Which Fitness Activity Is Best: Running, Pilates or Cycling?

Launching a fitness regimen is never easy, but those who are passionate about their favorite activities find at least some semblance of motivation. For others, however, the prospect of choosing a particular mode of exercise is incredibly nerve-wracking. There’s a lot to take into account: current physical fitness, personal goals, and the potential need for equipment or a gym membership.
Struggling to choose the right fitness regimen? Below, we highlight a few of the key factors worth taking into account when deciding between three favorites: running, cycling, and Pilates.


If weight loss is the chief goal, a cardio fitness activity like running and cycling is preferred. These endurance-oriented, high-impact solutions make it possible to burn several hundred — or even thousands — of calories.
Pilates is typically less effective as a cardiovascular activity, although exceptions exist. Some Pilates enthusiasts see cardio benefits when they integrate Pilates into total-body workouts that also incorporate faster-paced exercises.

Strength Training and Flexibility

Running and cycling promote exceptional cardiovascular health, but they might not be as effective for increasing strength or flexibility. Yes, cycling can improve lower-body strength, but it may leave significant areas of the body unaddressed. Pilates, however, provides an all-over workout that can significantly boost both strength and mobility over time.

Physical Strain

From a cardiovascular perspective, running is amazing. Unfortunately, the running lifestyle is invariably high-impact, to the point that many runners are constantly plagued by injuries. This keeps many runners from pursuing their passion.
A fitness activity like cycling and Pilates are less likely to cause severe injuries, but participants are by no means immune. With cycling, overuse injuries involving the knees and wrists are common. Pilates enthusiasts may deal with lower back or hamstring issues.
Ultimately, choosing an activity based on physical impact means assessing the possible implications for various parts of the body — and determining what level of risk is acceptable. Some risk is inevitable, but remember: the physical hazards of not maintaining an active lifestyle are often far worse.

Mental Health

All types of physical activity promise to boost mental health in addition to physical stamina. A wealth of research links regular exercise with improved wellbeing. Some activities, however, deliver a more significant mental health boost than others. Yoga is an oft-cited favorite for producing peace of mind, but Pilates can mimic these effects by encouraging participants to practice deep breathing and other mindfulness techniques.
Running and cycling also provide research-backed mental health improvements. Many aspiring runners are well aware of the coveted runner’s high, in which endorphins can create a euphoric state of mind. Other endurance activities — such as cycling — can also produce the joy associated with runner’s high.


Whether working out at the gym or at home, significant equipment investments may be needed prior to enjoying certain types of fitness activities. Cycling, for example, requires either a bike or an at-home solution such as the Peloton. Some Pilates moves can be completed without equipment, but some enthusiasts believe that Pilates is more effective when a reformer is integrated. Running, however, may only require high-quality footwear if you live in a warmer climate. Unfortunately, you’ll need a treadmill if you live in a place with four distinct seasons.


The best fitness activity is ultimately whatever provides the most motivation. Having fun while working out is essential, as this can make it easier to get off the couch when exercise feels like a chore.

Building a Fitness Regimen With Upsie-Protected Products

A variety of electronics and equipment can promote a healthier lifestyle. Many exercise enthusiasts depend on their wearable devices to track their progress, while others stay motivated with curated playlists on their smartphones. Treadmills, elliptical machines, and exercise bikes can also be helpful when working out inside. Regardless of how these products play into fitness efforts, however, it’s important to protect them with extended warranty coverage.
Peace of mind is possible with help from an Upsie extended warranty for fitness equipment. This cost-effective approach takes the middleman out of the equation to produce significant savings. Should covered products ultimately need repairs, it’s easy to get the in-home service they require. There’s no better option for protecting the equipment that promotes an active lifestyle.

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* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.