Both biking and running are great forms of exercise. But both come with gaps which could influence you toward one exercise over the other. In my livelihood of fitness trainer Portland, I've had my years of running and my years of cycling. I had been a runner from age 16-22. I never ran consistently throughout each year but in 3-6 month spurts followed by a month or 2 breaks. I began running much like I started exercising, full throttle. I had very little leadership but it swallowed me. For the first couple years, I didn't see many unwanted side effects. Occasionally after a very long run, my knees would hurt for a couple days but nothing which I thought was too severe. I wasn't extending, my speed was too fast, I probably was not wearing shoe's that match the shape of my feet and I did not disperse my conducts aside from my leg exercises which put more strain on my knees. I was young and unaware of the damage I could be doing. Around age 20, the effects started to kick in. My knees were starting to bug me. My stretches of running got smaller and also my break periods got more. By the time I was 22 I had to throw in the towel. It got to the point where only thinking about running made me uneasy. My love for running shifted to another exercise, cycling. It was gradual, beginning from around the age of 20 and actually picking up by the time I needed to quit running.
My expertise biking has been much milder. Soon after I made the change my knee pain went away. I was still able to enjoy intense cardio workouts while still covering a much further distance. My legs got considerably stronger than they ever did running and my endurance also improved. I have been cycling ever since and the only knee pain I have felt I attribute mostly to my previous years of running. There are a few downsides, however. There's an original investment. The bike I bought was a little on the costly side, BUT it has probably been my most valuable investment. It's one of my favorite items I have and has brought me so much pleasure it couldn't have been more worth it. There are also reoccurring maintenance price if you do not understand how to tune up your bike yourself. It took me a couple of years until I began to do the work myself but before that every 5-6 weeks I'd spend around 80 dollars to get new brake pads etc.. Probably the largest negative about cycling on the long term is your risk. If you intend on riding a couple times every week for an indefinite amount of time there is a possibility of having a crash. If you live in a more rural region with not as much traffic your chances are far less but if you are living in Portland and plan to bicycle around the city it is something to consider. Portland's traffic has gotten much worse over the last couple years and keeps growing. Automobiles have a hard time seeing bikers especially if you're in their blind spots. You might be as careful as possible and still find yourself in a bad situation because a driver did not see you. I've had a few close calls and they were frightful.
As a personal trainer Portland, I know my experience running likely wasn't typical. I started with very little knowledge of proper stretching, I ran much quicker than I should have and that I had been a little on the heavier side due to weight lifting to be operating as much as I had been. But I think over time most everyone does. I've worked with a lot of runners. Out of probably 20 runners, I can only consider one that hasn't appeared to have any unwanted side effects. This person was also on the smaller side, weighing somewhere around 150 lbs. This person also naturally had flawless form in pretty much every exercise he gave him. His shoulder and hip mobility were outstanding. I believe his smaller size attributed to his flexibility which prevented harm. Every other runner I have worked with regularly dealt with knee pain and so were considerably tighter than the typical person. I've also been very surprised by how tight runners have been all around their own bodies. I'd imagine they'd only suffer from tightness in their thighs and hips but I've seen a tremendous amount of tightness in their upper bodies as well. I do believe running can be accomplished safely over a long time period but I think it takes considerably more discipline. It requires routine stretching combined with exercises to avoid injury. Staying away from running on concrete and sticking to track runs wouldn't hurt either
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