Author Topic: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour  (Read 540 times)

Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« on: February 19, 2021, 07:42:52 pm »
I looked at my last 2 workouts on my watch
Cycle: total time 1:47, active calories 1,034kcal, total calories 1,211kcal , average HR=137 (dist 40.36km)
Walk: total time 1:27, active calories 528kcal, total calories 674kcal, average HR=106bpm (dist 5.78mi)

This would suggest that cycling is far more efficient in terms of calories burned per hour.
Is this likely to be right?
I must admit this contradicts what I had assumed, because I thought of cycling as a fairly 'efficient' method of travel. Walking, not being a wheeled vehicle, is more inefficient, and thus I'd assumed it burned more calories.

If I have a certain limited time out of the day, say 2 hours, and I want to burn as many calories as possible in that time, am I best off going for a walk, or a bike ride?

If my muscles are fairly used to cycling compared to walking, is that going to mean I burn fewer calories per hour cycling compared to walking?

Is calories burned per hour largely just a function of how elevated the heart rate is?
Or, are there other factors that can increase the amount of calories burned per hour for a given HR? Does cold/hot weather increase calories burned per hour, for the same heart rate, for instance?

I guess the answer for some people the optimum answer for calories per hour efficiency would be 'running': not for me, personally, as I don't want the knee damage. But curious to know how it rates in comparison just out of interest.

It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

Re: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2021, 07:53:58 pm »
Walking, not being a wheeled vehicle, is more inefficient, and thus I'd assumed it burned more calories.
Walking isn't as efficient as cycling, see how many calories you'd burn to walk 40km!
If you want to know which can burn the most calories in an hour, the answer is either.  Walking is the equivalent of gently cycling on the flat at maybe 15kph. If you want to match the bike ride you posted, it's probably jogging, though you might get close with a very brisk walk, or something hilly.

Re: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2021, 08:07:22 pm »
Is calories burned per hour largely just a function of how elevated the heart rate is?
Yes, approximately. Burning calories is a chemical reaction that requires oxygen, to increase calorie burn you need to do something that makes you breathe harder and that generally involves raising your heartrate.

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2021, 08:09:14 pm »
Yes, you need to be thinking about efficiency in terms of energy per km, not per hour.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Re: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2021, 08:09:48 pm »
Is calories burned per hour largely just a function of how elevated the heart rate is?

Your watch is probably estimating calories burned based on exactly that.

Re: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2021, 08:22:06 pm »
You hit the nail on the head with your observation that running probably burns the most calories per hour, for most people. That’s simply because most people run at a higher heart rate than they cycle at. Walking fast enough to raise your heart rate to an average of 137 bpm, like your cycle, would likely be a steady run.

In terms of knee damage, current evidence and thinking is that running is actually protective in the long term (about 30% lower incidence of arthritis and cartledge damage). However, everyone’s experience is individual of course.

Walking and running have similar energy cost per mile (or km!) - usually between 100 and 130 kcals/mile. Cycling lower, but more speed affected (aerodynamics are a tough obstacle) a I usually do around 50 kcals/mile on the bike, but riding faster or slower changes that.

Interestingly, to me at least, is that the marginal physiological efficiency of running is greater than that of cycling - measured as delta power/delta speed trained runners manage about 42% marginal efficiency against about 25% for cyclists.

Mike

Re: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2021, 08:23:32 pm »
Work out the calorie burn of walking 40.36km pro rata and you’ll have your answer.

Re: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2021, 08:24:07 pm »
I guess the answer for some people the optimum answer for calories per hour efficiency would be 'running': not for me, personally, as I don't want the knee damage. But curious to know how it rates in comparison just out of interest.
An approximation: walking is about 1 calorie per kg per mile, running is about 1.5 calorie per kg per mile. Cycling is much lower per mile, but cycling hard for an hour is broadly comparable to running for an hour as you cycle further than you run.

Re: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2021, 08:41:05 pm »
Cycle: total time 1:47, active calories 1,034kcal, total calories 1,211kcal , average HR=137 (dist 40.36km)
As a comparison, I've just looked at my days activity.  I've ridden a similar distance (44km), similar estimated calories (1,300) but I was out for six hours and riding for 3hr20min. in terms of effort, that wasn't substantially different to walking. 

Re: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2021, 09:08:55 pm »
Cycle: total time 1:47, active calories 1,034kcal, total calories 1,211kcal , average HR=137 (dist 40.36km)
As a comparison, I've just looked at my days activity.  I've ridden a similar distance (44km), similar estimated calories (1,300) but I was out for six hours and riding for 3hr20min. in terms of effort, that wasn't substantially different to walking.

What were your HR figures for your ride and when walking?

Re: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2021, 09:18:08 pm »
Is calories burned per hour largely just a function of how elevated the heart rate is?

Your watch is probably estimating calories burned based on exactly that.

I’m sure you’re right. I just wonder how accurate an assumption it is.
For comparison, a squash workout average bpm 159, and 1,028/1,172 in 1:26.
It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

Kim

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Re: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2021, 10:24:08 pm »
Yes, you need to be thinking about efficiency in terms of energy per km, not per hour.

Depends on whether you care about exercise or transport, Shirley?  Obviously cycling will get you somewhere for less energy expenditure, but if the objective is to burn the most calories in an hour, then it's more about what method allows you to work hardest. (Unless you're trying to propel a handcycle with the arms of a stereotypical road cyclist, I'd expect the limiting factor to be cardiovascular for either, so it doesn't really matter, and it comes down to which is more fun or less likely to result in injury or whatever.)
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2021, 11:13:31 pm »
Yes, you need to be thinking about efficiency in terms of energy per km, not per hour.

Depends on whether you care about exercise or transport, Shirley?  Obviously cycling will get you somewhere for less energy expenditure, but if the objective is to burn the most calories in an hour, then it's more about what method allows you to work hardest. (Unless you're trying to propel a handcycle with the arms of a stereotypical road cyclist, I'd expect the limiting factor to be cardiovascular for either, so it doesn't really matter, and it comes down to which is more fun or less likely to result in injury or whatever.)

  Exactly  that. Although, the limiting factor for walking (and even cycling) can’t be cardio vascular, because if i can get to a heart rate of 136 (or 158) why can’t i do that when walking ?  Maybe racewalking technique holds the answer...
It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

Re: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2021, 11:27:52 pm »
Yes, you need to be thinking about efficiency in terms of energy per km, not per hour.

Depends on whether you care about exercise or transport, Shirley?  Obviously cycling will get you somewhere for less energy expenditure, but if the objective is to burn the most calories in an hour, then it's more about what method allows you to work hardest. (Unless you're trying to propel a handcycle with the arms of a stereotypical road cyclist, I'd expect the limiting factor to be cardiovascular for either, so it doesn't really matter, and it comes down to which is more fun or less likely to result in injury or whatever.)

  Exactly  that. Although, the limiting factor for walking (and even cycling) can’t be cardio vascular, because if i can get to a heart rate of 136 (or 158) why can’t i do that when walking ?  Maybe racewalking technique holds the answer...

‘Cause you’ll break into a run;)

Re: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2021, 11:30:06 pm »
Cycle: total time 1:47, active calories 1,034kcal, total calories 1,211kcal , average HR=137 (dist 40.36km)
As a comparison, I've just looked at my days activity.  I've ridden a similar distance (44km), similar estimated calories (1,300) but I was out for six hours and riding for 3hr20min. in terms of effort, that wasn't substantially different to walking.

What were your HR figures for your ride and when walking?
Yes, very similar, 105 - 110 or thereabouts.

Re: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2021, 11:34:41 pm »
  Exactly  that. Although, the limiting factor for walking (and even cycling) can’t be cardio vascular, because if i can get to a heart rate of 136 (or 158) why can’t i do that when walking ?  Maybe racewalking technique holds the answer...
Walking a decent hill can increase my heart rate by 25 - 35.

Re: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2021, 12:44:31 am »
  Exactly  that. Although, the limiting factor for walking (and even cycling) can’t be cardio vascular, because if i can get to a heart rate of 136 (or 158) why can’t i do that when walking ?  Maybe racewalking technique holds the answer...
Walking a decent hill can increase my heart rate by 25 - 35.
Tyre dragging is a training technique. Tyre, rope, harness, pull it along behind you. It makes walking, or running, harder and your heartrate/breathing will increase and you burn more calories.

Re: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2021, 06:12:14 am »
Heart rate is a good measure of calories burned, though will vary with fitness as your blood volume per heart beat increases. Temperature regulation also affects heart rate (for example to pump more blood to the skin capillaries to aid cooling) so it is not fixed but a good measure.

In terms of efficiency as has been mentioned calories per km is generally what is meant.

Burning as many calories per hour as possible is a different question. If it is for the purpose of losing weight, low intensity exercise for longer duration will be metabolising fat so might be a better option than trying to burn the same number of calories in a shorter time.

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Cycling vs walking efficiency calories per hour
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2021, 10:41:49 am »
Yes, you need to be thinking about efficiency in terms of energy per km, not per hour.

Depends on whether you care about exercise or transport, Shirley? 

Yes, but it was not defined.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.