Bicycling can play a key role in your weight-loss plans.
Weight loss is never easy, but if you love the outdoors and like the chance to use a method of transportation other than a car or walking, cycling could be an ideal part of your fitness plan. Bicycling provides aerobic exercise that can keep your heart and lungs healthy and help you burn more calories than strength training or targeted exercises. If you're new to cycling, talk to your doctor before you begin your fitness plan to ensure your body is healthy enough to cycle.
Practice cycling until you're comfortable on a bike. Begin by riding on a flat, even surface such as a cycling track, beach or smooth concrete at a relatively slow pace. As you gain strength and skill, graduate to higher-paced cycling on more challenging surfaces such as hills. The amount of time it will take to build up to a full cycling workout varies depending upon your cycling experience and physical fitness, but it can range from a day or two to several weeks.
Cycle for a minimum of 30 minutes per day on most days of the week. You'll need to burn 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat. It takes more calories to propel the motion of larger people, so the number of calories you'll burn with each cycling session depends upon your weight. According to Harvard Health Publications, a 125-pound person will burn about 240 calories cycling at 12 miles per hour for 30 minutes, while a 185-pound person will burn 355 calories.
Increase the speed at which you cycle and the period of time you spend cycling. If you cycle for an hour each day, you'll need to cycle between five and seven days per week to lose 1 pound per week if you're not doing any other exercise. You can increase the number of calories you burn by incorporating interval training. Try cycling at a moderate pace for one to two minutes, then increasing your pace rapidly for another minute or two. Continue alternating your speed. Cycling uphill is more challenging, and can also help you increase the number of calories you burn.
Cut calories from your diet. While it's possible to lose weight with exercise alone, dieting can speed up the pace of your weight loss. Try eating smaller, more frequent meals, and focus on low-calorie snacks such as fruits and vegetables. Get rid of empty calories such as potato chips and sugary drinks, and eat lean, healthy proteins rather than fast food.
In most states, bicyclers have to cycle on the road, not the sidewalk.
Always wear your helmet when cycling.