The time has come to exercise on two wheels.
Riding a bike outdoors can make you feel as free as it is sweaty, but that’s a good thing – it’s one of the most calorie-burning hot sports after all . And although there are many benefits of simply doing a physical activity that you like, if your goal is to lose weight , you probably want to know if going out on the weekends to do a bike route, in addition to being fun, can also be a good method. to lose weight.
Short answer? If it is. Totally. Without a doubt. Do it! The cycling outdoors can play an important role in your weight loss process. Whether you decide to take a route through the mountains, take a walk around the neighborhood with your friends or use the bicycle to go from home or the subway to work. In all situations you will be doing a good cardiovascular exercise that pumps your heart, you will strengthen the muscles, you will accelerate the metabolism and in the process you will reduce the stress levels that your body has. All of this contributes to a healthy weight loss .
Let’s see what the experts say.
Is riding a bike good exercise?
Riding a bicycle is an aerobic activity and, depending on the speed at which you pedal, it can be considered a moderate or vigorous intensity exercise . For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Riding a bike at less than 10 miles per hour on flat terrain would be considered “moderate intensity”, which will increase your heart rate but allow you to continue chatting with a partner if you are cycling together.
- If you pedal 1 6 km / h or more on a hilly route (with more costly breathing), you are entering vigorous intensity territory.
But best of all is how accessible the bike is for so many people. “Bicycling is a low-impact, high-cardio exercise suitable for all fitness levels,” says Sara Fruendt, Personal Trainer and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES), at Sweat Fitness Studios. . “Riding a bicycle is also a good sport with the joints and is ideal for people who are recovering from certain injuries,” he adds.
When it comes to losing weight, is it better to go biking or exercise bike at home?
Indoor bike rides became fashionable during last year’s lockdown and there are those who have continued this discipline without leaving home, but it is also worth getting off the stationary bike and going for a walk.
“If you ride outdoors, your body has to make adjustments during each pedal stroke, which makes your core stabilize in the saddle,” says Fruendt. “Cycling indoors allows you to see your markers, such as kilometers, time and resistance, but requires you to change these settings independently, compared to what happens outdoors, where you ride on natural terrain and expose yourself to different inclinations, “he says.
Both options contribute to improving cardiovascular fitness, muscle tone and strength, “but with cycling outdoors you work more on the core , since it is a different terrain, compared to the interior, which focuses more on the lower body of the body. body”.
Did you know that studies have shown that cycling to work is associated with less weight gain over time, as well as weight loss and a lower BMI?
So is riding a bike good for losing weight?
Riding a bike outdoors provides that ideal combination of cardio and strength. And yes: “It is beneficial for weight loss,” says the expert. It allows you to do cardio while developing muscles . “And the more muscle mass, the higher the resting metabolic rate , which translates to more calories burned throughout the day,” says Jessica Dennis, a personal trainer also at Sweat Fitness Studios .
A population study published in Obesity Facts (2018) observed how, in the case of women, when cycling for more than 1.5 hours a week , they lost 1.3 kilos, had 2% less body fat and they managed to reduce their waist circumference by almost three centimeters.
That said, the key to losing weight is creating a caloric deficit , adds Fruendt. Therefore, you may also have to make changes to your diet to see results.
Does riding a bike have other benefits?
One of the main benefits of exercise in general is that regular physical activity can help you sleep better and manage stress (especially if the time spent outside walking the streets is restorative). Getting a good night’s sleep helps regulate hunger hormones, while using stress-reducing strategies can keep you from turning to food whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed.
“Fresh air and a change of scenery are good for mental health,” says Fruendt. “Riding a bicycle can reduce stress levels by increasing endorphins. In addition, playing sports outside provides a daily dose of vitamin D,” he adds.
Go for it!