How to Bike to Lose Weight Without Gaining Mass in Your Legs

Riding a bike burns calories and can help you lose weight and not create big legs. Some body types build muscle more easily than others. Riding your bike provides non-impact aerobic exercise and contributes to burning body fat. Bicycling regularly can make your legs thinner. For anyone who has a tendency to bulk up from exercise, reducing resistance and paying attention to your technique will help you achieve weight loss without adding muscle mass.

Step 1

Choose a level bike path or safe street that doesn't have any hills. Riding your bike on a level surface provides less resistance for your leg muscles so that your workout won't create big legs.

Step 2

Warm up for five to 10 minutes at the beginning of your bike workout by pedaling slowly. This increases the blood flow to your muscles and causes your heart rate to increase in preparation for exercise.

Step 3

Bike in your aerobic training zone by paying attention to your breathing and exertion level. For aerobic benefits and losing weight, you need to bicycle at 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. Subtract your age from 220 to determine your maximum heart rate. Pedal hard enough so that you can talk, but not sing, to remain in your aerobic heart rate range.

Step 4

Slow down when you begin breathing too hard to talk. If you're pedaling so fast you're out of breath, you're beyond your aerobic training zone.

Step 5

Cool down from riding your bike by pedaling slowly for five to 10 minutes to give your heart rate time to slow down.

Step 6

Put one foot on a chair or bench and lean over as far as you comfortably can to stretch your hamstrings after your bicycling workout. Hold the stretch for a slow count of five; perform three repetitions for each leg. Stretch your calves by standing back from a wall and leaning forward with your hands braced on the wall and your feet flat on the floor. Lean forward until you feel the stretch in your calf muscles. Repeat the stretch two more times.

Tip

Stretching regularly helps to elongate your muscles to create a leaner appearance. Adding yoga or Pilates workouts to your exercise program can increase your flexibility and make stretching a regular part of your life. While not a substitute for aerobic exercise, these disciplines contribute to creating a healthy body and confident self-image.

Gradually increase your exercise with an aim to performing an hour of aerobic exercise most days of the week to make your body more efficient at burning fat.

Warning

Always wear a helmet when bicycling, even for short rides.

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