Is 3 Miles on a Stationary Bike the Same as Walking 3 Miles?

Woman Riding on Exercise Bike

Cardiovascular exercises are important for heart health. Both riding a stationary bike and walking are great forms of cardio exercise. As an active person, you may be wondering if biking or walking is the better exercise for your needs. Because they are very different exercises, it is difficult to compare riding a stationary bike to walking. 

No, three miles on a stationary bike is not exactly the same as walking three miles. To compare the two cardio exercises, consider the calories burned from each exercise. If you walk three miles, you can burn about 600 calories. If you ride a stationary bike, you burn 160 calories in three miles.

At first glance, you might think that walking three miles is the better option because it burns more calories. However, it is important to remember that three miles on a bike go by much more quickly than a three-mile walk. Continue reading to figure out how riding a stationary bike compares to walking and the different variables you need to consider.

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Is Riding a Stationary Bike the Same as Walking?

Women on Stationary Bikes

Walking and riding a stationary bike are hard things to compare. While biking and walking are both cardio exercises, they require different skills. Unless you run instead of walk, you are not going to be going very fast. However, if you ride on a stationary bike, you can go much faster. Stationary bikes allow people to push themselves further. 

If you set out to walk three miles, it may take you one hour to walk the full distance. However, it will take you a shorter amount of time to bike that distance. If you bike for one hour, you will likely travel the equivalent of about 10 miles. You will get more from your workout this way.

The further you can push yourself during your cardio workout, the more calories you can burn. However, you want to make sure you are pacing yourself so that you are able to meet your calorie goals. The below measurements are based on an athlete who weighs 150 pounds. Larger athletes burn calories more quickly than small athletes. 

  • If a walker is casually walking on flat terrain, then they will burn about 600 calories in three miles.
  • If the same person is riding a stationary bike at a causal pace of 10 mph, then they would burn about 160 calories in three miles.
  • Depending on different variables, athletes can burn more calories with either exercise. 

Differences Between Stationary Bike and Walking

Group of hikers walking in nature

These two cardiovascular exercises are both great for your heart health. Neither choice is a bad choice if you are planning to exercise. However, it is important to understand the differences between the two exercises. 

When you walk, you bear more weight which is great for your bone health. Working out on a stationary bike works more of your entire body. Both exercises are usually considered low impact but can be restructured to add more stress to your body and become high impact. 

  • If you walk fast or on an incline, your walk can become high-impact.
  • If you increase your bike incline and speed, your ride can become high-impact.

Can Speed Affect Calories Burned While Riding Or Walking?

Healthy trail running in the morning

If you ride a stationary bike at about 14 to 15 miles per hour at the lowest difficulty setting, you will burn about 380 calories in 30 minutes of exercising. If you are walking at about five mph, then you can burn about 300 calories in 30 minutes of exercise. 

If you are riding a bike at about 14 to 15 mph, you will complete three miles in 12 minutes. So you would burn about 75 calories. If you are walking at five mph, then you will complete three miles in 36 minutes. So you would burn a little bit over 300 calories.  

Professional cyclists can ride at speeds up to 25 mph, but that is pretty uncommon. If you were to ever reach these speeds, you would complete three miles in about 7 minutes. Therefore, cyclists would be burning about 105 calories.

» Related: How Many Miles on a Bike Equal 10,000 Steps?

Can Resistance Affect Calories Burned While Riding or Walking? 

Fit Woman using Exercise Bike

If you are riding your stationary bike at a higher setting, you will be burning more calories. The harder the intensity, the more reward. So, if you are interested in burning more calories per mile, then you should consider turning up the gears. 

The key to burning more calories on a bike is to make sure that you pump up the gears. Many of the new sophisticated bikes allow you to choose different terrains and will explain how many calories you are burning while doing the activity. 

If you are walking uphill, you can burn 100 more calories per mile than if you were just walking on flat terrain. The number of calories you burn can also be affected if walkers are going through sand or over rocks as opposed to a flat sidewalk. 

Does an Athlete’s Weight Affect Calories Burned While Riding or Walking? 

Calories are all about measurements of energy. Heavier people need to consume more calories during the day than their lighter counterparts. Heavier people will need more energy to move their bodies. Therefore, they will burn more calories when they are working out. 

  • If a person is biking for 30 minutes and weighs 150 lbs, they will burn about 300 calories.
  • If a person is biking for 30 minutes and weighs 300 lbs, they will burn about 600 calories.
  • Therefore, you should be considering your weight as a variable when determining how many calories you may burn. 

If You Measure in Time Instead of in Distance Would Riding A Bike Be Better Than Walking?

Young Woman Doing Indoor Cycling

If a cyclist is riding at about 15 mph, they can finish a mile in about five minutes. However, they would only burn about 50 calories in that period. If they rode their bike for an hour, then they would burn about 720 calories. 

If the same person was walking at five mph, they could finish a mile in about 12 minutes. They would burn about 100 calories. However, if they walked for an hour, they would burn about 600 calories. 

If biking and walking were measured in length of time instead of distance, then riding a stationary bike burns more calories in the end. If you are interested in burning calories more quickly, then you should ride a bike. However, if you are just trying to get to a one-mile marker, then you will get more from walking the distance.

How Many Miles on a Bike Do You Have to Ride to Equal Walking? 

Senior Couple on Exercise Bikes

If you are walking at five mph and you walk three miles, then you have burned about 300 calories. If you are riding your bike and you are trying to burn 300 calories, then you will have to ride your bike for about 7 miles at a speed of 12 mph. 

If you have walked three miles at five mph, then you would have walked for about 36 minutes. If you ride your bike seven miles at 12 mph, then it would take about 35 minutes. Therefore, walking three miles is equal to riding a bike for seven miles. 

If you are interested in burning 300 calories, then you would have to walk for 36 minutes and ride your bike for 35 minutes. However, both exercises have a different feel to them in terms of intensity, and what muscles you work, so it is always a good idea to rotate your workouts to stay fresh. 


If a person walks for 3 miles, they will burn about 600 calories, while biking would burn about 160 calories. Therefore, biking and walking 3 miles is not the same. However, you can ride your bike much farther in a shorter amount of time. 

There are many variables that can allow athletes to burn more calories in their workouts. If you want to burn more calories in your 3 miles, then make sure you are pushing yourself; up your speed, increase your gears, and go through more terrain.

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