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Bike to Burn Calories

Biking is classified as an aerobic activity. Any aerobic activity is heart-friendly and boosts the intake of oxygen in the body. Biking can be an outdoor activity or carried out indoors on a stationary bike.

Calories Burned Biking

The number of calories exhausted while biking depends on the weight of the biker and intensity and duration of the workout. The terrain also influences the calories burnt during biking. A bike ride on a rough or an uphill terrain will burn more calories as compared to a flat surface.

Burning Calories per Hour

Moderate Biking: According to Department of Health and Family Services, State of Wisconsin, an average 155 pound person, bicycling at 12 to 13.9 mph burns 563 calories in an hour. However, the calories burned will change depending on the weight of the person, for example, a 190 pound person cycling with same intensity can burn 127 more calories.

Vigorous Biking: Vigorous biking is a good cardiovascular exercise and burns considerable calories in an hour. A 155 pound person cycling at 14 to 15.9 mph can expend 704 calories per hour. The calories burned shoot up significantly if the intensity is increased up to 16 to 19 mph, with 140 more calories being burned.

Mountain Biking: Mountain biking requires physical strength, force and stamina, as the terrain is rough, hilly and off road. A normal person of 155 pound will burn 598 calories in an hour of mountain biking.

Stationary Biking: Most stationary bikes come with in built adjustable settings and timers to tune the intensity levels. A 155 pound person, biking at moderate intensity can burn 493 calories in an hour. The calories will automatically go up as the intensity increases.

Cycle Racing: Cycling at 16 to 19 mph is termed as racing. An average 130 pound person burns 708 calories while cycling at this speed, while a 190 pound person will expends 327 more calories at the same rate of motion.

Leisure Biking: Cycling at an easy pace of less than 10 mph is termed as leisure or light biking. An average 70 kg person will expend 281 calories with an hour of leisurely cycling.

Burning Calories per Mile

The amount of calories that a cyclist burns per mile depends on various factors such as body weight, speed, terrain, and skills. A normal 130 pound person, cycling at 10 miles/hr will burn 35 calories in a mile. The calories burnt will be higher as the cyclist accelerates. Also, the more a cyclist weighs, the more calories are burned, as the intensity and effort put in by the cyclist is greater.

The calculation of number of calories burned by any activity or exercise is achieved by a standard formulae, that is, [(METs x 3.5 x weight in kg) /200] x time in minutes. METs stands for metabolic units, which is the number that symbolizes the energy used while cycling 10 miles. The Compendium of Physical Activities Tracking Guide shows that METs value of 4.0 for leisure biking (10 mph) and 8.5 for mountain biking.

Why bike?

Biking is a favoured form of exercise of many fitness enthusiasts and experts. Cycling puts less strain on the joints than running or jogging, it is easy, and it engages all the muscle groups in the human body. Cycling also increases stamina and endurance and is thus considered a great fitness regimen.

Medical studies and research indicate that an average person should burn approximately 2000 calories a week. Stable cycling spends about 300 calories in an hour. Some studies suggest that 30 minutes of cycling everyday will knock about five kilograms of fat in a year.

It is advisable for a beginner to be nice and steady. Start with 1 to 3 miles of cycling, three times a week for at least a fortnight, and slowly increase the intensity and the distance to 6 to 8 miles. Beginners over the age of 40 should consult their physician first to avoid any complications and discomfort.


Submitted on January 16, 2014