How many calories do you burn while cycling?

People with more body fat burn fewer calories than average

Cycling is an excellent low impact activity which not only helps improve your fitness but also burns unwanted calories, thus aiding in weight loss.

A calorie is a unit used to measure energy, just as a mile is used to measure distance and a minute, time. The amount of energy expended or exerted in doing an activity is measured by its calorie burn rate.

As is the case with any exercise, the amount of calories burnt during cycling is dependent on three factors:

  1. Body weight: The more the body weight, the greater is the energy needed to paddle the cycle. This increases the total calories burned.
  2. Speed: The rate at which the rider paddles is also directly proportional to calories burned.
  3. Time: The greater the amount of time, more amount of calories burned.

To give you an insight into how many calories a rider paricipating in the 21-day, 2,087-mile long Tour De France cycling event burns, let us analyze the dietary intake required to consume that much amount of calories.

Each day, each participant rides for about 110 miles and burns around 6,071 calories. 6,071 calories is equivalent to eating 21 slices of Dominos cheese pizza, 58 bananas or a whopping 243 carrots. Clearly, cycling burns a LOT of calories!

Running vs cycling: calories burned

The number of calories burned in cycling and running

Let us compare the calories burned by cycling and running.

A 150-pound (roughly 68kg) person who paces at a seven-minute mile burns close to 1,000 calories per hour. That same person, pedaling at a steady 16 to 19 miles per hour, will burn about 850 calories in the same time.

This implies that if you cycle at the same heart rate that you run, you're burning roughly the same number of calories (as long as the effort is aerobic).

Burning calories for weight loss

In order to lose weight, specialists suggest burning 500 calories more per day than you consume. That is the equivalent of a 45-minute bike ride at moderate effort for a 180 lb cyclist, or a 45 minute ride at sustained vigorous effort for a 155 lb cyclist.

Interesting fact: You have to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound of weight.

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