It turns out cycling may be better for your body than long-distance running.
A new study done at Appalachian State University in North Carolina has found that three days of hard, intense workouts on a bike is easier on the human body than the same, intense amount of workout time spent running.
The study was done on non-smoking, 19- to 45-year-old athletes who regularly raced in running or cycling events. The participants worked out for 2.5 hours each day for three days and had blood samples taken at the beginning of the study and at intervals of one, 14 and 38 hours after the finish of the three days of exercising.
The results determined conclusively that the cyclists experienced less muscle damage, inflammation and soreness than the runners, who had more difficulty recovering after the workouts.
“Runners just can’t put in the same volume of exercise as cyclists without experiencing more inflammation, soreness and muscle damage,” said David Nieman, principal investigator for the research. “Long-distance runners are encouraged to vary their training schedules, mixing higher- and lower-exercise workloads, and to include other training modalities like swimming or cycling to maintain the highest level of performance.”
Notable other findings of the study was that there was no difference between the two different exercises in immune response. Both groups experienced a weaker immune system after the three days of workouts, but there was no notable difference between them.
The researchers suggest that untrained athletes who are interested in getting in shape would be better off to try cycling first, as it will be easier on their bodies.