Calories burned per minute

I was having a conversation the other day with a friend and we began talking about calories burned during cycling or running/jogging. They brought up that, all things being equal (weight, temperature, elevation, incline) cycling burns fewer calories per minute than jogging.

I had associated heart rate with calorie burn. I aimed to work-out in the same zone for any exercise, but found I preferred cycling more as I had the ability to sustain myself for a longer time at my ideal workout heart rate (150-160).

I found this great calculator that allowed you to enter in your weight and time and get the results for a wide array of activities at various paces. Below is a chart with the findings for 1 minute — multiple times 10 for 10 minutes, 30 for 30 minutes, and so on as you’d like.

Bicycling: 12-13.9 mph – 14
Bicycling: 14-15.9 mph – 18

Running: 5 mph (12 min/mile) – 14
Running: 6 mph (10 min/mile) – 18

Bicycling: 12-13.9 mph – 432
Bicycling: 14-15.9 mph – 540

Running: 5 mph (12 min/mile) – 432
Running: 6 mph (10 min/mile) – 540

So, I ask you, would you rather spend 60 minutes running for a distance of 6 miles, or ride and go 14-15.9 miles? Even if you slowed both down, you could run only 5 miles or ride as many as 12-13.9 miles. Both would burn the same amount of calories. The difference is that cycling provides you with

  • a constant, changing view
  • a cool self-generated breeze
  • the occasional thrill of cruising down a hill at 35+ mph!!
  • not worrying about destroying joints like your knees
  • feeling like a bad-ass during a group ride
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