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Written by
FionaOutdoors
FionaOutdoors

Lose weight: Ride your bike to work

Cycling as a sport is fast growing but did you know that simply by cycling instead of driving to work you could lose on average almost a stone in weight? A study by the International Bicycle Fund found that commuters who swap the car for their bicycle to travel to and from the office lose an average of 13lbs during the first year. You don’t need to do anything else (unless you want to) and nor do you need to change your diet. It’s simply that cycling will burn more calories and so you will shed the weight. Of course, there will be those who lose far more than 13lbs in the first year and those that do not lose quite as much but whatever happens it is unlikely you will put on weight.

shutterstock_296154599Closer look: Cycle weight loss

The weight loss – or calorie burn – will also depend on a lot of variables, including how far you cycle to work, your speed and effort, the terrain, your starting weight, the weight of your bike and rucksack and how much you have inflated the tyres. There is a lot of debate about how effective cycling is for burning calories. However, two sources offer a similar picture:
  • Healthstatus.com states that a 10st man cycling 12 to 14mph for one hour burns 554 calories.
  • Using the same details www.bicycling.com records a calorie burn of 508.
So, let’s use a figure of 530 calories for a 10st person doing one hour of cycling. The consensus is that to lose a pound of body fat you need to burn 3,500 calories. Using these numbers, a 10st person with a half hour commute to work each way will burn about 530 calories on the days that they go by bike. Doing this three times each week will burn 1,590 calories. If that person was to cycle three times each week for 40 weeks the total calorie bun would be 63,600, which amounts to 18lbs of fat lost.

Looking for New Year motivation?

According to the figures above if you do nothing more than get on your bike to cycle to and from work a few times each week the average person to lose more than a stone in weight. If you weigh more or cycle harder the weight loss will be larger. Add a few other bike rides or exercise sessions each week and you could end up two stones lighter by the end of 2016 (or a stone lighter by the time you head off for a walking or cycling holiday in the summer!).  
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