Cycling Calories Burned

How Many Calories Do You Burn When You Ride a Bike?

 When you ride a bike, how many calories do you burn?

Have you ever wondered how many calories you burn while cycling? The answer is complicated, and it depends on the type of bike you’re riding, the resistance you’re encountering, and how fast you’re going.

How does biking burn calories?

When you use your muscles, they begin to convert fats, sugars, and sometimes proteins into adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, using the oxygen you breathe in. This is the most fundamental molecule that provides energy to cells.

“Even if you’re just hanging out, you’ll need a steady supply of ATP.” But you need a lot when you’re exercising,” says Rachel DeBusk, CPT, a triathlete coach at Seattle’s Unstill Life.

Your body may access or make ATP in different ways depending on how long and intense your workout is. “Some ATP is just waiting in your muscles,” DeBusk says. “However, once that’s gone, you’ll have to make more.”

Your body uses anaerobic metabolism to convert carbohydrates into ATP during short, intense bursts of exercise. Your body gets ATP from aerobic metabolism, which gets the majority of its energy from carbs, during longer, less intense workouts.

Fast and intense vs. slow and steady

You’re mostly using your aerobic metabolism system if you’re biking at a moderate, steady speed with little resistance. This improves the efficiency with which your heart and lungs work, as well as your body’s use of glucose.

According to DeBusk, if you don’t use glucose efficiently, you’re more likely to develop pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Cycling at a moderate intensity improves your body’s ability to mobilize fats stored in muscle.

You’ll use your anaerobic metabolism system more if you’re biking at a faster pace or with more resistance. This isn’t a system you’ll be able to keep up for very long, but cycling harder will teach your muscle fibers how to adapt to demand.

As a general rule, the faster you go, the more calories you’ll burn because your body expends more energy to accelerate. According to Harvard University, a 155-pound person can burn 298 calories in 30 minutes by biking at a moderate speed of 12 to 13.9 miles per hour. A person of the same weight will burn 372 calories if they run at a faster speed of 14 to 15.9 miles per hour.

Bicycling in a stationary position

The amount of calories burned varies slightly depending on whether you use an indoor stationary bike or go for a bike ride outside. DeBusk says, “You can get a great workout in a fitness studio or outside.”

Biking outside, on the other hand, is more dynamic: you have to be aware of your surroundings, and the movement is more varied as you turn to follow roads and paths. Depending on the spin class you take, there may be wind resistance and inclines such as hills, which may help you burn more calories than when you’re indoor cycling.

Spin classes can be a good option if your work or family schedule makes it difficult to exercise unless it’s a scheduled activity.

The number of calories burned riding a stationary bicycle at a “moderate” pace varies depending on a person’s weight, according to Harvard University.

A moderate speed is between 12 and 13.9 miles per hour. The following are the calories burned by average weight over a 30-minute period:

  • 210 calories for a 125-pound person
  • 260 calories for a 155-pound person

Cycling in the open air

When bicycling outside, a person may burn a few more calories. Bicycling at a moderate pace outside for 30 minutes can burn the following number of calories:

  • 240 calories for a 125-pound person
  • 298 calories for a 155-pound person
  • 355 calories for a person weighing 185 pounds

Some people prefer to ride BMX bikes or mountain bikes. Because a person may be climbing hills and navigating rocky, uneven terrain, this causes them to burn more calories.

According to Harvard University, a person who rides a mountain bike for 30 minutes burns the following number of calories based on their weight:

  • 255 calories for a 125-pound person
  • 316 calories for a 155-pound person
  • For a 185-pound person, 377 calories are sufficient.

Calculating the number of calories burned

It’s important to keep in mind that these are only estimates of calories burned. Metabolic equivalents, or METs, are the basis for them. According to the American Council on Exercise, a person burns about 5 calories per 1 liter of oxygen consumed, according to research (ACE).

The more METs a person needs, the more difficult the pace is. The amount of calories a person burns is calculated using their weight and METs.

According to ACE, modern effort cycling has an average MET of 8.0, while mountain biking with a vigorous effort has a MET of 14.0. People, on the other hand, expend different amounts of calories depending on their metabolic rate. It’s important to keep in mind that METs are a rough estimate.

Cycling while pregnant | Pregnancy

If you’re pregnant, indoor biking may be a better option to reduce the risk of an accident. “During pregnancy, cycling is a great form of exercise,” says DeBusk. “Non-weight-bearing posture relieves lower back pressure for many pregnant women.”

Cycling is beneficial to pregnant women because of its low-impact nature.

Make adjustments to your seat and handlebars as your pregnancy progresses to accommodate changing hip angles, or try a more padded seat. “Remember to stay hydrated and avoid overheating,” DeBusk advises.

It’s also critical to be aware of your own body. In addition to bicycling, you might consider other forms of exercise or cross-training with yoga or Pilates if cycling starts to cause discomfort due to positioning or the demands of a growing baby.

More calories are expended than are consumed

Calories burned aren’t the only benefit of biking as a form of exercise. Biking is an excellent way to relieve stress while also strengthening leg muscles. Other advantages include:

Impact is minimal.

Biking does not put as much stress on the knees and joints as running or jumping does.

varying levels of intensity

You can make your biking session as difficult as you want it to be. You can alternate short bursts of speed on some days with a slower, steady cycling session on others.


Cycling can be a good alternative to driving because it allows you to get places faster.

Overall fitness has improved.

Cycling puts the cardiovascular and muscular systems to the test. Regular workouts can help you improve your overall fitness level.

Last Word

The length of your ride and the intensity at which you ride are the two most important factors in determining how many calories you burn. Bike 15 minutes a day, or 30 minutes a few times a week, if you’re starting out with little or no exercise, is an excellent way to improve your health and lose weight. Once you’ve gotten used to moderate riding, try adding some high-intensity intervals, which will help you burn even more calories.

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