Biking is a great way to stay physically fit and active. It is not just a green mode of transportation, but it also complements your regular exercise routine, especially if your goal is weight loss. That said, many people are asking one question – how many calories do you burn biking?
Counting calories is common amongst people who would like to shed unwanted pounds. It does not only strengthen your muscles, but it is also an effective way to reach your target weight. If you want to know more about how many calories does cycling burn, we got you covered. Keep on reading and learn from the insights we’ll be sharing in this short guide.
Table of Contents
- 1 What are Calories?
- 2 Factors that Affect Calorie Burned
- 3 How Many Calories Do You Burn Riding a Bike?
- 4 How to Track Your Calories from Cycling
- 5 How to Burn More Calories from Cycling
What are Calories?
Before we discuss average calories burned biking, let’s quickly talk about calories. It is important that you know the latter for a better understanding of how you can lose some and achieve the weight that you want.
In a nutshell, calorie is a measurement of energy. To be more technical, it is “the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius.” Most people use the word calorie to refer to a thousand calories, which is technically kcal.
In nutrition, calorie refers to the amount of energy in a food or drink. This is one of the most important terms you need to understand for weight management. The higher the calories, the more it can contribute to your weight. Hence, if you want to lose weight, you need to count how many calories are burned in a physical activity, and in this article, our focus is its relation to biking – either indoors or outdoors.
Factors that Affect Calorie Burned
Computing caloric burn in cycling is not as straightforward as it seems. While we can give you general figures, as we would in the next section of this guide, this should not be seen as anything conclusive. The exact amount of calories that you will burn from cycling depends on numerous factors, including those we’ll be talking about below.
The younger you are, the more calories your body can burn from cycling. The older you get, the slower your metabolic rate becomes, which also means that you will be burning fewer calories. From neurological changes to muscle tissue loss, many factors are responsible for this slow down.
While most people assume that it is a myth that gender affects calorie burn, it is in fact true, and science backs such an assertion. Men lose more calories than women, not just in cycling but also in other activities. One reason for this is because men often weigh more, which allows them to lose more weight. Another reason is that men have more muscles that will allow them to burn more calories. The hormones of men also have a crucial role to play in the relationship between gender and caloric burn.
Your genes are also major culprits in your weight loss journey. Have you ever wondered why some people remain thin regardless of how much they eat? This is because of hereditary factors. The same can also be blamed why there are people who find it extremely hard to lose weight regardless of the physical activity they have.
Yes, biking is a great way to lose weight. However, that does not mean that cycling alone will do the trick. Even if you spend hours on the bike daily, if you are eating a lot, then your physical activity is useless. This makes it important to emphasize a healthy and well-balanced diet if you want to lose weight biking.
From the things mentioned, this is perhaps the most crucial factor that impacts calories burned per hour when cycling. Logically, the more intense your cycling routine is, the more calories you will end up burning. Nonetheless, this does not mean that you should overdo it. Make sure that you control your intensity depending on what your body can handle.
How Many Calories Do You Burn Riding a Bike?
As earlier mentioned, there is no magic number. If you want to know bike calories burned peer mile, consider different factors that will come into play. Your gender, weight, and pace are some things that matter. Whether you are biking indoors or outdoors, on smooth surfaces or paved terrains will also influence your caloric burn.
Calories Burned Depending on Intensity
If you bike slowly, you will burn lesser calories. On the other hand, the faster you are, the faster your body will be burning calories.
Cycling at a Moderate Speed
First, you need to understand what a moderate speed is. This can be subjective depending on the rider, making it difficult to have a standard figure on biking calories burned per hour. Looking at the data from Harvard University, moderate cycling is a speed of 12 to 13.9 miles per hour. Below is a quick summary of how much you can burn at such a pace depending on your weight, assuming that you are biking for 30 minutes:
- 125 pounds: 210 to 240 calories
- 155 pounds: 260 to 298 calories
- 185 pounds: 311 to 355 calories
Cycling at a Fast Speed
If the figures above do not sound appealing to you, then you will need to bike faster. You need to have a high-intensity ride. To know if you are biking at a fast pace, you must be breathing hard and fast, which makes it almost impossible to have a normal conversation. Here is a quick summary of how many calories does a bike ride burn during an intense pace for half an hour:
- 125 pounds: 300 to 495 calories
- 155 pounds: 372 to 614 calories
- 185 pounds: 444 to 733 calories
Calories Burned Depending on Type of Ride
Aside from intensity, the ride type is also a crucial factor that influences bike burn calories. There is a slight variation depending if you are biking indoors or outdoors.
Cycling in a Stationary Bike
Wondering about how many calories burned spinning? If you are using an indoor bike for 30 minutes and you weigh 125 pounds, you will burn approximately 210 calories. On the other hand, if you weigh 155 pounds and spinning at a moderate pace, you will burn up to 260 calories. Make it more intense and you can burn up to 400 calories.
Calories burned indoor cycling is usually lower compared to outdoor biking because you are in a more comfortable environment. From wind to terrain, the environment is more controlled. Although, most of the advanced bikes today are equipped with advanced settings that will allow you to mimic outdoor conditions even when you are indoors.
For more intense biking burning calories, it is best that you do it outdoors. Whether you are heading to work or just having a leisurely ride, biking outdoors will let you shed calories, especially if you are on an intense ride. When you are biking at moderate speed, you will lose up to 240 calories if you weigh 125 pounds, 298 calories if you are 155 pounds, and 355 calories if you are 185 pounds.
If you want your ride to be more intense to burn more calories bike riding, consider mountain biking. You will be in more challenging terrains with difficult uphill and downhill sections. You will burn 255 calories if you weigh 125 pounds, 316 calories if you are 155 pounds, and 377 calories if you are 185 pounds.
How to Track Your Calories from Cycling
Monitoring bike calories burned per hour requires the use of the right tools. It isn’t a simple guessing game. You cannot just ride a bike for an hour and assume that you have lost the numbers mentioned above. It is crucial to invest in the right gadgets to make tracking more consistent and accurate.
Invest in a Heart Rate Monitor
The best thing that you can do is to wear a heartrate monitor. It is worn for measuring your pulse when you are working out, which is an indication of the intensity of your exercise. Fitbit and Garmin are some of the top brands to consider. They have smartwatches, which can also be a functional accessory. You can download an app and use it for tracking important metrics that will gauge caloric burn and other important statistics. You can also use it for counting steps and tracking sleep, among other things.
Install a Power Meter
If you are looking for something more accurate in evaluating calories burned on exercise bike, the best thing you can do is use a power meter. It can be in the form of crank arms, pedals, and hubs.
How to Burn More Calories from Cycling
In general, cycling is a low-intensity exercise. This means that you should not expect to burn a lot of calories. Nonetheless, you can do many things to burn more, including those mentioned below.
1. Climb Hills
One of the most obvious ways to increase cycling calories burned per hour is to make the activity more intense, which you can do by climbing uphill. You will be exerting more effort as you conquer tough ascents. If there is a power meter installed, you will see watts rising as you double your power output. If you can, it is best to stand up when you are uphill for increased intensity. However, if you are a newbie, being on the saddle is a more comfortable way of burning more calories.
2. Make Biking a Routine
A leisurely bike ride is a great way to burn calories. Even if you are not burning that much, if you do it every day, you will feel its effects. Not to mention, this is also a good way for you to go green. Consider biking daily on your way to work or school. If you have to do a grocery run, use your bike. Install a carrier to store your things. The more weight you add to your bike, the more intense you will cycle.
3. Conquer More Challenging Terrains
As we have emphasized in this article, increasing intensity is a great way to burn more calories. Another good way of doing this is to bike on more challenging terrains. Biking on paved surfaces is comfortable, but if you want to burn more calories, consider gravel or mud on your terrain. This is also a great way to build strength and endurance.
4. Mix it Up
Biking alone will have insignificant impacts on your weight loss journeys. Complement your ride with a regular exercise routine. Especially on the days that you cannot bike, look for other exercises that you can do. From jogging to yoga to swimming, there are plenty of other activities that will have a huge impact on your weight loss journey.
5. Join a Group Ride
Biking should never be boring. If you ride alone, chances are, you will be more relaxed. This complacency can feel comfortable, but this will also lessen the calories that you are burning. A good solution is to ride with a group. This will not only make you more energetic, but it also forces you to be more competitive. You will feel pressured to keep up with the rest of the group, and this is an excellent way to make your ride more intense.
With the things mentioned above, you should have already known how many calories do you burn cycling. There is no single best way to answer this question. It will range from 210 to 400 calories. This will depend on several factors, such as your weight, intensity of the ride, and whether you are riding indoors or outdoors.
If there’s one key takeaway in our discussions about how bike riding burns calories, it would be that biking alone is not enough. If you are serious about your weight loss journey, complement your bike rides with other exercises, and more importantly, watch what you eat. Losing weight is a combination of different things, so do not merely depend on cycling.