Bike Riding for Runners

By Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC

Las Vegas Informer

“Get on your bikes and ride,” Freddie Mercury.

Bike riding is a sport, training tool, recreation and mode of transportation. Riding a bike improves health and fitness. Lower body strength, lower body endurance, balance, cardiovascular health and lung strength are all results of consistent bike riding.

Cycling utilizes the same muscles and joints as running. It provides a large range of motion for the hips and knees. It requires continuous contraction and relaxation of the hip and thigh muscles. It recruits the muscles symmetrically side to side. It forces the heart and lungs to work more efficiently to supply oxygenated blood to the working muscles. It improves coordination, proprioception and balance as a result of continually keeping yourself upright.

Running is a weight bearing activity. Biking is a partial weight bearing activity. Compared to running, bike riding places much less demand on the weight bearing joints. Less pounding on the feet, ankles, knees, hips and spine occurs while riding a bike versus while running. All of the positive health and fitness benefits of cycling are achieved in a partial weight bearing position.

Bike riding is a viable substitute for running, a valuable tool to increase running performance and a worthwhile training partner to running.

Combination: Combine bike riding and running to improve your running. Used in conjunction, riding and running is a powerful one-two punch. After completing a run, jump on your bike to lengthen the training session. The elongated duration places a healthy increased demand on the body. Therefore improving the health of your cardiovascular, respiratory and musculo-skeletal systems.

Substitution: Replace running with bike riding to retain and/or escalate your fitness gains. If an injury prevents you from running or you need a workout change, do yourself a big favor and ride your bike. The hip and leg muscles get a tremendous workout from bicycling. Time spent riding instead of running offers the body and mind new challenges and provides tremendous fitness gains.

Training: Ride your bike to improve your running performance. Use cycling to your advantage to improve your fitness and running performance. Ride outdoors in a variety of gears. Devise a training plan that includes sprints, short rides, medium length rides, long rides and hill climbing. The leg, heart and lung power you develop will boost your running performance.

Cross Training: Using a variety of exercise methods is imperative to achieving maximum results. Bike riding & running complement each other very well.

Aerobic Training: Riding long distance builds stamina and endurance. During aerobic exercise the working muscles require oxygen carried by blood. The cardiovascular system responses by increasing the heart rate in order to supply the muscles with the higher requirement of needed blood flow. Aerobic exercise trains the heart, lungs and muscles for a sustained duration to improve endurance and stamina.

Anaerobic Training: Sprints and short rides at a fast pace develop strength and power. Anaerobic training is defined as activity in which the body relies on energy stored in the muscles for fuel. The heart responds to anaerobic exercise by increasing the rate of beats per minute and by strengthening its contractions. Anaerobic exercise develops strength in the cardio-vascular system, respiratory system and musculo-skeletal system.

Fartleks: Intermittent sprints of various time lengths and distances throughout a bike ride expand aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Fartlek means “Speed Play” in Swiss. Sprints performed at irregular intervals and distances in your ride challenge the body to grow stronger and fitter by forcing it to work in aerobic and anaerobic fashions.

Conclusion: “Get on your bikes and ride” to increase your health. Multiple facets of fitness and health are improved while bike riding. Enhance your running abilities and set heighten personal running records by implementing a training program that includes cycling.

Dr_Donald_A_Ozello_thumb_medium150_Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is the owner and treating doctor at Championship Chiropractic. 8871 W. Flamingo Rd, Suite #202, Las Vegas, NV 89147.  His web address He can be contacted at (702) 286-9040 and

Dr. Donald A. Ozello’s mission is to educate and inspire others to live healthier, fitter, more functional lives.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is the author of the book “Running: Maximize Performance & Minimize Injuries: A Chiropractor’s Guide to Minimizing the Potential for Running Injuries.” He writes a weekly health, fitness and nutrition column for The Las Vegas Informer. He is published in OnFitness and He has educational health, fitness and nutritional videos on Informer TV, and YouTube.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC proudly handles Standard Process Supplements and Foot Levelers Orthotics.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is an award-winning public speaker. He has spoken to numerous groups on the importance of health, fitness, exercise, ergonomics, nutrition and injury prevention.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is a fitness enthusiast. Functional kettlebell training, running and bike riding are his favorite types of exercise.

Before pursuing his career in Chiropractic, Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Bremerton, SSN 698.

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