Spinning Vs Running: Which is Better?

Spinning or running, find out which is better for you, your health, and your fitness goals. Read on to discover which activity comes out on top.  

When it comes to finding the best exercise routine to help you lose weight, improve your fitness, and benefit your health there are many different options that you could choose from.

Treadmill and Exercise Bikes in Fitness Centre

Two of the most popular are running, whether indoors on a treadmill or outside on the street, and spinning (indoor cycling) which often takes place in a gym or specialist studio.

Both forms of exercise can greatly benefit your health and improve your overall fitness helping you to get the results that you want but there are differences between them that could make one exercise better for you than the other.
In this article we’re going to compare them both to find out once and for all, when it comes to Spinning vs. Running, which one is better?

Calorie Burn 

One of the key goals of exercise is to burn calories, which in turn helps with weight management, and both Spinning and Running have very high-calorie burning potential, often beating comparable exercises comfortably.

Popular calorie counting app MyFitnessPal claims that a 155lb person could burn 369 calories in 45 minutes of spinning while that same person could burn 408 calories if running a 12-minute mile.

As good as that is it has also been known for participants to burn anywhere from 6000-1000 calories in an hour of work (for both exercises) especially when weight, effort, and intensity are also taken into account.

Spinning is known for its extreme nature and high-calorie burn with participants often drenched in sweat after only a short space of time. Equally running is just as powerful, especially when sprint or hill work is added to the mix.

The key thing here is both spinning and Running can provide you with a very high-calorie burn from your session so long as you give adequate effort throughout.


There’s no getting away from the fact that running can be extremely difficult for anyone that suffers from ankle, knee, or hip pain as every step will send a wave of force through the body.

Running on a treadmill can help to ease the pressure as the belt is softer than concrete and picking up a few running aides such as better shoes and insoles can also help, but for the most part, if you struggle with joint pain, running can be extremely difficult.

Spinning, on the other hand, doesn’t put pressure on your joints and for many people, especially those that are new to exercise or who are revering from injury, spinning can be the better option.

It is however worth noting that if you don’t set up your bike correctly, you could impact your body, especially the lower back, as you complete a session with unfavorable posture and positioning.

Build Muscle

Building muscle is an important part of an exercise routine and you should do some sort of resistance training in your weekly routine.

Spinning can help you to build muscle. You can increase the resistance and apply a lot of stress to specific areas, greatly impacting the muscles in the body and it’s not uncommon for regular spinners to have well-defined quadriceps and calf muscles as a result of their workouts.

Running doesn’t have the same impact. You can add hills or an incline to your routine which can put greater stress on the muscles during the session but due to the ability to add more resistance to the exercise bike, spinning has the advantage here.

If you already include regular resistance training as part of your routine then this may not be a huge draw for you but if you struggle with resistance workouts, then you could benefit from spinning. 

Cardiovascular Ability

Spinning and running are both cardio exercises so you’re guaranteed to see improvements to your cardiovascular ability; however, when looking for which one is best, it is down to your personal preference. Spinning is very intense and a standard routine will see you going through sprints, hill climbs, and seated sprints to test your full cardio ability and provide you with a real challenge.

However, with running, you can create your routine and add your preferred level of challenge. Whether it’s steady-state cardio for a set time, hill sprints, intervals, or pace work, you can build the type of cardiovascular challenge that you want.

The benefits are great with both exercises here so the key is to pick the activity that you enjoy more as there isn’t a clear winner.

Fun Factor 

A common complaint of running on a treadmill is just how boring it is, whereas spinning is known for interactive sessions with an exciting playlist to go with it.

The general evidence here does point to spinning being much more fun, especially if you have a good instructor who mirrors the music to the routine and cultivates a strong group environment. There are also the added social benefits of working out with others that you regularly see before, during, and after a session, however before making a decision it’d be wise to think about what you prefer.

Although you can join a running group and enjoy some of the same social benefits, running is generally a more solitary exercise, but that’s fine if you enjoy that. Running could give you a great opportunity to clear your mind, free yourself of your worries and just escape from everything around you for 30-60 minutes which is fun for some people. Spinning has a big emphasis on group interaction and group enjoyment, but it does depend on your personal preference here as to which you find more enjoyable.

Final Thoughts

As you take a closer look it’s clear why both spinning and running are so popular. There’s great calorie-burning potential, you can get fantastic results, and it should lead to improved levels of fitness.

It’s what we’re all looking for when it comes to picking in an exercise routine, however, when deciding which one is best for you, it can become a little more difficult.

If you have any type of joint pain or injuries that require you to opt for low-impact exercise then spinning is the right exercise for you. Even if you prefer running, it may be better to allow yourself the chance to heal and recover before you lace your sneakers back up.

If you don’t have any reason to favor a low-impact exercise then you won't go wrong with either exercise and our advice here would be to incorporate both into your routine.

The best type of training program should include cardio, resistance training, and mobility/stretch work, so by making running and spinning (and adding in some resistance work elsewhere) into your weekly routine, you can get the best out of both worlds and begin to enjoy the benefits of all types of activity.

There is nothing that says you must only pick one type of exercise and with the benefits of spinning and running being so high, it’s clear that the best option involves a combination of them both to truly give you the workout experience that you need.

Leave a Comment: