It is a fun activity, but is cycling good for weight loss? Read on to find out!
Cycling is a fun way to get in shape. You can ride your way to a better body indoors or outside, so it’s something you can enjoy all year round.
The only equipment you need is your bike (mobile or stationary), water bottle, and possibly a helmet.
This type of exercise is easy on the joints, so it’s safe for those with injuries or who have a bit more weight to lose.
There aren’t any complicated moves to learn, you don’t need an instructor, and you can cycle at any time of the day that fits your schedule.
You’d be surprised at how many calories you can burn during one cycling session!
Using a stationary bike as an example, biking for 5 miles over 30 minutes as a 180 pound person, you would burn 360 calories!
If you’re eating 1200-1500 calories a day for weight loss, this amount of additional burn is significant, and when done regularly will boost your weight loss success.
If you’re biking outside, expending additional energy going up hills, your calorie burn will be even greater when the weather allows.
Of course, simply going faster, longer, or increasing the resistance on your stationary bike can accomplish the same thing.
Indoor Cycling for Weight Loss
Indoor cycling is one of the best ways you can get your workout in. The fact that it’s low impact and doesn’t require instruction or additional equipment is a big plus. It makes it very easy to get started.
At the core, you just get on and pedal! It’s also one of the easiest forms of exercise to incorporate into other activities.
You can watch television or movies, or listen to music, podcasts, or audio books.
It’s possible to read actual books while you cycle, but that’s pretty challenging, and might take away from your ability to have an intense workout.
Because it’s so easy to occupy your mind, cycling becomes much more of a fun activity, and you are more likely to continue with it for a longer time.
I don’t just mean a longer session, but also over weeks, months, and years. The longer you stick with it, the better results you’ll see.
You also won’t wind up with the same kind of soreness and pain that some other workouts leave you with.
Sure, you’ll be sore, you’re stressing your muscles, but it’s almost zero impact, so the pain will be minimal.
An option that is popping up in more and more gyms these days is spin classes.
Going to a spin class, or spinning, is a way to get together with a group with the same goals, and pushing each other through the workout.
There is a leader, who sets the pace for your workout, and there is music to help you along.
Since each of the cycles is set up so that you can control the amount of resistance in the pedaling, you ultimately control the difficulty you are willing to work on.
It’s harder than you think, so go at your own pace.
Cycling Weight Loss Tips
When you get started with indoor cycling to meet your weight loss goals, there are some tips to make sure you get the best workout you can.
- Adjust Your Cycle to Your Height – In most cases, the seat and the handlebars will both be adjustable. Make sure these are both at a level that are comfortable for you. This way, you can avoid unnecessary strain on your bones and joints, as well as pain during your session and the next day.
- Groove to Your Tunes – If you’re in a spinning class, this part is likely already covered. If you’re cycling on your own, make sure that you have fast-paced, upbeat music that you enjoy loaded onto your phone or device. This will help you keep a steady pace, and push through your whole session, instead of getting bored or just moving slowly. Let yourself be driven by the music, get into the rhythm and have fun with it.
- Involve Your Whole Body, not Just Your Legs – You can adjust your position on your cycle to include more muscle groups. The way you lean on the bars can have a dramatic effect on the work you get out of your upper body. Standing while pedaling will engage all of your core muscles. Try 20 spins seated, then 20 spins standing as a pattern, and you’ll be getting an impressively well rounded workout.
- Don’t Compete with Your Neighbors – You’re in this for you. Only you know what you are capable of. The people around you are at different points on their road to fitness. Push yourself only as hard as you feel safe doing. If you feel the need for less resistance, a slower pace, or to stop altogether, then you should. If you feel like you can go faster or at a harder resistance, then go for it!