Spinning vs Running – Which Workout Is Better For You?

Spinning vs Running

It is common knowledge that cardio workouts are excellent for your health, from helping to improve your heart health to your mental health.

Knowing this, often when people are considering cardio workouts, it comes down to choosing between spinning and running, as these two types of aerobic workouts are generally considered the best.

If you aren’t sure whether you should be committing to spinning or running, there are several things you should consider to help you decide.

Does Spinning Or Running Burn More Calories

One of the main factors that people look for when it comes to exercise is determining how many calories does the exercise burn, as the calories burned is a good baseline measurement for how much you have exerted yourself.

While there are many factors which can affect your calorie burn such as your weight, age, height, and more, you can use a calorie burn calculator to help you gain an estimation whether spinning or running will help you burn more calories.

For example, Take a 30-year-old man who is 5’9” and weighs 190 lbs. According to the calorie burn calculator, a 3-mile run that took 35 minutes to complete (11-12 minutes/mile) will burn our example man 494 calories.

But, if that same man was to choose to do the same workout of 3 miles for a duration of 35 minutes, he will only burn 227 calories. This calorie burn gap can be attributed to the demands that running makes on a person vs the demands of spinning.

  • Spinning, which is done indoors on a stationary bike, will primarily engage your lower body.
  • The resistance taken into account by the calculator is just your weight. If you crank up the resistance on your spin bike, you can likely burn more calories than were factored in by the calculator.
  • Running, whether on a treadmill or outside, engages your entire body, as you have to carry yourself throughout the workout. With spinning, you are seated for at least part of your workout.
  • Calorie burn calculators often have no way to measure if you have added something to increase your activity, such as using dumbbells to add to your spin workout or run intervals during your run.

As you can see, there are many ways you can add exertion to your workout which can help decrease the calorie burn gap between spinning and running.

However, how many calories each exercise will burn you is not the only factor in determining which workout is better for you.

Runner Woman

Physical Considerations Of Running vs Spinning

Your physical condition can affect whether running or spinning is better for you. A couple of the things to consider are:

  • Do You Have Joint Issues?

It’s no secret that running can be tough on your joints, bones, and ligaments, especially when running outside on asphalt or concrete. If you have joint issues or sensitivities, spinning is a low-impact cardio workout which can still significantly improve heart health.

However, if you are more interested in running than spinning, you may be able to still enjoy running by checking out some of the best treadmills, as they often have superior deck cushioning for shock absorption.

  • Do You Experience Asthma?

Whether you have exercise-induced asthma or normally experience asthma, it is likely that even jogging will trigger it faster than engaging in a moderately-intense spin workout.

If you do have asthma, be sure to talk to your doctor before starting a new workout course and keep your inhaler handy just in case.

For those who have medical conditions, whether it be limited mobility or heart problems, it is critical that you work with your doctor before you start on any new course of exercise.

That way, you remain as you embark on your health and fitness journey.

What Areas Of The Body Does Spinning Vs Running Target

Both running and spinning are primarily lower body targeting endurance sports. But they emphasize different areas of the lower body as well as other areas.

Women spinning bike

  • Endurance running builds lean muscle and core strength

You can tell who is a regular long distance runner fairly easily. They all seem to have a long, lean look. This appearance is due to how running targets your muscles.

With endurance running, your muscle fibers are engaged in a constant, forceful pushing motion. As there isn’t much explosive power usually in long-distance running, the force is equally distributed throughout the legs for lean muscle building.

Also, as the pelvis is the linchpin for correct running motion, running also targets the lower core muscles as you run.

  • Spinning builds stronger, well-muscled legs

Cyclists and spinners often have thicker thighs and highly defined calves. This muscle tone is due to the explosive motion involved with spinning.

Instead of steady motion like with running, spinning has you putting most of your force in the downward pedal motion as well as the calf extension as you move through revolutions.

So, depending on which type of muscle tone appeals more to you, it may make sense to focus on that type of exercise.
However, the one area where both of these types of exercise fall a bit short is with your upper body.

Running engages your arms somewhat since you need good upper body form to encourage better respiration, but spinning often consists of you maintaining a static forward posture.

To add more upper body targeting, invest in some light dumbbells weights. When it comes to endurance exercise like spinning and running, you don’t need more than 2-3 lbs to help engage your arms more and help sculpt them.

Opt To Cross-Train To Include Both Styles Of Exercise

Lastly, you don’t have to decide between spinning and running! No matter which one you choose as your main activity, you can benefit from engaging in the other 1-2 times a week.

As running and spinning engage your muscles differently, it can be very helpful to have both built into any workout regime. Whether you choose spinning or running, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to commit to regularly working out.

If you find that you don’t actually enjoy the activity you initially chose, it is never too late to make the switch. The important thing is that you continue to press forward and reach your health and fitness goals.

Kevin JonesAuthor Bio: Kevin Jones
Kevin Jones has mastered a busy lifestyle with work and fitness combined with family life. He writes offering solutions for personal fitness and time management as well as keeping families fit together by utilizing activities and diet. You can read more of Kevin’s writings by connecting with him online; LinkedInTwitter

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