How Does Riding an E-bike Compare to Running?

Last Updated on August 18, 2022 by Igor Karni

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If you are in dilemma, whether e-cycling is good for you or running is a better bet, then, fortunately, you are in the right place. Here, in this article, we shall be comparing e-cycling with running. 

Both running and e-cycling are among the best forms of exercise and they have benefited a lot of people of different age groups having different physical conditions.

So as regards which is better among e-cycling and running, the answer is “it depends on what you want from this exercise and where you want to go”.

What do you want for it (user-specific)? When we talk from the point of view of a user, we mean to ask what you want from the exercise. Do you want weight loss, or you would like to have toned leg muscles, stamina building, better interaction among peers, etc.?

Where do you want to go (purpose specific)? When we talk from the point of view of the purpose, we mean to ask where you would like to go. Do you want to go to school, college, or commute to work? These are the place where “punctuality” is important and does e-biking justifies the same. 

A thought can also be spared to see if a more fast means of movement would have been a better deal.

Read also: How does riding an e-bike compare to walking? And, How does riding an e-bike compare to running?

Going back to basics with riding an e-bike vs running

How we define running and riding an e-bike:

RUNNING: Running technically involves jumping from foot to foot to propel oneself forward.

Running is mostly done by young to middle age people who are generally not suffering from bodily deformities. Runners are generally fitness freaks who love to develop core strength. A militaristic lean and tough from the inside body is a result of that amazing “footwork”.

People practice running for general fitness, weight loss, youngsters do it for school, college, and university competitions. People looking for employment in armed forces and police also do a lot of running as it is a part of “Physical Efficiency and Endurance Tests”.

E-CYCLING: It is motor-assisted cycling, with the advantage of adjusting the motor assistance according to will, requirement, and comfort. E-bikes employ electricity-powered motors that generally give a rotating torque of 50-newton meters.

This torque is extremely useful when you start riding an e-bike (at an initial stage), or when you have to ride uphill. Thus e-cycling is well suited for people who have just started with their fitness regime. Thus cycling with e-bikes helps to prevent excess initial fatigue due to physical activity and thus keeps riders happy, motivated, and goal-oriented. 

Read also: Can e-bikes help go up steep hills? And, How to switch electric assistance levels on an e-bike?

It also caters well to those with specific physical ailments related to heart, blood pressure, weight issues, arthritis due to age factors and knee problems, etc.

Doctors highly recommend simple and moderate exercise for people suffering from these ailments. In these types of cases e-cycling rules.

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Comparing e-cycling and running

Here is a set of criteria we will look at:

  1. How many calories are burnt in these two exercises?
  2. Which set of muscles are more involved in which exercise: cycling and running.
  3. Running and e-cycling belong to which genre: aerobics or cardio.
  4. Any secretion of hormones?
  5. Which type of exercise is to be done by which category of people? Any special concerns for people with special needs?

Let’s dive right in!

E-cycling vs running – calories burnt 

A lot of studies show that a person of average weight burns about an impressive 398 calories in an hour of running (jogging). That goes up slightly if a person weighs more or if the runner is a bit less efficient. In both scenarios, a runner requires extra calories to be burnt for covering the same distance.

Did you know that? The amount of calories a person burns per mile doesn’t change fundamentally, whether running fast or slow, but the amount of calories burnt in the aftermath does change.

As a matter of fact, running has not been always as easy as it seems. The effect of gravity is less forgiving. Those feet have to absorb a lot of impact making running absolutely a painful task. 

Read also: Are electric bikes good for exercise? And, Can I use an e-bike to get fit or for weight loss?

A study recently conducted has also proved that long-distance runners had substantially more muscle damage (between 133% to 404% more), inflammation levels (up to 256 % higher), and muscle soreness (87 % more) in the following 38 hours recovery period than the cyclists. Sometimes, it is quite difficult for the immune system to handle the muscle damage.

On the other hand, e-biking for 1 hour burns about 300 calories on a level road. If we cycle with more intensity, then an increased number of calories are burnt. Moreover on e-bikes, one can cycle uphill also, as it is motor-assisted. 

The adventurous and satiating effect in e-cycling is unparalleled in the fitness exercise league. Calories burnt when riding uphill are very much comparable with long-distance running.

E-cycling vs running – which muscles are engaged? 

Let’s talk about which set of muscles is more involved and hence more developed in running and cycling.

E-cycling: It predominantly uses leg muscles. Leg muscles get more exercised and thus more developed. During cycling as we ride, we place hands on handlebars during steering. It develops strength in arms as it is a type of resistance training. Some more benefits include better eye movement, better reflex action, and an alert mind. This is also known as a better neuro-system.

Running: Running also helps to build better muscles. Leg muscles get strong and also the torso portion gets strong. Running helps to get a lean and fit body which is tough from the inside. It is due to impact forces on foot by ground.

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Read also: Which muscles work when riding an electric bike? And, How does riding an e-bike change your body shape?

E-cycling vs running – which type of exercise is it? 

Running and e-cycling belong to which genre: aerobics or cardio.

As a matter of fact, both lie in both places. But first, we need to know the difference between aerobics and cardio workout.

Aerobics: These exercises employ large muscles group that lead to weight loss. Aerobics means the body’s ability to use oxygen and caters to the energy requirement, especially during high activity levels such as exercising. 

In aerobic exercises, heartbeats are very high. These wonderful exercises are quite easy to do and one can do aerobics without any special equipment. So there is no need to spend a whopping amount to buy fancy exercising equipment.

Read also: Does riding an e-bike help train strength and endurance? And, Are electric bikes good for cardio exercise?

As aerobics have little to no rest between individual exercises, these exercises boost blood circulation, initiate weight loss by reducing body fat, prevent type II diabetes, and better overall fitness level.

Examples of aerobics exercises: fast walking, jogging, running, cycling, skiing, dancing, hiking, swimming, etc.

CARDIO EXERCISES: Cardio exercise is any exercise that raises the heart rate. Cardio exercise makes our muscles stronger and stronger muscles make for a more efficient and healthy body. A stronger cardiovascular system means more capillaries delivering more oxygen to cells in muscles. This enables cells to burn more fat during both exercises as well as during inactivity.

Cardio exercises use large muscle movement over a substantial period of time keeping the heart rate to at least 50% of its maximum level.

Some well-known examples of cardio workouts include walking, running, cycling (including e-cycling), swimming, rowing, and circuit training, etc. 

Besides making muscles stronger, cardio workout benefits include increased bone density, a stronger heart, lower blood pressure, and cholesterol and less stress. 

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E-cycling vs running – any secretion of hormones?

Yes, in both cases that are running and e-cycling hormones named “Endorphins” are released in the body. Endorphins are also known as “HAPPY-HORMONES”.

These hormones are natural painkillers and mood elevators. Endorphins are structurally similar to the drug “morphine”, and they activate opioid receptors in the brain that help minimize discomfort.

Read also: Top 10 mental benefits of riding an electric bike. And, Can riding an e-bike improve mental health.

E-cycling vs running – better for which category of people? 

Any special concerns for people with special needs.

Running is done primarily by children and young adults who generally are not suffering from any physical ailment. Their bodies are strong enough to bear the impact of running and their muscles are strong enough to rejuvenate themselves quickly. 

On the other hand, e-cycling is done by people of wide age groups. E-cycling can also be done by people with a weak physique or some other bodily ailments (obesity, heart issues, etc.). It is because e-cycling is more encouraging and gentle on the body rather than running.

However, before starting any fitness regime, the advice of a registered medical practitioner is necessary.

Read also: Guidance for riding an e-bike with certain health conditions. And, Most common e-bike riding pains and how to avoid them.

Why e-cycling is worth it

Now that we have compared “running and e-cycling”, we will enlist some reasons as to why e-cycling is uber-cool. Here is what we think.

E-bikes help cover more ground

The best part of e-cycling is that a rider can cover a lot of ground and see some amazing sites in a relatively short interval of time. This is not possible in running. E-bike tours can take people to far-off places (literally hundreds of km), but running on foot is a limited proposition. 

The maximum running which people can do is limited well within the 30 mile / 50 km range (if time constraints are taken into account). Thus e-biking is a great time-saving deal to see some amazing sites in a relatively short period of time.

Read also: How far can e-bikes go? What is e-bike range on a single charge? And, How fast are e-bikes?

E-bikes help spread the message fast and loud

Yes, true indeed. If we sincerely feel for a cause and want to spread a message or make awareness for a particular cause, we can wear a messenger bag and spread the message to far-off places.

E-bikes are good in carrying luggage and cargo 

E-biking is a perfect partner for outings. We can add carrying capacity to our e-bikes while outing. Items such as food, books, and stationery, clothes including groundsheets, and water bottles can be easily carried by e-bikes. This is seriously not possible in running. Just imagine running and carrying your belongings in a bag full on your shoulders. Really difficult to do and manage.

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E-bikes have an edge in reigning hunger

Before going into the complexities of this, we need to know a term named “Ghrelin”. Ghrelin is a circulating hormone produced by “enteroendocrine cells of the gastrointestinal tract, especially the stomach and is often called “Hunger Hormone” because it increases food intake. Blood levels of ghrelin are highest before meals when hungry, returning to lower levels after mealtimes. 

Ghrelin may help prepare for food intake by increasing gastric motility and gastric acid secretion. Ghrelin activates cells in the anterior pituitary gland and hypothalamic arcuate nucleus including neuropeptide “Y” neurons that initiate appetite. It participates in glucose metabolism. 

The word ghrelin has been derived from Proto Indo-European root “ghre” meaning to “grow”. Ghre is a short form for growth hormone-releasing peptide.

Read also: Here is why e-bikes are really cool. And, How to select the best city e-bike (with examples)?

In comparison to appetite-suppressing powers of either an hour of vigorous running or an hour of vigorous cycling, a team of researchers from Britain found (source) that both activities suppressed the hunger hormone nearly equally (for an equal time involved).

But in spite of the fact that both running and e-biking are equal hunger suppressants, e-biking has an edge. The edge is that it is easy to ride an e-bike for an hour than to run “hard” for the same amount of time.

E-cycling amplifies the personal style

In this scenario, e-cycling scores all the goals. Although in the case of running, a user can buy pretty good running shoes, running shorts, etc. But of course, the list is very limited.

In e-biking, we have a plethora of options ranging from bikes, helmets (head-gear), glasses, socks, shoe kits, caps, stem caps, saddlebags, arm warmers, gloves, jackets, vests, and an endless assortment of components.

E-cycling is a great sport in itself that allows the grooming of persona among riders.

Restraining versus sailing downhill

Running downhill is restraining and more controlling. E-cycling down the slope feels like sailing in the air. But of-course rider needs to be more cautious while threading down. Cycling down the slope feels like sailing in the air. The rider must wear a helmet as a safety precaution.

E-Biking is easier for elder ones

Senior citizens who can’t run for fitness due to weakness or any other physical condition can reap the benefits of body movements by assisted cycling through e-bikes. E-biking induces better blood circulation in limbs.

Running, on the other hand, is hard on the body of senior citizens, especially if they are suffering from age-induced arthritis.

Read also: What are the risks of riding an e-bike for a senior rider? And, How to select the right e-bike for a senior rider?

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