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The Number of Calories Burned Spinning vs Running

Running workout comparison

Both spinning and running use basically the same major muscle groups (though they are used very differently) and they are both among the most efficient calorie-burning exercises – some would go for a run whenever they can, either outdoors or on a treadmill, while others prefer the special exercise equipment called spinning bike, but no one ever denies that both sports get you to sweat in no time and they are both among the best choices if you want to your muscles to work hard and your body to burn calories lightning-fast.

The Number of Calories Burned Spinning vs Running

Both activities are forms of intensive aerobic exercise that burn lots of calories over short periods of time. Though the number of calories burned varies depending on age, physical fitness and many other aspects even in the case of two people of the same height and the same weight, here are a few figures to give you an idea about what to expect if you choose one of the two sports or the other:

  • ​An adult weighing 155 pounds can lose around 350 calories in 30 minutes spent on a treadmill running at 6mph
  • ​The same person can lose approximately 260 calories during half an hour spent on a stationary bike, pedaling steadily at 5mph, and a surprising 400-600 calories during a half-hour spinning class, riding one of those special spinning bikes.

Understanding What a Calorie Is

Our body needs energy input and it also uses up energy to stay alive – energy that is measured in calories (kcal). To maintain stable body weight, an average man, with a not-too-active lifestyle needs to introduce about 2,500 calories per day with food, while the figure for women is slightly less, around 2,000 calories.

Healthy weight can be preserved by maintaining a balance between the calories introduced and the calories burned – calories intake that is significantly higher than the number of calories burned leads to weigh gain, while a calories deficit, that is, a balance inclining in the other direction leads to weight loss.

Muscle Groups Used in Running

  • ​Quads – the four muscles in the front of your thigh are strengthened very efficiently with running
  • ​Hamstrings – the muscle group opposed to the quads, on the back of the thighs and working in synergy with the quads to add power
  • ​Calves – this muscle group works the hardest, whatever the technique or the environment
  • ​Gluteal muscles – they provide the stability and the strength of the pelvic area,
  • ​Abs and arms.

Muscle Groups Used in Spinning

- The glutes – the muscle group that delivers the power to the thighs to push the pedal

- Quads and hamstrings – important in spinning, too, but not as the principle source of power

- Calves – involved mainly in flexing the joints, not as a source of force

- Abs and arms – they both work slightly less than in the case of running as the body relies on both its muscles and the bike itself for support.

​If you are looking for a spinning bike to get started with you should also take a look at our article on the best spinning bikes.