Cycling News

Answers to Common Bicycle Fitness Questions

Can I Get In Shape By Biking?

Yes, you can definitely get in shape by biking. Riding a bike is primarily a cardiovascular, or aerobic, form of exercise. It increases your heart rate and causes your body to burn more calories to provide energy. Biking at a moderate intensity can use up 400 calories in an hour, meaning it would take just under 9 hours of biking to burn a pound (which is 3500 calories). However, it confers several additional health benefits along the way.

Biking tones and strengthens the legs foremost, leading to solid calf muscles and firm, sculpted thighs. It also works the glutes and core, and, to a lesser degree, the arms and shoulders. That increased heart rate requires heavy breathing to keep the blood properly oxygenated, so both your heart and lungs will be strengthened and improve their efficiency the more you ride. Practically every part of you benefits from cycling.

Can I Lose Belly Fat By Biking?

Absolutely. Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, has been linked to a host of negative health effects. Packed in behind the abdominal wall, it is also the most stubborn fat to eliminate.

As previously mentioned, any time spent cycling will cause the body to go into fat burning mode. For men in particular, belly fat is the first fat to go — though the soft, subcutaneous fat will burn away before deeper visceral fat. Consistent physical activity of a moderate intensity is the key to dropping the “spare tire” around your waist. You can achieve this easily with a regular cycling routine.

How Long Should I Bike For A Good Workout?

The answer depends on your fitness level and biking experience. As with any exercise, you don’t want to push yourself beyond safe limits. Assuming moderate intensity, beginners should aim for 30 minutes of riding a day, and work their way up to an hour as they become acclimated. High-intensity training should be done in short interval bursts, and a total of 20 minutes in a day is more than enough for a great workout.

Is Biking Good For The Abs?

Yes, biking helps firm and develop your abdominal muscles. Part of riding successfully involves maintaining your balance. Your abs are constantly tensing and flexing while your ride to help keep you upright. You also contract your abdominal muscles when you pedal, to stabilize you as you push down. There are even ab exercises you can perform while riding for additional gains.

Is Cycling Better Than Running?

Cycling and running confer many of the same benefits, though in different degrees. They are nearly the same when it comes to their effects on cardiovascular health. In terms of muscle building, because pedaling is a form of resistance training, cyclist build some muscle mass in their lower body. Running is entirely cardiovascular, and results in a leaner, though toned, musculature.

In terms of weight loss, running edges out cycling, burning more calories over the same period of time spent exercising. However, the amount of time you can spend running is generally less than you can spend cycling. Running is harder on the bones and joints than cycling, due to the constant impacts of your feet hitting the ground. This is why cycling is known as a low impact exercise, and is particularly good for overweight people looking for a way to slim down without hurting themselves. It is also why cycling is ultimately the better exercise.

Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash

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