Summer is right around the corner and you’re just itching to get outside. Maybe you put on a few pounds over the winter months and now you’re looking to burn fat. You also notice your bike has been sitting in the garage collecting dust. Now you need to know is biking good for losing weight? Here we’ll discuss the health benefits as well as the ability to lose weight while biking.
Benefits of Biking
First, let’s talk about the overall health benefits of biking then we can more determine if it’s an effective method to burn calories.
Low-Impact – Not Hard on the Body
Cycling is a low-impact workout unlike running or CrossFit style training. Low impact simply means exercises that are easy on the bones, joints, and muscles. Things such as swimming, yoga, or even walking are other great forms of low-impact workouts. Low-impact training is a great way for beginners to get fit as well as people recovering from an injury.
If you’re new to being healthy and improving your fitness level, chances are you have a few extra pounds to lug around. Imagine running 3 miles with a 20-pound weight vest. That’s essentially what you’re attempting to do. You’re toting around an affixed weight vest, just on your hips and waist.
Tree Trunk Leg Muscles
Ok, so biking alone probably won’t develop those tree trunk-style legs you’re after, but it does give a great leg workout. Your glutes, quads, calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, and even your core are working full force when you go riding. Certainly keep hitting those weights though if that’s what you’re after!
Improved Cardiovascular System, Heart Rate, and Metabolism
This is a benefit to all regular physical activity and biking is no different. Some of the key benefits of daily exercise include improved cardio and lowers the risk of illness. An improved cardio system will help with things such as:
- Blood Pressure
Biking will not only improve the physical aspects of your life, but your mood will be better. Symptoms of depression or anxiety can be calmed through regular physical exercise. Plus your often in a much better mood overall when you’re body is healthy and fit.
Save Some Cash
Ok, so this isn’t a health-related benefit, but it’s still a solid plus.
I live about 40 miles from work so biking to work just isn’t an option for me. But, if you live close to work, or even a train and bus depot, biking to work can be a real wallet saver. Biking to work or around town not only provides the health benefits as stated above but could potentially save you hundreds or thousands of dollars a year. Insurance and car payments are outrageous anymore, and with gas prices rising we could all be broke by the end of the year.
So now that we know what some of the health and financial benefits of biking are, let’s take a look at if it’s an option for our weight loss goals.
Is Biking Good for Losing Weight
While biking alone will not cause the body fat to magically disappear, it will help significantly in your overall fitness journey. Riding a bike burns calories for certain, but by itself, it won’t accomplish your end goal. You can ride your bike 20 miles per hour for 8 hours straight, but if proper nutrition isn’t accounted for, you’ll achieve nothing.
In some of the Facebook groups I belong to, the top question I see asked is, “What exercise can I do to get rid of fat from my xxx?” And within minutes the post is barraged with comments ranging from “more squats..”, to “HIIT workouts”, etc. They’re all wrong! And I’ll tell you why.
Losing weight is not about how many miles you run or how many burpees you can do. It’s about watching what goes into your body from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed. While running and biking will help get you to the finish line a bit faster, they aren’t as important as diet and being in a caloric deficit.
Caloric Deficit – Calories In and Calories Out
“Calories in” must be less than or equal to “Calories out” to achieve any type of weight loss. If you burn 500 calories biking, but go home and finish it off with a double cheeseburger, fries, and a couple of beers, equal to roughly 1200 calories, do you really think your fat percentage is going down at all?
Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)
Knowing your TDEE, or Total Daily Energy Expenditure is essential. Your TDEE is an estimation of the calories you burn each day when exercise and fitness level is taken into account. Check out this TDEE calculator to get an estimate of yours.
So with your newly acquire TDEE, sit down and try to determine what your caloric intake should be. Then you’ll be able to adjust your goals to get into a deficit. That alone is the biggest component of weight loss.
Check out our Recipe Section for some healthy and nutritious meals the whole family will enjoy!
So, really, Is Biking Good for Losing Weight or Not?
Yes and no.
It’s a great way to burn extra calories and hit your daily exercise goal of 30 minutes. But alone without proper diet and nutrition it’s more like a hamster on a wheel. You’ll never get to the end.
So, gather up the kids, load up the bikes, and get riding!!
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