Do you remember how much fun it was to ride your bicycle when you were a kid? Would you believe that such a fun activity could also help you lose weight and maintain a healthier weight as an adult?
Bike riding and weight loss are actually a great combination! Riding a bike helps strengthen your leg muscles and buttocks, not to mention providing excellent cardiovascular benefits (provided you’re actually pedaling consistently, not just coasting).
You can burn between 300-500 calories per hour on a bicycle, depending how fast you go and how much you currently weigh. If you bike uphill you’ll burn even more calories, and you can also set the resistance on your bike higher so you have to pedal harder even on flat land.
If you don’t have any challenging hills or trails to bike, you can increase the intensity of your workout by doing a few “intervals” of faster and harder speed, followed by slower periods to cool back down. Experts say that this kind of interval training helps you burn more calories and strengthen your cardiovascular system more than maintaining a constant intensity throughout the entire workout.
Bike riding for weight loss is simple for people who just want to shed a few pounds, but what about heavier folks?
Most bikes do have a weight limit, simply because the tires, wheels and frames are only capable of supporting so much weight. Weight limit varies for each bicycle, but most standard bikes can safely support 200-250 pounds. If you weigh more than that and still want to bike ride, you’ll be glad to know that they do make bicycles that can support up to 550 pounds. They may cost a bit more, but your safety is worth the expense.
Other biking expenses may include accessories like a good helmet, workout clothing suitable for biking, a water bottle and holster if your bike didn’t come with one, and a chain and lock to secure your bike.
Finally, you’ll have to choose a good location to ride your bike. Ideally you’ll want to avoid riding in heavy street traffic unless you have no other options. If you do have a choice, choose scenic locations like parks or trails (you may need an “all terrain” bicycle for rougher trails), or even less traveled streets with wide shoulders that allow pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
If you don’t like the idea of outdoor bike riding for weight loss, why not check out some of the stationary bicycles at your local sporting goods store? They have come a long way since the 1970’s! Some of them can do everything but clean your house – they measure your heart rate, blood pressure, calorie burn, speed, distance, and so on. And you can even watch your favorite soap opera while burning a few hundred calories.