Bike riding is an excellent cardio workout. It can help boost your heart and lung health, improve your blood flow, build muscle strength, and lower your stress levels.
On top of that, it can also help you burn fat, torch calories, and lose weight. But in order to lose weight, there are a few things you need to know for an effective biking workout.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the strategies that work best to optimize weight loss with biking, and the options you have for biking in different environments.
Biking is often touted as a good low-impact option for aerobic exercise. It allows you to get your heart rate up with less wear and tear on your knees, ankles, and other joints, compared with running or jogging.
It’s also a good way to help you shed extra pounds. That’s because you can burn an impressive number of calories while you’re pedaling, especially if you cycle beyond a leisurely pace.
If you’re looking to lose a few pounds with your biking workout, here are four key strategies for weight loss.
1. Increase the intensity
Pedaling along at a leisurely pace probably won’t do much to help you lose weight. However, if you push yourself to work harder and up the intensity of your ride, you’ll make more progress toward your weight loss goal.
As a general rule, the faster you cycle, the more calories you’ll burn. That’s because your body uses more energy to cycle faster. And the more calories you burn, the more weight you’ll likely shed.
Steady, moderate cycling burns about 300 calories in 60 minutes, but you can burn more than that if you increase the intensity.
In fact, according to the Harvard Health Letter, a 155-pound person can burn as many as 298 calories in a 30-minute bike ride, if they pedal at a 12-to-13.9 mile-per-hour pace. A person who weighs 185 pounds can burn 355 calories by cycling at this pace.
And, at a faster pace of around 14 to 15.9 miles per hour, a 155-pound can burn up to 372 calories in just 30 minutes, while someone who weighs 185 pounds can burn 444 calories in that time frame.
Short bursts of intense exercise alternated with intervals of low-intensity exercise. With biking, a workout may look something like this:
- Cycle as fast as you possibly can against high resistance for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Then, do 2 to 3 minutes of easy cycling with low resistance.
- Repeat this pattern for the next 20 to 30 minutes.
This type of exercise can help you burn more calories in less timeTrusted Source, as well as improve your cardio fitness and help you lose fat too.
According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, both HIIT and continuous moderate exercise can reduce body fat. But compared with steady, moderate exercise, HIIT provides a 28.5 percent greater reduction in fat mass.
The benefits don’t stop there. When you stop pedaling and your workout is over, your metabolism remains engaged. This means your body continues to burn calories at a higher rate, even after your workout is done and your body has returned to its normal, resting state.
3. Go further
Just when you think you’ve had enough, try to go a little further. That’s the idea behind endurance training.
Research suggests that endurance training might help burn fat, which may help with weight loss.
Ideally, you want to start slowly when you’re trying to build endurance. So, if you start with 10 to 15 minutes of cycling in one session, you could then slowly add on a few minutes to each session until you’ve reached at least 150 minutes of cycling in a week.
4. Try cross-training
If you don’t like getting locked into one activity, cross-training may be for you. It’s a great way to add variety to your workouts by alternating activities.
For instance, you might hop on your bike for a long outdoor ride one day, then head over to the gym to lift weights the following day.
In order to lose weight, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) says you’ll need to cycle at a moderately intense level for at least 30 minutes at a time. To burn even more calories, you’ll want to cycle for longer.
ACE also suggests incorporating two activities into one cross-training session to boost weight loss. For example, you could ride a bike for 20 to 30 minutes, then try another activity for an additional 20 minutes.
If you’re trying to lose weight, or want to maintain weight loss that you’ve worked hard to achieve, biking can be a great way to achieve this goal.
To maximize your weight loss and fat burn, try to increase the intensity or duration of your biking workout. Doing interval training and cross-training can also help with weight loss and fat-burning efforts.
If you have a health condition or haven’t exercised in a while, be sure to check with your doctor to make sure a biking workout is safe for you.
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