It’s no secret that cycling is all the rage these days. After all, with the advent of spin classes, interest in cycling has been renewed and continues to grow daily. Despite its popularity, there is one question that begs to be asked: is cycling actually any good for people who are trying to lose weight? cycling for weight loss is real folks.
We know that it may seem a little odd to even have to ask this question, but at this day in age, it’s crucial. After all, with so much misinformation taking place in the health and fitness community these days, there’s no harm in being cautious and doing your research. Marketing and the conversion of weight loss from need to industry makes it hard to distinguish fact from fiction, and there’s no harm in taking everything you hear with a grain of salt. So, is cycling actually good for weight loss? Well, the good news is that cycling actually is a good way to cause weight loss. The question now becomes why and how?
Why is cycling effective? When it comes to pedaling your way to a healthier lifestyle, there are numerous facets that make it an awesome choice for regular exercise. From stronger cardiovascular health to awesome lower body muscles to greater confidence and enjoyment, all of the reasons why cycling is good for weight loss can be categorized into two main reasons:
Cycling is Low Impact
When it comes to losing weight, one of the exercises considered to be the most effective is running. While running is certainly a top calorie torcher in the fitness realm, the problem is that it’s high impact. Running takes a huge toll on your knees, calves, ankles and feet, which means that there’s a high risk for injury if you’re on the heavier end of the spectrum. If you’re largely overweight and it’s an urgent concern to drop the pounds, then running isn’t a good idea for you.
This is where cycling enters the picture as the superior weight loss cardiovascular exercise for large individuals. Not only is cycling low impact, it also attacks weight loss through cardiovascular exercise and muscle training. Cycling is great at strengthening lower body muscles like your glutes, hamstrings, quads without much of a risk for injury. Not only does this help create a leaner body for you, it also means that you’ll burn much more calories at rest.
Cycling Can Be a Social Activity
Often times, what makes exercises ineffective (other than proper form or utilization, of course), is the fact that it isn’t enjoyable. It’s not rocket science, after all. You’re more likely to keep doing something that you enjoy, and cycling is an exercise that you can do socially with your friends and family during weekends or in the mornings. You can even replace your morning drive to work with a morning cycle to squeeze in your exercise daily and possibly even avoid rush hour traffic.
Cycling also gives you the opportunity to build new circles and meet new people. Whether you’re doing this outdoors with a cycling club or indoors at a spin class, there’s no doubt that you’re meet new people that will help keep you motivated and committed to cycling.
Now that we know why cycling is effective for weight loss, you need to determine how it’s best for you to do so that you lose the maximum amount of weight with each go on the bike. Some of the things you need to consider include the kind of bike, the environment, the duration, intensity, incline and cross training practices.
Consider Duration Instead of Distance
You don’t have to cycle several hundred miles to lose a decent amount of weight. In fact, when it comes to weight loss, the amount of time you spend on the bike is more important than how far you go on it. What you can do is to start with a 30-minute ride. Make sure to take note of how far you travel within those 30 minutes.
Spend the next week or two aiming to decrease the amount of time it takes for you to run the same distance. When you decrease your time, you can move on to 45-minute, 60-minute and even 120-minute rides.
Consider Intensity Instead of Speed and the Environment
To burn the most number of calories on the bike, it’s importance to work harder and keep your intensity up. In fact, it’s more important than the speed at which you ride the bike. For example, a slow paced ride on a heavy mountain bike that goes up and down inclines will do more for you then a fast but relatively effortless ride on smooth pavement and a cruiser. If you’re riding at a spinning class, intensity is controlled through the resistance settings of the bike. One easy way to add intensity to your ride is to choose a course or a path that has steady inclines and smooth downhill paths to utilize during recovery periods.
Consider Your Bike
Just because we said a mountain bike might help you burn more calories than a cruiser doesn’t mean that you should run out and buy that kind of bike immediately. At the end of the day, it all boils down to which bike you’ll use on a more regular basis. It’s important that you try out as many bikes as you can to figure out which one fits your body the best. Bikes to choose from include road bikes, cruiser bikes, mountain bikes, cross bikes, electric bikes and a recumbent bike.
Don’t Forget to Cross Train
Doing one exercise for too long will have you hitting a plateau so make sure to include cross training in your weight loss program. For example, on non-cycling days, you can do a simple strength training routine at home or even take a fast paced walk around the neighborhood. You can even try exercises like boxing, swimming or yoga to mix things up and get your body to a better calorie-burning state.