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In one hour of moderate cycling, the average person will burn approximately 596 calories, according to Harvard Medical School.
More detailed answer:
Let’s dig into this a little further.
First, we’ll cross-check the figure by looking at another independent source, the Department of Health Services at the State of Wisconsin. According to their figures, the same average person cycling at the same rate will burn 563 calories.
That’s great. Both sources are quoting very similar amounts of calories.
Breaking down our Quick Answer above, “moderate cycling” is defined as outdoor cycling on smooth paved surfaces such as roads at a speed of between 12-13.9 mph (19-22 kph). It doesn’t include mountain biking or BMX riding, which tend to be more strenuous and therefore burn calories at a faster rate.
Go faster and you’ll burn more calories. Go slower and you’ll burn fewer.
An “average person” is defined as a person of around 155 Lbs or 70 Kg. A heavier person would burn calories faster per minute. A lighter person would burn less.
Let’s take a look now at a few ways to increase the number of calories you burn when you go out cycling.
How can you increase the calories burned when cycling?
If you’re looking to lose fat, then burning calories through physical exercise is only half the answer. You need to combine this with a sensible eating program and, if you have any health concerns, always speak to your doctor or an appropriate health professional before making any changes.
That being said, you can burn A LOT of calories through cycling, and there are plenty of ways to really push the needle and burn an even higher rate of calories as you pedal along.
Let’s take a look at some of the quickest wins to max out our burn rate.
If you think about it, you’re only actually burning calories when you’re pedaling. Whilst it’s tempting to think that you’re pedaling all the time, there’ll be lots of times when you’re not: Slowing down as you approach a Stop sign. Freewheeling down a hill. Just taking a breather.
Make sure that you take every opportunity to keep your legs turning, even on those occasions, and you can easily up your burn rate. Start off by just keeping your legs going all the time (without feeding in too much power) then, as you get used to this, up the power rate and keep pushing hard all the time.
For Roadies, hit the trails
Compare the calorie burn rates for road cycling and mountain biking and you’ll notice that trail riders use more calories than roadies. In fact, around 6% more for an average size rider.
That’s logical because mountain biking tends to be more of a whole-body workout – you’re throwing yourself and your body around as you tear up the trails. In comparison, road cycling is much more flowing, with a rider’s legs doing the bulk of the work and the rest of the body just there for balance.
Less muscles engaged = less calories used.
Take every opportunity
The more time you have on the bike the more calories you’ll burn up. Simple as that.
If you do your riding on the weekend now and commute to work by car or public transport the rest of the time, then it might be worth considering a change.
Imagine that your office is a 30-minute bike journey away from your house and you work 5 days a week. Ditching the car and getting that 1-hour round trip by bike for 5 days will burn nearly 3000 calories extra. And that’s on top of your weekend riding.
When you ride by yourself it can sometimes be tough to motivate yourself for the big climbs. Or even to get out and cycle on a cold winter’s day at all!
It’s different if you’ve made a commitment to someone else though. Then you have to get out on the bike in the chilliest of conditions, and you have to keep up with them on the hardest climbs.
It all adds up to more calories burnt and gets you closer to your goals.
We looked earlier at the calories you’ll burn cycling at a moderate pace of 12-13.9 mph. What if you put your foot down and increase your speed?
Well, take it up to 14-15.9 mph and you’ll burn 25% more calories per hour. Think you can go faster? Ok, at 16-19 mph you’ll burn 50% more calories than you would at 12-13.9 mph. And at over 20mph you’ll be burning well over 100% more calories for every hour you’re in the saddle!
Transform your body through cycling – here’s what that looks like
If you’re on a weight-loss journey right now (or thinking about starting one) then you might be wondering what you can achieve through cycling.
Take a look at this video to see how one woman totally transformed her body (and her life) through taking up cycling. It’s an incredible result and shows that anyone can do it.
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