Thanks to high profile events such as the Tour de France, cycling has never been so popular. In the last few years, tens of thousands of bikes have been sold to ordinary people looking to get fit and enjoy some exercise outdoors. But although cycling is fun, is it any good as a cardio weight-loss exercise? Or would you be better taking up jogging instead?
The best thing about cycling is that anyone can do it. You can go for a ride on a weekend, or once you get a bit fitter, start cycling to and from work. The government’s cycle to work scheme for employees is a great way of buying a new bike tax-free, so if cycling to work is feasible, find out more and start saving money on petrol.
Dieting alone will lead to weight loss, but if you want to keep the weight off, you need to make some major lifestyle changes. Introducing regular exercise into your daily routine is one way to keep the excess weight off and cycling is good for a number of reasons.
Check out these 5 ways cycling helps weight loss so you can get started.
Easy on the Joints
The heavier you are at the outset, the harder it is to exercise safely. Cycling is a low impact sport, so no matter how heavy you are, you can still get on a bike and ride. Even grossly out of shape people will be able to pedal a few miles without too much trauma. And the further you pedal the more calories you will burn.
Cycling uses up a lot of calories and if you cycle at a reasonably active pace (13-15mph) you will burn around 600 calories in an hour. Surprisingly this is more than jogging, and since jogging exacts a heavy toll on the joints, cycling is clearly a better choice of weight loss exercise.
Cycling works the largest muscles in the body: the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Your lower body will enjoy a fantastic workout when you start cycling and the more you cycle, the more fat cells your body will burn.
Improved Circulatory System
Long, steady rides improve our circulatory system in the legs, which in turn builds the fat burning cells in the leg muscles. The harder your muscles work, the more fat you burn.
Increased Levels of Fat Burning Enzymes
The fitter you become through regular cycling, the more efficient your body will be at utilising the oxygen you take in, and the more oxygen your body uses, the greater amount of fat burning there will be.
Boost Your BMR
Your body will continue to burn fat for many hours after you step off the bike. This is because your body is working to repair muscle and tissue damage and your Basic Metabolic Rate stays elevated as a result.
Whatever your fitness goals, cycling is a fun, social form of exercise and most people agree that group exercise is a much better way of staying motivated on a weight loss plan. So what are you waiting for? Get on your bike and start pedalling!