A Fresh Spin on Cycling for Exercise

I’ve been an avid runner for more than half my life but I’ll admit that it’s taken a bit of a backseat since I purchased my first hybrid bike and started an outdoor cycling regimen.

I initially set out to buy a simple road bike for family rides with my husband and son. But, after test riding numerous brands and models, I decided to commit to purchasing a long-lasting, high-quality bike that’s versatile enough for fitness cycling, charity rides, and general commuting.

I ultimately chose the Trek Verve 4, which is indeed the perfect balance of utility, comfort, and speed. Unbeknownst to me, this purchase actually signaled the beginning of a beautiful friendship between me, the bike, and, surprisingly, the environment.

Cycling Isn’t the Same as Running

While running and cycling are both excellent forms of cardiovascular exercise, mile per mile, they’re not at all created equal.

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Besides the obvious fact that these exercises require different types of movement, the intensity of effort needed, the unique energy costs (per minute and per mile) and, ultimately, the total energy expenditures in calories for each are quite distinct.

For instance, it takes an average of 15-20 miles of continuous cycling for me to burn as many calories as I would during a 6-to-8-mile run.

Not to mention these exercises also train the lower-body joints and muscle groups in completely different ways.

Surprisingly enough, after covering nearly 300 miles of pavement within my first two weeks of regular cycling, I noticed that my subsequent running mileage and resultant calorie outputs were significantly reduced. This could have been largely attributed to the whole body mechanics involved in running (arm swing and core muscle activation) versus cycling.

Nevertheless, my newfound relationship with cycling isn’t at all about its calorie-burning effects or weight loss potential. For me, cycling has become somewhat of a mental exercise.