Is cycling good for weight loss?

You may be asking yourself this simple question: Is cycling really good for weight loss?

Is cycling good for weight loss

Well, let me tell you that riding a bike is a great way to lose weight and great for your physical and mental health. Here are some reasons why: 

  • Most people can ride one of the best bikes on earth. We learn as children. Once learned, never forgotten. And as such, it is a sport that allows you to enjoy your life, but also spend energy without even feeling it. Even if you have never ridden a bike, you can quickly learn.
  • It is a highly sociable type of activity. So, you lose weight while having a social life.
  • It’s a non-impact sport. The body doesn’t suffer the impact stress of other activities such as jogging, making it ideal for people with weight or joint problems.
  • You can go to work cycling, losing weight, saving emissions and preventing climate change while still being able to look in the eyes of your children and tell them you are doing your bit for the world.
  • You’ll have better sleeping nights, having spent time on a bike and exercising.
  • You’ll travel around for meeting people and for experiencing new things and you can transport your bike using your bike’s rack.

 

Cycling good for weight loss help burns fat

Cycling woman enjoying life

Cyclists use what people call “the big muscle groups” in their legs, hips, and core. This causes muscles and the networks of blood vessels that feed them, to grow. Prolonged activity as in a steady ride causes these muscles to burn fat to produced energy.

In your case, the energy that you expend during cycling is the excess fat. And therefore, as well as weight loss, high blood pressure is more easily controlled, cardiac and lung function improves. A great sport for people that needs better health, for sure. 

Is cycling good for weight loss on the stomach?

I get this question quite a lot. And the answer is ‘YES’. Cycling is a great activity to lose weight, but also a great activity for your stomach.

By riding with your mountain bike, you’ll definitely burn calories, resulting in long term weight loss. In turn, the fat you burn is primarily the one that is present on your stomach. So, by cycling, you’ll develop a great body shape.

Using your bicycle as an outdoor activity could help you, but you’re more likely to be successful if you continue on a regular basis.

What are the benefits of cycling?

As I said above, you’ll reduce your stress, get better sleep, and improve your overall health.

These are the common benefits of cycling regularly. And I think you really need to know this, the muscles continue to burn fat for up to 24 hours after you stop cycling. 

If you cycle outdoors, as I do, then you’ll also get the benefit of fresh air.

Besides these cycling benefits, and as you get fitter, your body will increase its capacity to process more oxygen.

Being able to process more oxygen will increase the number of calories burnt. It is clear that the lean muscle mass, which is more efficient at burning calories, increases under these conditions.

Is indoor cycling good for weight loss?

Indoor cycling good for weight loss

Yes, of course, that indoor cycling or exercising as a whole is good for weight loss.

But where is the fun part? When you are outside, you are not only working out your muscles and losing weight.

You are also making sure that your brain works. You need to be careful of traffic lights, potholes, junctions, turns, etc. All of these little things make sure that you forget about your day to day issues and focus on the road.

This means you’ll reduce stress, allow your brain to take a break, but more to this, you’ll give yourself a different perspective to life.

And I can tell you this from a fact, you’ll find solutions while cycling. This is something that you won’t find when exercising indoor.

So if you are still asking if cycling at the gym good for weight loss, then I would say yes for the physical aspect of things, but not for the mental and psychological aspect.

How much do I need cycling to lose weight?

You’ll be really pleased to learn this.

High-intensity cycling is unnecessary for burning fat.

In fact, a longer ride at a steady pace burns fat more effectively than high-intensity riding. As I said above, you now know that fat disappears from your belly first! 

Advantages and benefits of cycling

Please allow me to describe a little more about the three main advantages and benefits of cycling. Here there are:

Appetite decrease

It’s a common misconception that cycling demands a larger food intake. In fact, studies show that cycling can suppress the appetite for a few hours after the activity.

At the same time, an increase in pleasure hormones makes you feel good. The combination of these factors ensures that you are less likely to binge on snack foods for an emotional boost. 

But on top of this, you’ll want to drink more water. And by drinking water due to your road cycling or mountain biking, your body will be flushing plenty of really bad and harmful components.

You’ll get rid of radicals, which are mainly responsible for cancer.

So let me summarise this for you.

You cycle, and you enjoy yourselves. What you get on the other side is a better silhouette, a better immune system and reduce the risk for cancer. What else do I have to say to convince you to start cycling?

Stress reduction

Cycling stress reduction

Regular cycling helps reduce stress.

The physical exertion uses up excess adrenaline and slows cortisol (the stress hormone) production.

This decrease in stress will help you get a better night’s sleep. Studies show that lack of sleep triggers weight gain. Fatigue stimulates the body to produce a hormone that causes hunger.

So you eat more and put on weight. A bicycle ride of about 30 minutes a day, four days a week over a period of several months has been shown to result in one extra hour of sleep a night.

That’s seven hours each week — a huge boost to your wellbeing and a healthy contribution to your continued weight loss. 

Have good fun

Good Cycling fun in the snow

I mentioned this in the introduction, but it’s important enough to mention again: Cycling is fun. Once you become familiar with your bike and get into a cycling routine, enjoyment levels increase.

Every ride can take you to new and interesting places ripe for exploration. This is one of the great benefits of bike riding. Many exercise programs have more than their fair share of boredom.

Not so with cycling. Weight loss becomes a byproduct of cycling and before you know it, you’ll find yourself enjoying the pursuit and regulating your weight in the process. 

New friends and meet new people

Weight loss while having fun

As you cycle more often, you will make contact with other riders. You’ll have a new community with other circles of friends with whom you can share your experiences.

Coffee rides are a great way to meet new friends. Your newfound acquaintances will be happy to offer advice.

I found many good friends amongst people I met on cycling rides. If you are new to an area, the local bike shop is a great place to learn about cycling groups. These groups often arrange trips to places you’d never dream of. 

No more excuses

You’re probably dreaming up reasons why waiting until tomorrow before you start cycling is a good idea . Don’t worry. This is more common than you think. Here are a few of the excuses I hear from people to justify not cycling.

  • “I can’t ride a bike.”
  • “I don’t know how to change gears.” 
  • “I don’t know when to change gears.” 
  • “I’m worried about the cleats and pedals and if my bike’s rim and spokes break.” 
  • “What if I fall off?”
  • “I can’t ride up hills.” 
  • “I don’t want to look like an idiot in Lycra.” 
  • “I’m too old to start cycling.”

Listen, most people can ride a bike. If they can’t they can soon learn. If you’re inexperienced, start on an open flat grassed area with a gentle slope. 

Practice coasting down the slope, not with your feet on the pedals, but using your legs for balance. Once you become comfortable with this, repeat the exercise with your feet on the pedals.

You can progress to pedaling along a flat stretch. Once confident riding a flat stretch, start learning about the gears. 

Using a bike set up on stationery rollers is a good method of learning gear changes without worrying about falling off the bike.

Get used to riding along with the flat and changing gears before progressing to hills. 

Before you know it cycling will become second nature to you. Not being able to disengage your cleats from the pedals is a common misgiving.

If you are concerned, start cycling with standard pedals until you become accustomed to riding with cleats. It’s a good idea to use a stationary bike with cleats or get someone to hold your bike steady while you practice engaging and disengaging them. 

Worrying about cycling accidents

Bike accident

Yes, you can indeed have an accident while cycling. In fact, very few things in life come risk-free and cycling is no exception. Even sleeping can lead to an accident. What about drinking your coffee? You could get burnt.

Most cyclists fall off at some stage but that’s no reason not to cycle.

If you thought about the alarming number of car accidents before you climbed into a car, you’d probably never drive. Remember that the more you ride the more confident your cycling will become.

Start in areas where there is little or no traffic until your confidence grows. 

If you are worried about cars, then you may prefer riding mountain bike trails so you don’t have to contend with vehicles on the road.

Riding up hills becomes easier the fitter you become. Start off riding flat routes and progress to hills as you feel more confident.

Is there an age for cycling?

cycling age is a myth

Age is no barrier to cycling. Well, maybe there is one for professional riding.

But, there are many people who are active riders well into their 80s and you’d not have to search far to find a ninety-year-old cyclist. As for the Lycra excuse, you don’t have to wear Lycra — you can wear whatever feels comfortable. 

However, you will find clothing designed for cycling such as Lycra gives you comfort and a more enjoyable ride than street gear with less chance of chafing. Once you become a regular cyclist you will be proud to be seen in Lycra.

I have some motivational tips for you next but first, you might like to hear Bruiser’s take on motivation. Maybe you can relate to his journey to fitness.

Quick summary

If you start cycling today, your body will thank you, your soul will thank you, your muscles will thank you, your bones will thank you, your family will thank you, your friends will be happy for you (some will be jealous though), your wardrobe will cry for new clothes, the smallest molecules in your body will thank you.

So what are you waiting for? You have what it take to cycle, so go for it and cycle. You’ll find plenty of nice bicycles on Bikes Guider. Enjoy the ride with affordable mountain bikes, nice road bikes, and plenty of solutions to repair your MTB.

 

Timothy E. Wilson
 

Hi, I'm Tim I proud to be a bike adviser and bike rider at BikesGuider. I'm most helpful for new bike riders who want to join the bike community. I take it personally when someone wants to buy a new bike with my consult and experience. That's why I'm here to help new rider widely. I have researched, tested and summarized my finding in many articles on this site and I hope you'll learn and enjoy it. I will continue to add articles about bikes, accessories and parts for you. Come back as often as you can. Speak soon and enjoy the reading and ride.

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