that the bike will be on full speed. While speed does not affect in any way the number of calories burnt, continuous peddling which means more speed does affect. So peddle more

With walking, the same benefits are duplicated. More strokes mean more speed and more calories burnt. So keep walking.

Cardiovascular Stress

Fitness experts argue that bike riding on rugged terrain is a better cardiovascular exercise than a brisk walk on a flat terrain

Biking Gears

With biking, it is important you use a normal bicycle without gears, this is of course if you want to burn more. A bike with gears makes the process easier for you and may end up burning less. As for bikes which have gears already, the gear which you feel is the hardest, or the one you struggle a lot with is the most ideal.

The Cons Of Walking

Reports suggest that an average 155-pound adult walking briskly only burns about 267 calories per hour and that may not be enough to maintain a low weight, depending on caloric intake.

You can however by adding hills to your route, and you can increase the intensity and the calorie burn of your walks. This approach, for the same average adult, yields a caloric burn of 422 calories.

A person with joint problems in the ankles or knees may find walking quickly or walking over long distances too difficult to do over a prolonged period.

The Cons of Biking

Despite the fact that biking provides us with many health benefits and fun, it also has some cons too.

  • Bikes are expensive, and they need maintenance
  • Difficult for people with knee problems
  • Bikers must watch for road hazards, traffic and weather conditions, all of which can turn a nice ride into a nasty nightmare.

While walking is the most convenient way, biking is the most efficient. Both ways will sure burn you some calories if you persist on them. So do your math well and resolve whether you want to ride or keep walking.

About the Author Matthew R. Duncan

I am proud to be the go-to guy among my circle for bike advice. I take it personally when someone I know buys a new bike without consulting me first!

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