Is Cycling or Running Harder on Your Body?

by | 7 May 2021 | cycling, running

All around the world, people enjoy running and cycling as both a hobby and a form of aerobic exercise. Nevertheless, these sports can lead to injuries due to the strain they put on the body. 


At least half of regular runners get hurt every year. Sometimes these injuries are caused by falls or trauma, but most often, they result from overtraining. 


Meanwhile, cyclists frequently report pain in various parts of their body. The most common is neck pain, with 48 per cent of cyclists experiencing this discomfort. 


Is cycling or running harder on your body? This article will analyse the risk of injury in each sport and help you decide which one has less chance of causing you harm. 


Running Effects on Body

Running is a repetitive exercise that requires you to work against gravity with every step. If you are an avid runner, it is only natural that you get injured from time to time. 


Some of the most common injuries caused by endurance running include: 


  • Runner’s knee (pain around the kneecap)
  • Shin Splints (inflammation around the shins)
  • ITB syndrome (pain in the hip or outside of the knee)
  • Achilles tendonitis (overuse of the tendon that runs connects your calf muscle to your heel)
  • Plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the bottom of your foot)
  • Stress fractures (small cracks in the bone due to overuse)


You should avoid exacerbating any minor injuries by resting, applying ice, and taking pain medication if necessary. Even after recovering, there are specific steps you can take to prevent injuries. 


First of all, you should purchase good quality running shoes that fit your feet properly. Also, remember to replace them every 500-800 kilometres.


If you are just starting to run long distances, increase your mileage gradually and avoid running when you are sore. Doing so will help you avoid overtraining.


Cycling Effects on Body

Unlike running, cycling is not a weight-bearing exercise. Nevertheless, cycling still causes frequent injuries and pain.


One reason is that endurance cycling leads to muscle imbalance. It causes a rounded-forward posture, stiff upper back muscles, and tight hip flexors. 


As with running, cycling requires repetitive motion. This monotonous movement can lead to overuse injuries in the knees and hips.


The most common cycling injuries include pain in the knees, hips, neck, back, wrists, and forearms. At times, cyclists also experience numbness or pain in the genitals, buttocks, or feet. 


If you have pre-existing injuries, it’s best to consult your doctor before you begin cycling. They can determine the risk and what precautions are needed.


Is Cycling or Running Harder on Your Body?

With the proper precautions, both running and cycling can be beneficial to your health. Yet, cycling is considered gentler on the body unless you have experienced previous injuries or have trouble keeping your balance. 


No matter which you choose to pursue, start slowly and gradually increase your endurance. Doing so will reduce your risk for injury and allow you to enjoy your new hobby to the full.


What do you think? Is cycling or running harder on your body? Let us know in the comments below! 


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