Science confirms it: cycling is better than running

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Science confirms it: cycling is better than running. But you already knew that right?

A new study shows that cycling is easier on your body than running and recommends bike riding as a better option for beginners as a way to get fit.

The study, conducted at Appalachian State University, analysed blood samples from cyclists and runners aged from 19 to 45 who regularly compete in races. The athletes exercised for 2.5 hours per day for three days in the lab at 70% VO2max. Their blood was then taken after one, 14 and 38 hours to determine that the runners were in a significantly worse state.

Research carried out by Appalachian State University’s (ASU) Human Performance Laboratory (HPL) showed that long-distance runners experienced more muscle damage, soreness and inflammation than cyclists after a period of intense workouts.

In the study, non-smoking, 19 to 45 year-old, long-distance runners and cyclists who regularly competed in races worked out for 2.5 hours per day for three days. Blood samples were taken pre-exercise and at one, 14 and 38 hour intervals after the three days of exercise. The results conclusively showed that runners had greater muscle damage, inflammation and soreness compared to the cyclists.

Principle Investigator, Professor David Nieman, said the results showed that cycling allows the body to exercise for longer because it causes less damage than its impact-heavy counterpart.

“Runners just can’t put in the same volume of exercise as cyclists without experiencing more inflammation, soreness and muscle damage.

“Long-distance runners are encouraged to vary their training schedules, mixing higher and lower exercise workloads, and to include other training modalities like swimming or cycling to maintain the highest level of performance,” said Professor Nieman.

Nieman went on to recommend cycling over running for beginners as a way to get fit:

“It is going to be a lot easier on the muscles."

For those with a knowledge of biochemistry, you can read the actual science bits here.


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