Is cycling good for weight loss?

17 May 2022


Cycling is a fun activity and one of the most sustainable means of transportation. Cycling also has incredible health benefits. This post will look into the often asked questions like, “How many calories does cycling burn?”, “Is cycling good for weight loss?” and “How much cycling is needed to lose weight?”.

How many calories do different exercises burn?

  • Running, fast: 897 kcal
  • Cycling, fast: 861 kcal
  • Rope jumping, fast: 838 kcal
  • Running, moderate: 735 kcal
  • Swimming, laps, vigorous: 717 kcal
  • Cycling, moderate: 717 kcal
  • Rope jumping, slow: 560 kcal
  • Swimming, moderate: 430 kcal
  • Walking, fast: 265 kcal
  • Walking, moderate: 191 kcal

How many calories does cycling burn?

  • Cycling, very fast: 1,184 kcal per hour
  • Cycling, fast: 861 kcal per hour
  • Cycling, moderate: 717 kcal per hour
  • Cycling, slow: 574 kcal per hour

Calories burned in 1 hour by a person weighing 70 kgs by

Some activities burn more calories than cycling. But that doesn’t mean that you should prefer those or that they are better for losing weight. There’s more to losing weight than just calories burned per hour, especially since the numbers are always estimations. 

Cycling may burn fewer calories than other, more intense activities, but it makes it up in many other practical aspects.

Why is cycling good for losing weight?

Cycling is a low-impact activity. That means it’s very gentle on your joints, muscles and tendons. It doesn’t require any jumping or jerky movements and is safer than many other (more intense) sports, especially if you’re overweight. 

Cycling may even help you recover from various injuries. So you could say cycling is suitable for almost everyone — except perhaps for those who have forgotten how to ride a bike.

Cycling may burn fewer calories per hour than more intense sports, but it’s easier to practise for an extended time, so the total expenditure can still be higher. 

Some activities may use a little more energy, but people can usually bike at least twice or three times as long as they can run or swim. Riding a bike isn’t very technical and is easily accessible. Not to mention, it doesn’t require a gym membership, booking a court or getting a team together.

Cycling is not only good for losing weight but also for your overall health. Cardio exercises like cycling, running and swimming train your lungs and cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels). Cardio increases your stamina, lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol, enhances sleep, reduces stress, and has many other benefits.

How much cycling should I do to lose weight?

That depends on how fast you wish to lose weight (and how much you like to eat!). The general understanding is that you need to burn about 7,700 calories to lose one kilogram of body fat. Based on this, if you can burn ~700 kcal per hour, you would need to ride for at least 11 hours to burn 1 kg. However, cycling 11 hours a week is quite unrealistic for the average person.

In reality, losing 500 g of fat per week is far more sustainable. That would mean you’d need to take your bike out for a spin for 5.5 hours every week. That’s doable, but what’s even easier is if you support your fitness journey with a healthy diet. If you create a daily deficit of a couple hundred calories, then spending just 3 hours every week with your two-wheeled friend may be enough.

Losing weight at a reasonable pace has tonnes of benefits. You won’t have to train every day, and you’ll also have time and energy for your work, family and hobbies. You’ll retain your strength, endurance and muscles and have a reduced chance of hurting yourself. If you lose weight slowly, there’s a bigger chance that you won’t slip up, will reach your goal, and won’t relapse once you’re there.

So is cycling good for weight loss?

In short, yes. But taking care of your health should be a lifelong habit, and it’s hard to keep it up if you’re forcing yourself to do something you don’t like. 

You can lose weight with any sport as long as you burn more calories than you eat. More intensive sports may burn more calories per hour but may cause you to burn yourself out faster. So, it’s best to choose an activity that you love, that’s accessible to you and that you can see yourself practising for months (and years) to come.

If you want to combine the various health benefits of cycling with making extra money on your own schedule, then you should consider becoming a Bolt Food courier. You’d be your own boss and get paid weekly for delivering food orders. It’s a genuine win-win situation! 

Read more about Bolt Food in Malta and sign up today!

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