Last Updated on January 7, 2021 by Johannes Kristjansson
How many calories do you actually burn while biking or cycling? It’s a popular question these days. But the fact is – there’s no straight or simple answer. the calories you burn every mile you take on your bike may be completely different from mine.
It all depends on three main factors: 1.the distance traveled… 2. the speed of the ride… and 3. Your weight. To give you an overall perspective, the average person will burn somewhere between 450 to 750 calories during one hour of biking.
That’s quite a range. To more accurately calculate the actual amount you burn, you need to factor in your total body weight, how fast you were going consistently (without coasting) and how long you cycled in a single stretch.
People who are slim and fit have bodies that operate more efficiently. Those folks, use up less energy and burn fewer calories per mile than people who are less fit.
Cycling Keeps You Active
Staying active is a key component to better overall health and riding a bike is a great way to burn off extra calories.
It’s better than walking in terms of calories burned. But it’s not quite as effective at burning calories as running, since there’s less body resistance and you’re probably not always peddling (or at least, not to the same level of intensity) when on your bike.
There are loads of ways to stay active and lose weight. It’s a matter of finding a physical activity you like. Personally, I can’t think of a more enjoyable exercise than biking. It’s something we’ve all done since we were young children and there’s no age limit.
You can go at any pace you like and continually up your speeds and distance traversed over time. Cycling is a proven way to burn off those extra calories.
It’s also relatively safe for your body – particularly the joints like knees and ankles – since it’s a low impact activity.
A 200-Pound Cyclist Could Burn Nearly 900 Calories Per Hour
To give you a clearer view of how many calories biking does burn, let’s consider the following two examples.
A 150-pound person cycling at a pace of 14 mph, will burn about 48 cal per mile – or about 672 calories in an hour-long ride.
A 200-pound individual traveling at the same speed of 14 mph, will burn 64 cal per mile – or 896 calories from the same one hour of riding.
The difference between the two people in this example is due mostly to the heavier person requiring more energy to travel over that same stretch of path or road.
What Are Calories Anyway?
A calorie can be defined as a unit of energy. Calories measure the energy in the food we eat and the reserves we burn off through everyday activities and exercise.
Different foods have different calorie totals, just as different forms of exercise and activities burn off a different number of calories. The more physically demanding the exercise, the more calories you’re likely to expend.
When you eat more calories than you burn off through your daily activities, the net result is that you gain weight. Conversely, when you consume fewer calories than what you burn through things like cycling – you lose weight.
Over time, the differences add up and affect our bodies – one way or the other. A single pound of body fat is the equivalent of 3500 calories. Therefore, you need to burn up 3500 calories more than what you eat in total – in order to lose just one pound.
On the flip side, consuming 3500 calories more than you burn off over the same period of time means you’ll gain an extra pound.
Keep Yourself In Check
Take note of where you are weight-wise in relation to your goal. It doesn’t matter where you are today. What matters is where you’re going. To get where you want to take consistent effort.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. It will take weeks of burning calories on biking and through other activities to see those changes. Unfortunately, that’s where most people quit.
They don’t see results fast enough and wrongly assume that their workouts somehow aren’t working. But you’ve got to keep on the path. Don’t talk yourself out of it.
Get on your bike again today and go for a good run. Your body (and mind) will thank you later. Riding your bike every day is an excellent way to burn calories. The trick is to do it every day consistently over a set distance and time – and at a speed that works for you.
If losing weight and getting into better shape is important to you, you’ll want to make sure that the numbers work in your favor. In other words – you burn off more calories than you pack on.
Don’t overdo it. Small incremental gains over the long haul result in dramatic change. Pushing yourself to go too far or too fast can cause serious injury and can set you back for months.
Take your time and expand your capacity by wisely challenging yourself.
How To Burn More Calories Per Mile Biking
So you want to ramp up your calorie-burning cycling, but you don’t know where to start. The simplest answer is to ride your bike over longer distances. The longer you ride as part of your daily workout, the more calories you burn off.
Get a steady pace going and then go for an extended period of time. it’s this aerobic exercise that strengthens your heart and cardiovascular system, which is crucial for the efficient distribution of oxygen throughout the body.
But it’s important to remember that the safest way to go about this is to gradually build up the distance covered on your bike. Don’t arbitrarily double your distance to challenge yourself.
Incremental improvements of 10 – 15% at a time and getting comfortable with this increase before upping it again works just fine in building endurance.
Improving one’s physical conditioning takes time. Trying to rush your development is dangerous. Be patient with yourself as you continue to grow a little bit at a time
Keep peddling without coasting
It’s easy to coast downhill, or whenever you hit flat land and you already have momentum behind you. What’s important to remember is that coasting never burns any calories.
Coasting while cycling is another factor that makes it difficult to calculate the actual burn rate of calories when you’re riding. It’s human nature to want to coast when given the opportunity.
But it’s far better for you if you keep hammering at those pedals as long as you’re on a bike. Cycling, by its very nature, doesn’t require consistent effort to propel yourself forward, as running does.
If you stop pedaling after gaining some momentum, you’re still advancing. But if you stop running, you’re progression is immediately halted. Therefore, the number of calories you’re actually burning at any point in time while riding can vary.
Get your exercise in before your morning meal. Then after your workout, you should eat a hearty breakfast. But pay attention to what you consume and make healthy choices whenever possible.
Motivate yourself to get moving before you indulge because if you eat first, you’ve missed your best opportunity to get in some beneficial exercise. This way you’re getting your morning bike ride in before ending the previous evening’s fast with a meal.
This tends to encourage the body to burn more fat as you ride, depending on the length and intensity of your ride.
Mix up your cycling routines
For example, if you commute to work on your bike, change the route don’t take the same path every time.
Not only does this keep things interesting from a visual perspective, but it also varies the amount of exercise you actually get. If road biking is your usual workout, try adding in some mountain biking or interval training on a stationary bike.
If you typically rice on paved roads, get out on a gravel path for a different and more challenging experience. Once or twice a week, try doubling your average riding time. That’s a good way to build up your endurance while varying your routine to keep things interesting.
Ride with a friend or join a group in your area. This can be good for motivation and help you maintain a consistent exercise regimen. You’ll want to be able to keep up with the group so you’ll probably have to work a little harder.
While taking those longer rides, you’ll need a way to replenish your energy. Drink water and eat a banana instead of a power bar. Bananas are 120 calories each while the average power bar comes in at 240 calories – twice what you’d get from the banana.
Perhaps the most important way to burn more calories when biking is to make getting on your bike and going for a good run a routine habit. Consistency counts. Every day you do it builds on the one before.
Those days quickly turn into weeks and when it happens, you’ll begin to notice some results. The more frequently you ride the more calories you’re going to burn.
So get up and go for a ride every day and you’ll keep burning those calories with every mile.