Another Great Reason to Get on Your Bike
Burning Up the Calories on the Bike
There are many great reasons to get out there and get on your bike and ride. There are so many in fact that I won’t be able to cover them all in one article. So look for more reasons in upcoming articles.
One of the many reasons we get on our bicycles is as a form of exercise. It’s the perfect form of exercise: you get the cardiovascular benefits and weight-loss benefits and yet, it is much easier on the joints than running or walking. It is a form of exercise that you can do with your whole family: school-children, parents and grandparents can all participate in a leisurely bicycle ride and you can bring along the toddlers as well.
It’s a great exercise for losing weight. Runners will say they burn more calories, but for a similar effort level the difference over the course of an hour is only 60 calories.* That extra 60 calories is because runners use their upper body more as they move. Running and cycling at a similar effort level will exercise the legs fairly similarly, but cycling lacks the pounding impact of running. If you are a runner, you’ll find cycling is great cross-training exercise and you will be able to go out on the bicycle longer than you can on a run, thus burning more calories.
If you are just starting out on an exercise program, don’t push yourself to the point of miserable exhaustion. Keep yourself motivated with elements of fun and pleasure: go with girlfriends who will keep you on pace, ride in a beautiful place and set a goal to go just a little further or faster next time.
I won’t prescribe any diets for those looking to lose weight, except to think when you are offered some high calorie foods: do I really need this? When I know what it takes to burn off those extra calories, the answer is usually “not!” Think smaller portions, better quality foods, plenty of water and be smart with the sweets. If you’ll feel deprived without chocolate (I would!) have just a bite sized or single-serving portion–and you can enjoy it every day!
How Many Calories are You Burning? Bicycling 1 hour for a (140 lb. woman)
• Leisurely ride along the bike trail with the family: Light effort: 10-11.9 mph—381 calories
• Running a few errands or commuting to work: Moderate effort: 12-13.9 mph—508 calories
• An exercise ride with your girlfriends: Vigorous effort: 14-15.9 mph—636 calories
• A day where you ride to push yourself: bravely heading into the wind and riding up hills, on purpose: Very Fast: 16-19mph—763 calories
• Holding onto a “Race Pace”: More than 20 mph—1017 calories +
(*For a 140 lb female for one hour: running at a 9-minute/mile pace—6.7mph: 697 calories; one hour of bicycling at a vigorous pace—14-15.9 mph: 636 calories)