Exercise Weight Loss Exercises Cycling

If you’re looking to lose weight, you have many different cycling exercise options. Depending on your weight loss plan, you’ll find that biking for exercise has similar benefits to other cardio exercises. Although running burns slightly more calories than cycling, cycling is still a challenging workout, whether you ride outdoors, use a stationary bike or participate in a group spinning class.

What is Cycling?

Cycling is a form of cardio that can aid weight loss. Cycling can build muscular conditioning in the lower body, as well as overall stamina. At certain intensities, cycling may even strengthen your heart and lungs and reduce stress on your leg joints, back and knees.

Although leisurely rides may not help improve your overall health, uphill climbs or longer rides at a vigorous pace can help you lose excess fat.

Cycling for Exercise: Options

Depending on your preferences and abilities, various cycling exercise options are available to you. Amateur and novice cyclists can enjoy outdoor biking for exercise on trails or paved routes. If you’re looking for more challenging options outdoors, consider mountain biking.

However, indoor-oriented cycling can be just as beneficial if you use a stationary bike or join a group spinning class:

  • With a stationary bike in your home or gym, you can bike for exercise in a more controlled environment and track your progress with electronic measurement tools available on most models.
  • A spinning class can also be beneficial, as an instructor leads you through various cycling exercises, which are often set to music.

Cycling for Exercise and Weight Loss

Cycling for exercise–whether in a spinning class, on a stationary bike or on a mountain biking trail–can be an effective way to lose weight. As a form of cardio exercise, cycling forces the heart and lungs to pump blood and oxygen faster, which strengthens these organs and burns calories.

In addition, the increase in muscular conditioning in the lower body builds lean mass, replacing excess fat. The combined effect of increased muscle mass and burning calories may help you meet your weight loss goals. The chart below outlines how many calories you can burn one hour of activity:

Activity Calories burned by 120 lb. person Calories burned by 154 lb. person Calories burned by 170 lb. person
Outdoor cycling 220 290 310
Indoor cycling 572 733 810

A derivative benefit of biking for exercise is the increased number of calories you’ll burn while at rest. Regular cycling can help you build a faster metabolism rate, allowing you to burn calories throughout the day.

Biking for Exercise and Weight Loss

Choosing a cycling exercise depends on your individual athletic and health limitations. Although cycling places less stress on the body than running, you should still discuss biking for exercise with your doctor, especially if you have a medical condition.

If you’re overweight and unable to run, biking may be an excellent introduction to fitness. In the case of injured runners, cycling for exercise can allow these individuals to continue to include cardio in their fitness routine, keeping their weight within normal limits.

Resources

Arthritis Today. (n.d.). Benefits of stationary cycling. Retrieved September 23, 2010, from http://www.arthritistoday.org/fitness/other-exercise/stationary-cycling.php

Bloom, M. (2007). Wheel benefits. Retrieved September 23, 2010, from http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-263–11759-1-2-2,00.html

Jackenthall, S. (2010). The calorie-blasting cycling workout. Retrieved September 23, 2010, from http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/cardio/no-treadmill/cycling-workout/

McTaggart, U. (2001). Biking for exercise: risks and rewards. Retrieved September 23, 2010, from http://www.schsa.org/PublicHealth/pages/healthResources/healthwire/2001/06.html

USA Today. (2007) How many calories have you burned? Retrieved September 23, 2010, from http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-06-06-calorie-chart_x.htm