Why Cycling for Weight Loss Is a Solid Strategy


One of the best benefits of cycling for weight loss: If you love the sport, you’ll do it more often. Finding a form of exercise you truly enjoy and can turn to on the regular means you won’t find it difficult to keep moving, which can support your journey to lose weight.

While there is more to weight loss than exercise—diet, sleep, and stress, for example, can also play a role in the results—cycling also provides benefits that go beyond helping you move more and burn calories. That’s why it’s so smart to make it a regular part of your life.

For a full picture on what to know about cycling for weight loss, we break down exactly why it’s such a good tool for managing body composition.

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Why Cycling for Weight Loss Is a Solid Strategy

According to a research paper published in 2018 in Medical Clinics of North America, weight loss maintenance is about making sustainable (meaning small and approachable) changes to diet quality and physical activity. In other words, no matter your genetics, if you consistently eat well and stay active, it is likely your body will find a healthy weight set point.

To help with that activity part of the equation, cycling  can be a boon for getting you to meet physical activity guidelines—and then some. Here, all the reasons it’s such a great sport for supporting weight-loss efforts.

1. It’s Easy on Your Joints

Because cycling is low-impact, experts often recommend it as the exercise of choice for people with arthritis and other joint ailments. To ride ache-free, though, it’s a good idea to get a bike fit, so your knees, hips, and shoulders feel good as you pedal.

2. You Can Ride Year Round

Most outdoor activities are pretty dreadful when you bring them inside (we’re looking at you, treadmill), but indoor cycling apps like Zwift, TrainingPeaks, and Wahoo Systm, as well as studio cycling classes, make stationary cycling fun and entertaining.

You’ll be less likely to fall out of routine when the weather turns bad when you create a stellar indoor bike setup.

3. It Fits Easily Into Your Life

No time to exercise? Then use a bike to commute or run errands. This way, you won’t have to reserve a chunk of your day to “work out.”

By riding your bike to the shops, bike commuting to work, and riding instead of driving for other errands, you can slip in hours of activity every week doing the things you’d normally do anyway—and achieve a healthy weight while you’re at it.

4. It Makes Switching Up Your Workouts Easy

Whether you love long, steady-state rides or pushing through all-out intervals, you can do both easily and happily on a bike. Plus, you can switch up your intensities between different heart rate and power zones, testing your body in ways that can lead to improved body composition.

In fact, a systematic review and meta-analysis published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes in 2022, found that hybrid-style training, in which you mix up endurance and interval training was the second most effective way to improve cardiometabolic factors, including body composition. Combining aerobic activity and resistance training ranked first.

5. You Can Ride All Day

Okay, so only if you build up to it first. But they don’t call zone 2 riding your “all day” pace for nothing. Because of riding’s low-impact nature and that fact that you can keep your heart rate relatively low while you ride, you can get in more time moving, without overdoing it.

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