Sports enthusiasts have many options to lose weight and become stronger. With busy schedules and all kinds of rising and falling trends, people often ask me “Is mountain biking better than running? Do I have to do both? ”Mountain biking and running both have advantages and disadvantages and with both you can achieve your fitness goals. The sport you choose depends on your specific goals and personal preferences.
To give you a better perspective, let’s break down all the differences between running and mountain biking. These comparisons can help you determine which of these sports fits better with your life and personality type.
Mountain biking versus running to lose weight
When most people think of cardio exercises, they imagine running on a treadmill. In my opinion that is as boring as it can be. Weight loss is not a quick solution. It is a journey that requires dedication, time and sustainability.
Your journey to weight loss must be both effective and enjoyable. So what exercise do you choose? Do you prefer mountain biking or running on a treadmill?
In general, running requires more oxygen intake than cycling due to the fact that more muscles move during running. This means that running generally burns more calories than cycling. However, the reason it usually burns more calories is because most people can get their heart rate higher during running than while cycling.
Due to muscle fatigue, many people cannot get their heart rate high enough while cycling to mimic the demands of running. It is for this reason that most VO2 Max tests are completed by running.
For a trained athlete, however, he/ she may be able to get their heart rate at a similar intensity from both running and cycling. For many athletes, the calorie expenditure may be more even. Running on a treadmill and cycling would then burn almost as many calories as they are completed with the same intensity.
That means that, when it comes to weight loss, due to similar calorific expenditure, mountain biking and running are both rather effective, and the choice remains up to your personal preference.
Physical tension between running and mountain biking
This is often one of the biggest decision factors that a person chooses to participate in.
Because running is a supporting sport, it places a greater physical burden on your body. Mountain biking, on the other hand, is not heavy and can provide relief for the injured athlete.
Running is often hard on people’s knees, joints, cartilage and even bones. Stress fractures or arthritis are often barriers to entering the sport. Mountain biking can be a great escape for many of these injuries. In fact, many doctors or physical therapists will prescribe bicycles as rehabilitation for various types of injuries. For example, cycling is one of the few rehabilitation techniques for non-surgical meniscus tears.
Bone Health – Running Can Be Better
Although the weight-bearing nature of running can lead to injury, it also plays a crucial role in bone health. Wolff’s Law states that bones respond to the tensions exerted on them. This means that if you put weight and stress on your bones, your bones will actually build up and become stronger.
Because cycling is not a supporting sport, it does not make the necessary demands on bones to build and strengthen them. If you plan to train exclusively on the bicycle, consider adding a strength or weight training program to place weight on your bones.
Consistently loading your bones and early in life can even help prevent conditions such as osteoporosis.
Strengthening – MTB can have an advantage
Both mountain biking and running on treadmills can build muscle. They even work fairly similar muscles. The biggest difference is that mountain biking will show these muscle changes in particular.
If you are looking for bigger, stronger looking legs, mountain biking should be your favorite sport. Mountain biking is completed with almost 100% concentric contractions. This means that muscles become shorter as they contract and result in larger and sometimes even bulky muscles.
Moreover, mountain biking works on the upper body while you push your bike up and down. Mountain bikers often have larger, stronger arms that you are sure will not be reached by running.
Running will undoubtedly result in strong legs, but the muscles will be much more modest. Runners’ muscles are considered much “slimmer” and are not necessarily something you can show off when you walk down the street.
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