Riding a bike is fun, relaxing, and just overall enjoyable. It even offers a host of benefits for your mind and body. It’s a nice way to get out and about, enjoy your surroundings, and put in a bit of exercise. Plus, bike riding for weight loss is a great way to shed those extra pounds.
If you’re considering cycling for weight loss, or searching for an answer to “ is cycling good for weight loss?,” here’s a complete guide that tells you everything you need to know about the benefits of cycling.
Is bike riding good for weight loss?
Cycling is a fun and enjoyable leisure activity, and it’s an even better way of losing weight. In fact, it’s one of the most preferred weight loss activities, since it’s low impact yet burns a ton of calories without having to do an intense workout.
There are also lots of other benefits that come with cycling. But, having said that, if you are bike riding for weight loss, then you will need to structure your workout a bit differently, and employ a new strategy in order for the activity to be effective in helping you lose weight. For one thing, it should be a dedicated routine that you stick to, rather than the occasional riding with a friend.
So, if you’re wondering “can you lose weight riding?”, the answer is yes, as long as you make a few tweaks and changes to the way you ride.
How many calories does biking burn?
In general, an average person weighing around 155 pounds riding a bike at an average speed of 12 to 14 miles per hour for a 30 minute commute will burn 298 calories, according to Harvard University. At a faster speed of up to 16 miles per hour, the amount of bike riding calories burned can go up to 372 calories.
You can even burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour, depending on your body build and riding intensity. Some people also argue for stationary bike weight loss, since it can help you burn 600 or more calories in an hour, meaning, you can lose more weight faster.
If you plan on cycling to burn fat, you need to remember that the key to weight loss is that the amount of calories you burn should be less than the amount you consume. As such, you need to regulate the calorie level of the food you eat.
Of course, there are other factors that affect how efficiently you burn calories, such as how often you eat, how well you sleep, how much time you spend exercising, and so on.
What are the benefits of cycling?
Riding a bike offers a lot of amazing benefits to your mind, body, and the environment. It can help boost your mental well being, improve your lung and heart health, help you build muscle mass while losing fat, facilitate an improved brain power and a better sleep quality, and more.
Cycling is good for your mental well being.
Generally, cycling is an outdoor activity, which means you get to enjoy fresh air and a nice view of your surroundings. If you’re riding solo, you can also have a distraction-free thinking time to process your thoughts and emotions. Or, if you are riding with a group, you can broaden your social circle and meet new friends with similar interests.
Biking also improves your brain power, since riding a bike promotes an increased blood flow of up to 40%. This means you can be more alert and think better with all your cogs working properly.
And, engaging in a healthy dose of exercise also translates to a healthier and better sleep quality, since your blood flow is better, and your muscles are worked out.
Cycling is good for your body.
Aside from building muscle mass and promoting healthy weight loss, cycling also has a lot of other physical health benefits. These include a healthier lung health, since riding a bike is a physical workout, and since you are exposed to fresh air rather than pollution. In fact, interestingly enough, riding a bike is better than driving a car.
With cycling, you can also enjoy a reduced risk of heart disease, and even cancer. This is because cycling raises your heart rate and improves your blood circulation. It also burns calories and keeps you from being overweight, and all of these things are important in preventing major illnesses.
Cycling is good for the environment.
Sure, riding a bike is more exhausting and time consuming than taking public transportation or even driving your own car. But, with the lack of harmful emissions, you can have the peace of mind in knowing that you are not contributing to increasing pollution levels. You’re even saving money on not having to pay for gas or bus fares.
So, if you’re asking “is biking good for you”, the answer is yes- it most definitely is.
Is riding a bike good exercise?
If you’re still on the fence on the question of “is biking good exercise?”, we’ll have you know that riding a bike actually targets a lot of different muscle groups, helps you build muscle mass, promote cardiovascular endurance, increase your stamina, and leave you with a lean, fit, and healthy body.
While you may think that cycling only engages the lower body, specifically the legs and feet (and while it’s true that it’s more of a lower body workout), there’s actually more to it than that. Bike riding actually engages your calves, thighs, hamstrings, glutes/ buttocks, biceps, triceps, shoulders, and feet. Plus, it works your lungs and heart, too.
Is biking cardio?
While bicycle riding is not technically a cardiovascular activity, it’s still highly beneficial for your heart and lungs. In fact, the longer, faster, and more intensely you ride, the better the effects of the activity on your cardiovascular fitness.
As such, if you want to incorporate cardio exercise during your riding sessions, you can either do interval training wherein you do a high intensity ride in between every couple of regular riding sessions, or do a brief high intensity cycling at the end of a normal ride.
Some scientists and experts argue that the latter is actually better and more effective especially in terms of weight loss, since your body has to work harder and thus burn more calories while maintaining your muscle mass.
You can even do this inside a gym or while attending a spin class if you prefer indoor exercises or your location is suffering from inclement weather.
Walking vs biking
There are definitely a lot of benefits to cycling, especially when it comes to weight loss, but it can also be taxing and quite a hassle. Not to mention you’ll have to invest on a bicycle and other related gear. So, you might be wondering whether just going for a walk or a run is better.
The thing is, while running does burn more calories since it engages more muscles, it’s also more taxing on the body, and is also weight bearing, so the risk of injury is actually higher. These include muscle inflammation and muscle damage.
On the other hand, everyday cycling may not burn as many calories, especially if you don’t adjust the way you ride, but it’s also gentler on your body, meaning, it’s safer, and you can do it for longer and faster.
Of course, there’s still the risk of injury, which is why it’s important to invest in the right gear. Moreover, cycling doesn’t offer as much bone density, so it may be a great idea to incorporate other activities and exercises in your routine.
Biking for weight loss- expert tips
If you really want to make the most out of your cycling sessions, here are some proven and tested tips from the experts on how to successfully lose weight by riding a bike:
- Set a realistic goal and track your progress.
- Commute to work while riding at a moderate pace.
- Eat a balanced diet and get plenty of sleep.
- Do other exercises to work out your upper body.
- Consume lean protein, fruits, and vegetables.
- Don’t overtrain and undereat.
Use the right gear
Once you make cycling a part of your daily lifestyle, you need to make sure that you have the right equipment in order to make your riding experience more comfortable. This way, you can also ride longer and more intensely, thereby helping you lose weight more effectively.
The best bicycles for losing weight are road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, and e-bikes, since you can ride them for longer periods of time without being uncomfortable, unlike cruisers. They are also easier to learn with, if you’re a beginner.
It’s also important to wear the right cycling shorts with chamois inserts, as well as cycling shoes that help you pedal better and ride longer, not to mention keep you safer. And speaking of safety, wearing a helmet is always a good idea.
Bike riding for weight loss is a proven highly effective method that’s also fun and enjoyable, since you get to explore outdoors and even ride around with your friends. Plus, it doesn’t have to take time away from your fully packed schedule, since you can ride your bike to work, school, and other places around the city.
You can also ride on mountain trails and bike paths, and as you enjoy communing with nature and testing your capabilities in maneuvering your bike, you’ll soon forget that you’re exercising. It’s just that much fun!