Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can reduce your risk of chronic disease when you are overweight or obese. If you still need another reason to exercise, think about how riding a bike used to make you feel when you were a kid. Bike riding is a fun and easy way to burn extra calories and lose some weight.
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Biking and Weight Loss
The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends combining the three forms of exercise, aerobic, flexibility and strength for the maximum health benefits. Biking is an aerobic exercise, which increases your heart and breathing rates. It also increases your metabolism, causing you to use more energy than you would at rest. Using more energy means burning calories -- the key to weight loss.
Duration of Activity
For the best weight loss benefit, try to bike for 60 minutes a day, five days per week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. For greater health benefits and when losing weight, double your aerobics to 300 minutes per week. A 185-pound person bicycling at a moderate 12 to 13.9 mph burns 355 calories every 30 minutes, a total caloric expenditure of 3,550 calories or more per week.
Heart Rate and Exercise
The intensity of your bike riding is also important. Monitor your heart rate to evaluate your progress. A resting heart rate is usually between 60 and 80 beats per minute. Subtract your age from 220. If you're 55, subtract 55 from 220, which equals 165. Multiply 165 by 0.50, which equals 82.5. Then multiply 165 by 0.75 to find your maximum heart rate, which is 123.75. Check your heartbeat regularly while exercising, with the lower rate of 82 heartbeats indicating an easy to moderate workout and the higher rate of 123 heartbeats per minute indicating a high-intensity workout.
Benefits of Biking
A regular biking routine provides an effective way of burning calories and losing weight. While riding a bicycle utilizes the large muscle groups in a dynamic and rhythmic manner, it is also easy on your joints. If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, low-impact aerobics like biking are often recommended by doctors to minimize your chance of injuries to your ankles, knees and hips. It's also a stress-relieving activity, allowing you to relax as you peddle along the street or bike path outdoors, or when the weather is bad, on a stationary bike in the gym.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Exercise
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- Harvard Heart Letter: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- University of Northern Iowa - Sustainable Tourism and Environment Program: Economic and Health Benefits of Bicycling in Iowa
- ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription; Mitchell H. Whaley, et al.