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Cycling to Lose Weight
There are many exercises to choose from that can help lose weight. The best exercise to perform would depend on individual preferences and capabilities. What may be a great exercise for one person may not suit another.
Cycling is a popular exercise for those attempting to lose weight. Some people believe that cycling is a less-than-effective option, for a number of reasons:
- It only uses the lower body. Only the legs are engaged, so it's not a full-body training program.
- There is a limited range of motion. Cycling doesn't promote mobility or flexibility, so it's a limited workout.
- It's harder to burn a lot of calories. Seeing as you're sitting down and only moving your legs, your body burns fewer calories per minute than you would jogging, running, rowing, or performing any other full-body cardio workout.
- It's steady state. Low intensity, steady state exercise can burn fat, but it's not as effective as high intensity exercise.
However, there are a significant number of benefits of cycling to lose weight:
It's easy on the joints -- For those with lower back, hip, and knee problems, cycling can be an EXCELLENT alternative to high-impact jogging or running. Not everyone can handle the repeated impacts of running on the treadmill or the open road, but cycling is a simple, smooth motion that anyone can perform. For those with serious injuries or limitations, cycling is a great option!
It can be done anywhere -- To cycle, you need one of two things: a stationary exercise bike, or a regular bicycle. If you have those things, you can cycle anywhere and at any time. It can replace your car for your daily commute, or you can use it to get to and from the gym for your regular workout. It's a highly versatile form of exercise!
If your goal is to lose weight cycling, here are a few tips to help you out:
- Hit more hills. Hills are much harder to tackle, and they force your muscles, heart, and lungs to work extra hard. Hilly routes will be much better for your weight loss, as you'll burn more calories cycling up the inclines.
- Snack first, eat after -- Want to push yourself harder? Have a small snack (200 to 300 calories) before your ride, and have a big breakfast within 30 minutes after the workout. The snack will provide you with quick energy during your ride, and the meal will help to speed up post-workout recovery.
- Cycle faster -- Cycling is a low intensity, steady state exercise, but you can pick up the pace to increase the intensity of the workout. Cycle at a normal speed for 60 to 90 seconds, then push your speed to maximum velocity for 30 seconds. Within 15 to 20 minutes, you'll be sweating and drained, and you'll get a much better workout than you would cycling for an hour.
- Go longer -- If you want to burn more calories, cycle for longer! Take cycling trips on the weekend, and go for hours rather than minutes. Set a destination point, and keep going until you reach it. The trip there and back will be EXCELLENT for weight loss.
- Finish strong -- If you want to kick-start your fat burning mechanisms, it's a good idea to throw all of your effort into the last minute or two of the workout. This will increase post-exercise oxygen consumption, which will help your body to burn more fat. Don't cross the finish line at a slow speed, but pump your legs to push your body as hard as you can!