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Does Cycling Reduce Hips?

by
author image Kay Tang
Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.
Does Cycling Reduce Hips?
A woman is cycling in the gym. Photo Credit eldinhoid/iStock/Getty Images

While cycling conditions your lower body, reducing hip size depends on shedding excess fat around your hips. For fat-burning workouts, you can perform long low-intensity rides or high-intensity intervals. Spot reduction, however, is a myth. Weight loss will occur in all areas of your body, including your hips. Couple your cycling workouts with a nutritional plan that results in a calorie deficit. Perform five to 10 minutes of light cardio as a warm-up before each cycling workout.

Hip Fat Is Stubborn

The type of fat that collects around your hips is known as subcutaneous. These fat cells have an enzyme -- lipoprotein lipase -- that enables them to rapidly store more fat as well as hang onto fat. Because of this enzyme, it's difficult to shed excess weight around your hips and thighs. Subcutaneous fat doesn't pose the same health risks as visceral fat, which accumulates around your abdominal organs. Visceral fat breaks down easily and releases free fatty acids into your bloodstream, which can clog your arteries. These fatty acids also seep into and damage your liver, resulting in increased levels of insulin in your blood.

Commit to Cardio

A pound of fat equals 3,500 calories, so you’ll need a 500-calorie deficit each day to shed a pound in a week, according to the American Council on Exercise. If you cycle at a moderate intensity for a 30-minute workout, you’ll burn about 240 calories. To reach the 500-calorie target, you need to double the duration of your cycling workout to an hour. According to Harvard Health Publications, 30 minutes of cardio per day is enough to control your weight, but weight loss requires up to 60 minutes per day of sustained aerobic activity. By doing low-intensity and long-duration cycling workouts on a regular basis, you can trim excess weight -- including that in your hips.

Max Out for Fat Burn

Engage in high-intensity interval training, which consists of short bursts of exercise done at maximal intensity followed by active rest periods. A 20- to 30-minute HIIT workout burns as much fat as a long cardio workout done at moderate intensity. A beginner cycling workout can consist of six 30-second intervals performed at 80 to 90 percent of your maximum effort, according to “The Muscle & Fitness Guide to High Intensity Interval Training,” by Mark Gilbert. Follow each intense interval with a 2.5- to 3-minute recovery interval done at 50 percent of your maximum effort. Warm up and cool down with three minutes of leisurely cycling. If you have heart issues, this method can be too stressful and should be avoided.

Zoom Up Hills

Cycling up hills is a form of resistance training, boosting the intensity of your workouts. A 150-pound man can burn up to 10 calories per minute on a hill climb, according to “Ride Your Way Lean: The Ultimate Plan for Burning Fat and Getting Fit on a Bike,” by Selene Yeager. In addition, the overload provided by a hill helps to build lean muscle mass. For every pound of muscle gained, you’ll burn an extra 30 calories per day. Begin with an easy loop of three to five moderately steep hills. As you climb up the hill, shift into an easier gear and maintain a steady cadence of between 70 to 80 rpm. Because hill workouts are taxing on the body, limit this type of workout to one a week.

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