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  1. #1
    Still can't climb
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    walking vs cycling

    Hi all

    When I first started to lose weight I was walking a lot for exercise. I hadn't been bitten by the cycling bug back then and I couldn't jog due to a knee injury. What I've noticed is that I lost weight much faster by walking than I do by cycling. Also, I didn't have to push myself with walking. Just an easy pace that hardly made me break sweat did the trick. The problem with walking was I got bored with it after a while.

    It got me thinking. Is cycling actually that good for weight loss? On the bike if I go for hours not pushing myself I don't get much of a workout. When I cycle only short distances I don't feel like i've done much good, but easy walking did have a quick result. I went for a long walk yesterday evening (first time since I got bored with it a year ago) and even though I am now quite fit from cycling, I felt so tired after the walk; more tired than I remember getting when my main source of exercise was walking.

    I suspect that cycling's real benefit is not the physical effort but the enjoyment of getting out into new places and new scenery relatively quickly thus we don't get bored with it. There is more incentive to push ourselves to go further and for longer than other forms of exercise because we get to see new scenery. The workout is just the by-product of our trying to explore further quicker.

    Do you enjoy cycling mainly for the workout in the way people enjoy going to a gym or do you simply enjoy cycling for itself.

  2. #2
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    I am different from most. I got into cycling, because I set a goal to do an Olympic distance triathlon in 2008. I can tell you that I wear a heart rate monitor for all of my workouts, except for the pool. When I walk on a treadmill it is at 5.0 miles per hour on a 0 - 5 degree incline and my HRM shows around 90 - 100. If I increase my incline to 5.1- 15.0 degrees of incline, I usually drop my speed to 4.6 -4.8 mph and my HRM will go up to 140 at the full 15 degree incline at 5.0 mph. If I walk with my wife (her pace) my heart rate will not get over 90. When I ride my road bike, I can only get above 120 if I am at a cadence over 100 and my speed over 20 mph, and I don't keep that up very long, because I can't because I am having to turn a lot of corners and this is on city streets, and of course, my thighs are burning also at that point. I also where it when I do my interval training (3 minutes at 7.0 - 7.8 mph) and then 2 minutes at 5.0 mph or when I do my elliptical workouts. When I am at the 7 + mph range, my heart rate will get to 135 - 160 depending upon the speed and incline. During the elliptical, it can get up to 140 bpm, but only at a very high incline and a very high stride per minute rate.

    I have found that my weight loss is not so much of what work out I do, but where my heart rate is, and how good I am doing on my caloric intake. My weight will also change depending upon where I am with my weight lifting and strength training.

    I don't think bicycling is a hard workout for me, because I can't go for long periods of time without having to stop for traffic or corners or whatever. It can be very good exercise, but it will depend upon the rider and how they are using it for fitness. When I ride, I try to keep my cadence above 80, which may mean I have to shift to a different gear and pedal faster to go the speed I need to for the traffic conditions.
    2007 Jamis Ventura Comp
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Caincando1's Avatar
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    I wondering if you saw better weight loose with walking because it was early in the weight loss process. The first pounds are the easiest to lose and they slowly get harder. Plus walking doesn't build muscle like cycling does. The scale isn't everything. You may be replacing fat with muscle there fore it looks like you aren't losing weight as fast. If you crank your bike rides up and get your heart rate up and push yourself you will burn FAR more calories than walking.

  4. #4
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    I started with walking and really got nowhere. I had trouble going too far because my weight would give me back pain issues. When I cycle, and I can much further, longer (time-wise) and I definitely get a better (more aerobic) workout. I've lost more weight with cycling by far. I think because its less impact on your body, it allows you do workout more (longer).

    I'm not knocking walking, but cycling worked much, much better for me.
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  5. #5
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    I think one part of it is that walking, by its nature, forces a minimum level of activity. There is no coasting while walking.

    The bike, OTOH, allows forward progress with very little effort. It's relatively easy to go cruise around on a bike without actually accomplishing anything in the way of fitness. So yeah, I can see how someone could feel they have to "push themselves" to get a workout on the bike.

    Bike racers are some of the fittest creatures on the planet, though, so it isn't as though the bike can't be a good workout. It is what you make of it, and if one is just farting around and smelling the roses, one shouldn't really expect to be dazzled by any incedental fitness gains.

    I'm a mountaineer and a long distance cyclist. I find that the bike results in bigger fitness and weight loss gains than does walking, but then, I spend more time on the bike than on foot. HR for HR, time for time, I would think results would be almost the same.
    Last edited by Six jours; 07-19-07 at 10:37 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member lil brown bat's Avatar
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    Eh. Look. There are just too many variables to really understand why you perceived a difference in effort and results between biking and walking. If someone is somehow time-constrained to where you really could not change your schedule for a longer workout, and they're under the *** of your doctor who's told them to lose x pounds in y weeks Or Else, then it really matters what's most efficient -- and at that point, you really do have to take a scientific approach and make everything apples and apples. Heart rate monitor, measured and timed distance, the whole thing.

    I see a problem, though, with spinning a lot of cycles on the "what's most efficient" question. It's a perennial topic of discussion here, what bike or what method or what zone or what color jersey is going to get you the most "fat-burning" or the most weight loss or whatever. It's all very interesting, but in a sense it strikes me as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, you know? Here's the bottom line:

    If you are a sedentary person and you want to lose weight and become fit, you will have to work.

    It's as simple as that. You will have to work. You will have to sweat and expend effort, and at times it will not be pleasant. It will not feel as good as sitting on the couch eating Cheezy Poofs and watching American Idol. There is no avoiding this. So, in my opinion, it is very very very very very important to get away from the idea that there are easy ways and shortcuts and magic bullets. And why the emphasis on quicker/faster anyway? The reality is that you need to change your lifestyle. You will have to do these things to remain fit for the rest of your life, so what is the hurry? Focusing on the fastest way to get to your goal just feeds into the mentality that once you get there, you can quit doing this onerous stuff. Not good.

  7. #7
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    Cycling is one the most efficient modes of transportation and that is why world wide it is very popular, especailly in developing countries. Sadly when some of these developing countries do get richer people start to drive cars more often and then you get the polution and sedentary lifestyle related health issues With a bicycle would can ride all day long at a reasonable pace and the only thing that starts to realy hurt is you behind, but everyone can find a pace that you can keep up nearly forever.

    One major thing I have noticed is that I have to ride faster and harder as I have become more fit over the last few months riding at least 5 days a week, and a minimum of 50 miles a week, but most are closer to 75. When I started bike communting this spring I would ride at 12 to 13 MPH on average and be breathing hard the whole way. Now I can ride between 17 and 18 MPH average and I still don't breath as hard as I did before. I do this on a Garry Fisher Nirvana with loaded up rear pannier packs filled with at least 15 Lbs of spare gear, food and drinks. I don't mind the extra weight. Recently we've had a stationary front bring in some cooler air and it has been in the mid 70's in the afternoon. I have had some parts of the ride that I am able to maintain 20 to 22 MPH for extended periods of time. This is something that was completely impossible for as little as 2 months ago. How much weight have I lost... I honestly don't know since I don't own a scale and haven't been to the Club to work out as I'd rather go cycling outside. I do know that I now have my belt one notch tighter (about 1"), and my wife commented that my legs are a lot bigger. Now I need to add some workout routine to do work on the core and start building more muscle there. I was doing Pilates during the winter months, but I realy loath driving a car to work so I can drive to the club. The club is a bit too far to ride mostly due to the insanely busy roads near it. I do want to come home alive.

    Happy Riding,
    André

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    "I wondering if you saw better weight loose with walking because it was early in the weight loss process. The first pounds are the easiest to lose and they slowly get harder."

    My first thought!

  9. #9
    Road warrior tzwsp4's Avatar
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    Coasting you are right, that's what I keep telling my girlfriend, it's not excercise, it's fun!!

  10. #10
    Senior Member BeckyW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lil brown bat View Post
    I see a problem, though, with spinning a lot of cycles on the "what's most efficient" question. It's a perennial topic of discussion here, what bike or what method or what zone or what color jersey is going to get you the most "fat-burning" or the most weight loss or whatever. It's all very interesting, but in a sense it strikes me as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, you know?
    You put that so well!

    I personally really like cycling, and tolerate walking. But I can burn WAY more calories on a 1.5 hour walk than I can on a bike ride, simply because I can't ride that long yet! Does that mean I'm going to walk instead of ride? No way - cycling gives me an immediate, visible, positive reason to eat right and exercise regularly, and someday I plan do be doing 100+ mile weeks regularly. But I still do some walking to keep my average calories burned/day up where I want it to be. Besides, they use different muscles, so one would think that doing both would also mean more muscle mass gained overall, long term.
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt

  11. #11
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Whip out them pics Tom.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

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