Running/Walking vs. Cycling, Swimming Comparison

By Dr. Rob Orr

Date Released :
08 Dec 2004


QUESTION:
If an individual is walking four miles in an hour, what would be an approximate equivalent distance on a stationary bike?
ANSWER:
Thanks for the great question. This is a tricky question which can be quite dependent on a variety of variables (techniques, walking surface, resistance level on bike, etc...), but a formula we use as a general guide for times/distance is:
 cycle = approx 2¼ x your run
 swim = approx ¼ your run
So if you run 2.5 km in 10 minutes, you should be able to cycle about 5.6 km in the same time or swim 600m... Again, this is a very general guide and is dependent on techniques, resistance etc., but it provides us with a good reference point.
Now with this in mind, the general run/walk transfer we use is 1.82.0/1, so if you walk 1 km in 10 minutes, you should be able to run about 2 km in the same time. Again, this is a very rough guide (the further the comparative distance, the lower the ratio) but a great place to start.
So, if your client can walk 4 miles/hour (6.4km), she should be able to cycle approx 16 miles (26 kms) on an indoor stationary bike. Use this as a starting point and adjust up or down, depending upon the variables involved and your client’s capabilities.