When it comes to your workout routine, you may be considering various ways to get active. Sticking to the same old workout can get a little stale after all. So, it may be helpful to know, especially if you’re an avid runner/jogger, how different exercises stack up against one another, like running vs. biking or running vs. walking.
“Does running or biking burn more calories?” “Is walking as effective as jogging?” or “Is swimming more intense than running?”
could be just a few questions on your mind.
There are some key differences between running and other popular cardio workouts, but there are also some similarities to consider! The bottom line will, however, remain that any time you feel the need to get up and move, anything you feel comfortable with is what you should do.
What muscles do we work while running?
The main groups include our quadriceps (thighs), the calves, the core (stomach and hips), the glutes, and the hamstrings (back of legs).
About how many calories do we burn jogging?
This statistic will depend on you: your metabolism, your diet, your sleep patterns, your current weight, and other factors. However, basic estimates are made for how many calories we burn per hour while running- whether on the treadmill, outside or in a marathon.
Adults who are neither overweight nor underweight for their age can expect to burn about 200-600 per 30 minutes (insider.com). Try different terrain or elevations if you want to increase your calorie burn on your runs.
Running vs. Other Cardio
Running Vs. Biking
What is it?
Biking comes in many forms: spin class, city/sidewalk cycling, mountain biking, e-biking, and fat biking. Spin or racing on city streets is usually the most intense forms, while mountain biking is the most thrilling form.
After a run, you may feel soreness in your legs, core, arms, and upper back. But after a bike ride, you are more likely to feel the burn in mostly your lower body. Biking is a great calve, thigh, hip, and glute workout and is a bit easier on your ankles than running.
Biking equals equipment, and therefore money, as well as a learned skill. And the more serious you get about biking, the more you’re likely to spend. But basic cycling, and the new bike, can cost about the same as a premium pair of running shoes, so how much you invest depends on your commitment and skill levels for either sport.
Both cycling and running are heart-healthy exercises, but as cycling is a less-intense sport most of the time, it is easier on your body and will burn fewer calories.
Average Calories burned while cycling: according to Harvard Health, “a 155-pound person can expect to burn about 288 calories per 30-minute session while running at 5 mph and cycling at 12 mph” (nike.com).
You can track many of these cycling stats with the right smartwatch; view our top smartwatches for cycling here!
Running Vs. Walking
What is it?
We get in walking workouts when we don’t even realize it: long periods of shopping or sightseeing, while on vacation, and more. But you can intentionally set out on the trails and paths and keep things slow.
The advantage of running compared to walking is that you will cover more ground faster while running and complete your distance, weight-loss, or calorie goals faster than you would be walking. This also means that running is more work than walking. Running works your heart muscles more, your leg muscles harder than walking, and more groups of muscles overall. But is running better than walking for you specifically?
With less pressure and strain on your joints, some may find a brisk walk to be far more enjoyable than a sweaty run. Running can also be risky for those with heart conditions. So, if you suffer from chronic illness, injury, disease, or muscle and joint pain, walking may be a more suitable workout choice.
comparable to running
While running burns more calories and works your body faster and harder than walking, taking a long stroll is still an excellent way to move your body and clear your mind.
Average calories burned while walking: 65-100
Running vs. HIIT
What is HIIT?
High-Intensity Interval Training is a newer exercise trend/method. And it will Hiit you hard. It is an umbrella term for workout routines involving short periods of intense exercises broken up with short recovery periods. You alternate between the two workout modes for a recommended 20-minutes or so.
While we know which muscle groups you’ll work on a run, it is hard to say which muscle groups you’ll work during HIIT. But it is likely to be more than you would running. HIIT is often a full-body high-intensity workout that combines cardiovascular, strength, and resistance training.
You may need to purchase passes or admission to participate, or you can find them online for virtual classes. Many smartwatches also offer HIIT workouts you can do from your phone or watch. When you compare running with HIIT training, running is much more accessible.
Because of these parts, HIIT will likely burn more calories in a shorter time than running (PubMed). However, if you’re looking to burn belly fat on top of calories, you can do so with running and HIIT (nike.com).
Average calories burned during HIIT workouts: 230-400
Running Vs. Swimming
What is it?
Swimming as a workout often looks like laps in a pool. Many lucky ones have access to natural swimming areas or pools in their homes. There are several forms in terms of the stroke you choose.
There are a lot of muscle groups that you’ll use for both a swim and a run. However, you use more muscles overall while swimming. Swimming works your body from neck muscles to feet, ankles, and toes. While running may work these areas in a small way, swimming is almost guaranteed to do so.
It may not always be as easy to go swimming as to run, especially if you live in a climate where you get winter cold. In these cases, you’ll need indoor pools, too. Swimming also takes learning and practice and does not come as naturally as running.
Comparable to running.
You can track several swimming stats with the right smartwatch and see exactly how many calories you burned, the time between strokes, your heart rate, and more. View our top picks for swimming watches in 2022.
It seems that if a sport burns fewer calories and works for fewer muscle groups, the workout will be easier on other parts of your body, like joints and bones. However, even those workouts, like cycling or swimming, can be excellent for muscle building. However, cardio workouts like HIIT are simply way more intense than a jog or treadmill workout.
All cardio workouts are by nature a good thing for your heart health, but they all require you to know your limitations: How long can you run, swim, or bike? How intense can you make your HIIT training? What sort of hills can you tackle on your bike or feet? Or what sort of speeds can you reach?
On average, the calories burned for cardio workouts, including simple walks, are all within the same ballpark. If you want to increase the burn, you can always intensify and personalize any of these activities.
Most experts agree that talking to your doctor before starting a new workout regimen is a good idea that can ensure your safety.
What’s your favorite cardio and why? Let us know in the comments.
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Bernadette has a bachelor’s degree in Communications from MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (where she lives). She has a passion for writing and we like her contribution and style to our blog. Bernadette loves the outdoors and things like hiking, camping, and biking. Wishing she could travel more.
Bernadette is an editor, writer and proofreader for Superwatches. Currently lives in Alberta Canada.