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How to Burn Calories Cycling

Updated on May 23, 2012
CyclingFitness profile image

Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. A keen cyclist, runner, and obstacle racer who ran his first ultra-marathon in 2016.

Cycling is a great way to burn calories

Whether you're wanting to improve your health or simply shift a few extra pounds from round your mid-section it's good the know how to burn calories cycling and exactly how many calories you can burn too so you can aim to hit your weight loss goals

How to burn calories cycling- and have fun too like this mountain biker on Win Hill in the Peak District.
How to burn calories cycling- and have fun too like this mountain biker on Win Hill in the Peak District. | Source

Cycling is a great way to burn calories

Cycling can be performed either indoors or outdoors. Whether you're indoors at the gym or outdoors on local roads or trails it's a great activity to help you lose weight. Cycling burns calories is a great way to be healthy.

How many calories do you burn cycling?

Cycling is a great exercise for burning calories

How many calories does cycling burn per hour?

In general a 70 kg (11 stone) adult will burn around 450 calories per hour riding their bicycle on a pan flat road at an easy pace of 16-20 km per hour. The figure is inflated further by factors such as

A general idea on calories burnt in a 30 minute cycling workout (dependant on weight and fitness levels is;

  1. 30 minutes recreational easy cycling at around 5mph will burn around 75-150 calories
  2. 30 minutes moderate cycling at 10-14 miles per hour will burn around 200-400 calories
  3. 30 minutes of hard cycling at 15mph and above will burn around 300-600 calories

Plus be aware some of of these factors which influence calories burned while cycling

  • Cyclists weight affects calories burnt. The heavier the rider the more calories burnt.
  • Riding uphill forces the cyclist to work against gravity and increase their workload. This leads to increased calories burnt.
  • Riding faster than 16-20 km/h raises the number of calories burnt per hour cycling
  • Mountain biking at 16-20 km/hour burns more calories as it's much harder to cycle through soft ground

How many calories can you burn cycling?
How many calories can you burn cycling?

Ways to increase the calories you burn cycling

Workouts to help you burn calories cycling

When considering how you can burn calories cycling you need to make a choice of which types of workouts will help you best to burn more calories cycling and edge towards your weight loss goals.

  • Mountain biking helps you to burn more calories cycling by forcing you to use your whole body and is a much more physically demanding form of cycling exercise to increase potential weight loss.
  • Cycling into the wind. Cycling into the wind can be hard work, especially over a long period of time.
  • Cycing uphill. Hills are hard work and therefore force our body to need more energy. It forces your working muscles to work harder as you need to generate a higher wattage (workload) to get yourself over a climb when compared to cycling on the flat.
  • Hit a spinning class. Spin cycling (indoor group cycling) classes are a great fun way to turbocharge your exercise regime. You'll be forced out of your normal comfort level to work harder to increase the amount of work you do throughout a 45 minute class.
  • Ride for longer. The longer you ride for the more at the same pace the more calories your burn. It's simple to increase your workout time by 10% to burn 10% more calories if you can maintain your usual pace.
  • Ride harder for the same amount of time. The harder you work while cycling the more calories you burn so if you can cover a bigger distance than your usual workout you'll burn more calories.


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    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks treehousebrandon for your comment, an exercise bike can be an alternative to riding outdoors. Thanks for your comment

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks ARUN KANTI for your comment. I have to admit though that while you say it's not recommended for those with high pressure (I assume high blood pressure?)- a shift in gears to a very low gear can mean that cycling remains a predominantly aerobic activity and that is a key characteristic of exercise for those with high blood pressure.

      Anyone with a heart ailment should be well aware of their doctor/ physician;s recommendations regarding exercise and follow them. I have a father with a sever heart defect who CAN cycle uphills as per his doctors orders and has been recommended to do so to reinforce his heart muscles.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 5 years ago from KOLKATA

      I usually use my bicycle for marketing jobs. It gives me a lot of pleasure and the scope to avoid unnecessarily carrying goods by hand, losing weight and keeping fit. Cycling uphill is not, however, recommended for those having high pressure or heart ailments. Useful hub. Thanks.

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks Natasha, Sadly cycling does build up an appetite versus the car but i'm sure you'd consider your food well to make the most of the cycling if your aim was weight loss. Thanks for your comment. CF

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      I basically use my bike instead of a car and I know I eat a whole lot more when I bike versus when I don't! If a person were trying to lose weight, I think cycling would be the way to go because you can burn so many calories and it's low-impact.