Is Hiking or Biking Better?


As far as outdoor activities go, hiking and biking are some of the most popular ways to exercise outdoors. But which one is better? Is hiking or biking better? Well, that typically depends on what you are aiming for when you choose to exercise.

Both biking and hiking have their pros and cons, so it’s a matter of weighing the differences and seeing which activity works best for you.

You may even find that both activities will give you what you’re looking for!

The Pros of Hiking

There are many reasons to go hiking. Apart from being great for your health, hiking is also a therapeutic tool for many people.

When it comes to hiking, some pros are both health-related and not health-related.

#1 Hiking Is Free

This pro is one of the most popular reasons for hiking. Hiking is accessible to almost everyone and very easy to do.

Unlike biking, you won’t need to spend money on getting a bike to exercise outdoors. While there are boots and forms of gear that are dedicated to hiking, you don’t necessarily need them to go hiking.

All you need is a solid pair of shoes that can handle walking for long periods of time. These shoes can be anywhere from cheap sneakers to sturdy boots. Either way, you most likely have a pair of shoes that you use every day. 

#2 Hiking Is Less Risky 

When you are hiking, you are less likely to be exposed to crashing into anything and causing injury.

That isn’t to say that hiking has no risks, but you won’t have to wear a helmet or worry about totaling your bike when accidentally a bump at fifteen miles an hour.

#3 Hiking Is Easier On Your Joints

Hiking is also easy on the joints, making the activity a good option for those suffering from issues related to arthritis and other forms of chronic pain. 

While biking can also be a good form of exercise for those with joint pains, it is easier to develop bad biking habits that can cause damage to the knees and ankles.

#4 Hiking Is Good Cardio

Hiking is a great form of cardio. Whether you are walking trails or climbing up hills, hiking gets your blood pumping and gets your heart rate up.

If you are someone who is counting miles while they exercise, you will be able to burn more calories during a two-mile hike than you would during a two-mile biking trip.

The Cons of Hiking

While there are many pros to hiking, there are a couple of downsides to hiking that make some people prefer biking. 

#1 It’s Easier to Get Lost

If you are a person who likes to hike in the woods, be aware that it is easier to get lost or stranded while traveling on foot than on a bike.

If you are riding a bike, even if you are in grassy terrain with no trail, you will be able to move through your surroundings faster. Being able to move quickly is key, as you will want to observe your surroundings when there is still daylight out. 

Even if you have access to a map or GPS, you run the risk of succumbing to exhaustion or confusion on foot. Make sure to always bring proper food and hydration, and have a good idea of your location when hiking in heavily wooded areas.

#2 It’s Harder to Cover Ground While Hiking

Exploration is harder to achieve while on foot, as you will move much more slowly through the area you are exploring.

You will also have to work harder and longer in order to hit a certain number of miles than you would if you were biking.

However, some people also see this as a pro, as it causes them to burn more calories.

The Pros of Biking

Much like hiking, there are a lot of pros that come along with biking. Biking, in general, tends to be more fast-paced. Biking is a great way to exercise for athletic-minded people and a great way to bond outdoors for family-oriented people. 

#1 Biking Doubles as Transportation

One of the biggest reasons people favor biking is that biking is also a useful transportation method. 

Besides biking a simple way of traveling, you are also working out while reducing your carbon footprint every time you ride. These reasons alone are why many people opt out of driving and invest in a bike instead. 

Biking is also much faster than traveling on foot, so it’s a win-win situation for those worried about their carbon footprint.

#2 Biking Can Be Done in a Variety of Ways

There are a number of ways that you can include biking into your exercise routine.

There is standard biking, which is simply biking a mountain bike or a touring bike wherever your bike can handle it. 

There are also stationary bikes, which allow you to bike inside your home by keeping you in one spot. Many people use stationary bikes to work out their legs as part of a home workout, but it doesn’t give you the same exposure to the outdoors like mountain biking

#3 Biking Is Great for Your Health

Another big reason that people enjoy biking is that biking can provide many great health benefits

Biking can decrease stress in both the mind and the body. Those who bike are more likely to have increased muscle and joint strength, as well as stronger bones. 

People can also use biking as a form of weight loss, as biking is one of the easiest forms of cardiovascular exercise available.

The Cons of Biking

There are not a lot of negatives when it comes to biking, but there are still some that may give people some reservations.

#1 Bikes Can Be Expensive

Those interested in making biking a part of their life will most likely need to invest some money into a bike. 

Bicycles can start out relatively cheap, but excellent bikes can go up to thousands of dollars. 

Apart from the bike itself, you will also need to buy biking gear. This gear can include helmets, lights for the bike, knee pads, elbow pads, and more. 

#2 Biking Can Be Risky

Most people can find it easy to ride a bike, but it is still important to practice good safety habits while biking.

When it comes to biking, you are at more of a risk of crashing into something or someone than you would be with hiking.

Even if you are completely safe while biking, there is the risk that someone is behaving recklessly on the trail.

#3 Biking Isn’t Accessible to Everyone

Because of the cost, biking is not as accessible as hiking is. Nearly everyone can go outside for a walk, but fewer people can find the money or terrain to be able to bike properly.

Apart from the cost, there are also people who may be suffering from a physical condition that prevents them from biking. These conditions can include arthritis, chronic pain, and any issues that involve the knees, hands, or back.

While biking can improve physical health, joint health can also worsen if you practice bad biking habits.

Final Verdict

Both biking and hiking are good and healthy outdoor activities that are easy to do for almost everyone.

Whether you choose biking or hiking depends on your resources and your goals pertaining to your physical health.

Regardless of which one you choose, make sure to stay safe and enjoy your time out on the trail!

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Hi, I'm Zach Reed and I'm a Colorado-based outdoor lover! For more information about me, take a look at my dedicated about me page.

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