Chris Freitag

September 6, 2021

Walking vs Cycling

I go for a walk every day. Part of my goal when I go on walks is to try to increase the amount I run so that my heart rate will go up. I also use the hills in my neighborhood so that I’m going up the long hills instead of down them.

While on my walk this morning I was going up a particularly difficult hill and it got me thinking that even though it may seem like walking isn’t very hard it must be as good if not better than cycling because with a bike you can coast for such long distances without putting in any effort and with walking you have to continue to move or you literally stop. It made me wonder enough that when I got home I decided to hop on my bike and do the exact same route.

Fortunately I needed to put my seat down a little bit and fill my tires and that got my heart rate down from my walk so that my bike ride would be similar to my walk in almost every way. And here are the results.

Walking Stats
Walk Stats.png

Walk HR.png

Walk HRR.png

Cycling Stats
Bike Stats.png

Bike HR.png

Bike HRR.png

My Takeaway
Clearly cycling was a much more intense exercise that required a lot more effort. Yes I went the same distance much faster and therefore didn’t burn as many calories, but that’s not what I was measuring. I was looking for effort because I’m trying to make the most of my exercise. I’m trying to average 130-140bpm and I wasn’t achieving that on my walks. Plus, I think that the added benefit from the push/rest nature of cycling is more like interval training which I’ve read really works

One other note I found interesting from this data, my heart rate monitor on my Apple Watch seemed to stay connected to me much better during my bike ride than my walk. I wonder why, I didn’t change watch bands or anything. But you can see the dark intervals of time during my walk where the monitor wasn’t receiving any information. It’s almost as if the higher intensity of the bike ride made it easier for the sensor to read. 

So I guess my daily walk is going to become my daily bike ride. Now I just need to find about 4 or 5 more km on safe roads so I can get a full 30 minutes of exercise.