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Cycling for Weight Loss – 5 Reasons Why It’s a Great Idea

By Jiri Kaloc

People trying to lose weight are always encouraged to stay active. But there are so many different sports to choose from. Should you start cycling to lose weight? Let’s take a look at the reasons why it’s a great idea.

It helps you get into a calorie deficit

Cycling burns calories. Increasing energy expenditure helps create a calorie deficit. This is important because you can only lose weight in a deficit. Your body takes the missing calories from your own energy reserves, which typically results in burning body fat. That’s a good start but the same can be said for almost any type of physical activity. Does cycling offer any other advantages for weight loss?

It’s a sustainable and repeatable activity

Cycling is a low-impact, non-weight-bearing exercise, which is a big advantage compared to walking or running. Especially for beginners and people with extra weight or arthritis, cycling offers a way to burn calories without putting a lot of stress on the joints. The fact that most of your body weight is supported by the bicycle also means you can ridemuch longer than you could run or play team sports. It also makes recovery faster and the risk of injury lower, which will allow you to complete more rides per week. All of this is very helpful for increasing cumulative energy expenditure.

Cycling fits into your life

The most common problem with exercising for weight loss is the lack of time. Cycling offers an advantage here as well. You can use cycling as a form of transport and burn calories while doing errands or commuting. Here are a few ideas for implementing cycling into your regular life:

  • Ride your bike to the store for smaller shops
  • Pick up or deliver mail to the post office on a bike
  • Deal with city or government office visits while cycling
  • Use your bike to go to the dentist or a doctor’s check-up
  • Visit family and friends using your bicycle
  • Commute to work via bike
Find the best – which means safest – route from home to the workplace and do a trial run, preferably on a weekend. © Profimedia

It’s clear that you can slip in hours of activity every week doing the things you would normally do. And research shows that this can actually have an impact on weight loss. A 2015 study showed that people who switched to commuting on a bicycle from driving or public transport lost 7 kg on average over the course of a year when riding 30 minutes each way.

You can enjoy it long term

There’s more to cycling than just utility. It’s a sport that gets you outdoors among trees. It allows you to cover much more distance than you would be able to on foot. You can explore new places out in nature and inside the city. You experience the thrill of going fast and the joy of conquering a hill.

Sticking with exercise long term is what counts. Many people start going to the gym for weight loss, going through the motions on a treadmill and workout machines, just to tick a box. It’s really hard to maintain motivation that way. But with cycling, you have a good chance of falling in love with the sport and finding new friends or strengthening bonds with your family over this new hobby. Then it takes no mental effort at all to ride every day.

You can do it all year round

Most activities that are fun outdoors such as team sports, running, hiking or walking can’t really be done indoors. Or maybe they can but become really boring like running on a treadmill. With modern indoor cycling apps like Zwift, Rouvy, FulGaz, Sufferfest or TrainerRoad, you can truly enjoy cycling no matter the weather outside. All you need is a turbo trainer to mount your bike on and a subscription for the app and you can make your indoor training sessions really engaging. You can socialize with other riders on very realistic or made-up routes, compete in races, and improve your fitness – all while burning body fat.

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