Monday, 30 May 2011

Cycling for exercise and weight loss, as oppose to getting around.

While I cycle for pleasure, speed, freedom and economic reasons there are many people who use cycling as a form of official exercise for health and weight loss. So while I might not be a fitness trainer here is some basic information that I have been able to research about the benefits of cycling, using myself as the example I have calculated:

  • 30 min cycle at 12-14 mph the result is 230 calories burned, compared to
  • 30 min walking at 3mph the result is 115.
  • 30 min running at 8mph the result is 355
  • 30 min running at 6mph the result is 264
  • 30min metro ride where you spend 3 minutes using the stairs the result is 21
So the winner is clearly running fast. How ever I really don’t enjoy running and as one website recommends its better to take up a kind of exercise you will enjoy, otherwise you just wont stick to it. 
here is a handy chart, just to compare


The results are also pretty interesting as I was always under the impression that cycling burned less calories than walking, but the one flaw in the calculation system is that it is probably only calculated with consistent cycling at consistent speeds. Not stopping and restarting at lights or slowly weaving in and out of traffic. how ever what will definitely lower the calorie loss is free-wheeling. For those of you that are not familiar with the term free-wheeling is when you stop pedalling on the downhill slopes, essentially just sitting on your ass and letting gravity do the hard work. When you walk you cant free-wheel, so the method of calculating calories for cycling becomes more difficult.

One thing that all the websites seem in agreement about though is the benefits of increasing your heart rate, cycling certain routes that are more strenuous i.e. uphill will be better for both your heart and your calorie count. On this particular note, let me recommend a few good routes that I enjoy in Paris.
My favourite climb is Rue St Jacques, its a steep climb and I do it quite often as one of my  favourite bars is located at the top. 

I used to find it quite difficult when I started cycling, but since my fitness levels have increased I push myself to go faster and faster up the slope and the enjoy the feeling of my heart pounding on arrival for my well deserved drink. 
my place to wos bar

Otherwise my old route home from work is also a nice gentle slope uphill on the boulevard Magenta and Sebastopol. But this route is not very enjoyable due to the many traffic lights and pedestrians who walk onto the bicycle lane, especially on Boulevard Magenta. Otherwise you could always try and brave the hill to the Rue Mouffetard.

To try and calculate the distances you are travelling I would recommend using google maps, and using the directions function in walking mode. This can be very handy if you want to see how far you are travelling on a regular route you use, for example you commute to work.
Here for example is my route to work.

This is my route home
Looking at this you can see that I only travel a modest 5.6km total to and from work. This is not a lot and to be honest only equals about 15-20min on the bike, or like less than 200 calories.
The important thing about losing weight though is that you still need to consume less calories than you are expending, so the age old excuse of "I’ve cycled a lot today I can treat myself to an extra éclair" at dessert is not going to fly. 
Also muscle weighs more than fat, so while you might think that you are not losing any technical weight your body is becoming fitter, more toned and using the calories that you consume more efficiently.

No comments:

Post a Comment

LinkWithin2

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...